Lemon “curd” is not a glorious name, but the taste is certainly glorious!  It took some searching to find such a luscious lemon curd.  King Arthur Flour has a super easy recipe for microwave curd and I had made that and thought it was fine.  But I had read that adding the butter after cooking the curd makes it silky smooth.  Very true!  After making this recipe I can never go back to the microwave lemon curd.  This is so good, it can be eaten with a spoon straight out of the bowl.  Just the right amount of tart and sweet, this is the best!

A friend wanted lemon blueberry cake for her wedding so I had to do some research and testing.  I had made a good lemon mousse for one trial cake.  While the lemon mousse was just the right texture and thickness, the lemon curd base wasn’t so good that I could eat it plain.  So I searched some more and found this one.  For the wedding cake, I made sponge cake and brushed lemon syrup into the layers, then put a blueberry sauce topped with lemon curd and whipped cream on each layer.  Since it was for a wedding, we needed the frosting to be one that would hold up well for hours, as well as tinted gray.  We frosted all the tiers with a white chocolate cream cheese buttercream.  Normally, I would frost a lemon blueberry cake with plain or lemon whipped cream.  

To make this curd into a lemon mousse it does need to be stabilized and thickened with gelatin in the whipped cream.  Some curds are so thick that gelatin is not necessary, but this is a little less thick.  Next time I make lemon mousse, I will pay attention to how I do that so as to have instructions.  When we were making the wedding cakes it got a little crazy and I do not remember what I did!  It all turned out even though I was very afraid it was going to fall apart.

This recipe comes from the internet but is adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s recipe from The Cake Bible and from Alton Brown’s recipe on FoodNetwork.com.  The website is WickedGoodKitchen.com.  I had searched through all my cookbooks and then searched for “best lemon curd” on Google and found this one that has butter added last.  Wicked Good Kitchen looks like it has some other great recipes that I want to try too.  The page about making lemon curd has a list of uses for curds, such as spreading on bagels, biscuits or scones, and using as a filling with cakes and cookies.  It also makes a great filling for meringue shells, then topped with berries and whipped cream.


Best Homemade Lemon Curd

  • 7 to 8 large egg yolks (about 130 grams without shells)
  • 1 3/8 cups granulated sugar (275 grams) {1 cup + 6 tablespoons}
  • 4 1/2 fluid ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 large lemons) (about 133ml)
  • pinch of kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (6 grams) {or use lemon oil, a few drops to 1/8 teaspoon}
  • 1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pats (1 stick/113 grams) {if you only have salted butter, leave out the salt}


Add an inch or so of water to the bottom pan of a double boiler set or to a medium saucepan.  Bring water to a simmer over medium-high heat.  In a medium sized metal or glass bowl or the insert top pan of a double boiler set, beat yolks and sugar together with a whisk until smooth and well blended, about one minute.  (Mixture may be very thick at first, but just keep whisking.)  Add lemon juice and salt; whisk until smooth.

Once the water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl over saucepan or top pan into double boiler.  Do not allow the water to touch the bottom of the bowl or it could scorch and curdle the mixture.  Cook, whisking constantly until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes.  The mixture will change from translucent to an opaque light yellow color and will coat the back of a wooden spoon yet still be liquid enough to pour.  Do not allow the mixture to boil or it will curdle.  (The temperature of the curd should be 170° F.)

Remove promptly from the heat and immediately whisk in lemon zest or lemon oil.  Add butter gradually, one piece at a time, whisking well to combine.  Allow each addition of butter to melt completely before adding more.  If straining (optional, to remove lemon zest or any coagulated egg) for a smooth curd, strain at once into a medium bowl and press strainer with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula until only the coarse residue remains.  Discard residue.

Allow curd to cool; cover by placing plastic wrap directly on top of surface.  The curd will continue to thicken further upon resting and chilling.  Transfer to airtight container and refrigerate.

Yields 2 1/4 cups.  Lasts up to two weeks in the refrigerator.


Before juicing lemons, heat fruit for 10 seconds in the microwave on high power.  Roll lemons on work surface, pressing lightly on fruit.  This will release a greater amount of juice.

To prevent curdling, be sure to blend the sugar well with the yolks before adding the lemon juice.

If using a metal bowl, make sure it is non-reactive (non-aluminum).  Otherwise the aluminum will react with the yolks and turn them a green color.

I like to add a little limoncello liqueur to any lemon desserts.  One tablespoon added either with the lemon zest or after the butter would be good.


Lemon Curd with Pavlova

Glorious Lemon Curd

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