Lemon curd has to be one of my favourite things in the world. The very best curd is the perfect balance between sweet, sour, creamy and buttery. Whether you eat it spread on toast, fold it through softly whipped cream for filling a sponge cake, or as the base to a quick lemon tart or meringue pie, it is vital to use the freshest lemons and eggs you can find – with so few ingredients you want to make sure that they are all top quality.
My love affair with lemon curd really began among the famous lemon groves of Cyprus. I’ve mentioned before that Cyprus is an incredibly fertile island where the fruit and vegetables grown in absolute profusion, and none more so than the lemon tree – made famous in Lawrence Durrell’s terrific book ‘Bitter Lemons of Cyprus’. The Cyprus lemon is usually enormous, knobbly, thick skinned and incredibly juicy – perfect for that afternoon G&T in the shade with friends, and heavenly cooked into a lemon curd. I spent quite a lot of my time when I was living on the island cooking jams, chutney, relishes and other preserves to sell at the local market and this recipe for Zesty Lemon Lime Curd was one of my top-sellers. I’ve spent ages perfecting the recipe to be the perfect balance of sweet and sour, and, after making hundreds of jars, I can assure you that it works every time!
Zesty Lemon Lime Curd
- finely grated zest of 2 large lemons, unsprayed, organic
- 300 g sugar
- 150 ml lemon juice, approx 3 large, juicy lemons
- 50 ml lime juice
- 150 g unsalted butter, cubed
- 6 large eggs
- Prepare 4-5 medium sized glass jars by washing well with hot soapy water then placing them in a tray in an oven at 120°C /250°F while you prepare the curd. Place the lids in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water.
- Put the lemon zest and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, taking care that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar, releasing all of the fragrant oils. Add the lemon juice, lime juice and butter, stirring with a wooden spoon until the butter is melted - the temperature of the mixture at this point is about 55-60°C.
- In a separate bowl whisk the eggs really well so that absolutely no egg white alone shows, then pour into the lemon mixture through a fine sieve. This will prevent any bits of set egg white spoiling the texture of the finished curd.
- Allow to cook, stirring regularly, but not constantly, with a whisk for 15 minutes checking at least once that the water hasn’t boiled away. The curd will thicken like a custard (which it is!) and reach a temperature of 82-84°C/ 180-183°F.. You should be able to see the tracks left by the whisk in the thickened curd.
- Pour into the prepared jars and seal. Keeps for at least 4 weeks (see note). Once opened store in the refrigerator.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I don’t have any limes!
- Not a problem, use all lemon juice – you just need to have exactly 200ml of juice. A little grapefruit juice is nice too!
My lemons aren’t organic or unsprayed – can I still make lemon curd?
- Yes definitely! The juice will be fine! If you do know anyone who has a backyard lemon tree though, ask them when the lemons are in season and beg, borrow or otherwise wheedle some out of them – the flavour is worth it.
Can I freeze lemon curd?
- Yes! Lemon curd freezes beautifully – in fact, if you are planning on keeping the curd for longer than about 4 week, I thoroughly recommend it as it will last indefinitely in the freezer. It is actually scoopable straight out of the freezer and makes a excellent midnight treat, not-so-guiltily eaten right off the spoon.
Are the eggs in lemon curd raw?
- No, the eggs are pasteurised during the cooking process as they are kept well over the pasteurisation temperature and time requirements.