Because I raise chickens, I am always looking for delicious new ways to use our wonderful fresh eggs. Beyond the basic ways to cook eggs—scrambled, over easy, fried or in an omelet or frittata—I have really enjoyed making sauces such as Hollandaise and mayonnaise, where the few simple ingredients really allow the flavor and texture of the fresh eggs to shine.
Of course, anything made with fresh ingredients is going to taste better than its store-bought counterpart, and that is also true for lemon curd. If you’re not familiar with curd, think lemon meringue pie filling, but more spreadable. It’s like a dessert topping, although it can be used as a pie or tart filling. Lemon curd is also delicious on toast or a bagel, as cupcake topping or in between the layers of a cake. It can also be used to fill homemade donuts, eclairs or cream puffs. Spread it on pancakes or waffles, add it to yogurt, use it instead of jelly on a peanut butter sandwich, or just eat it right out of the jar with a spoon!
The technique for making curd is similar to making Hollandaise sauce in that you use a double boiler, which is simply a bowl set on top of a small pot of simmering water to avoid cooking the eggs at too high of a temperature and boiling, burning or scorching them. The curd will cook just with the heat of the steam that the simmering water creates. Incredibly easy to make, a batch of lemon curd can be done in less than 30 minutes.
Since there are just four ingredients in this recipe, be sure that you use the freshest, highest quality eggs you can find (from your backyard chickens or from a local farm or farmers market, if possible), fresh-squeezed lemon juice and good-quality butter.
Irresistible Homemade Lemon Curd
(makes about 3 half-pint jars)
6 fresh eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed juice from 3 large lemons
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Add a few inches of water to a small pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Set a medium heat-proof glass or other nonreactive bowl on top of the saucepan so the bottom of the bowl is sitting at least an inch or so above the water line. Whisk the eggs and sugar in the bowl until smooth and well blended, then add the citrus juice and continue to whisk to combine completely.
Continue to cook, whisking constantly for several minutes, until the mixture is warmed through evenly. Then begin to whisk in the butter, a few cubes at a time, whisking in between each addition until the butter melts completely.
Once all the butter has been incorporated, continue to whisk, cooking until the curd thickens and will coat the back of a spoon, about 15 to 20 minutes. (If you have a candy thermometer, this should happen right around 185-190 degrees.)
Once the curd has thickened to the proper consistency, remove the bowl from the heat. Cool and then spoon the curd into glass canning jars or any covered containers. Cover and refrigerate. The curd will continue to thicken as it chills. The curd will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, but don’t be surprised if it disappears a lot faster!