Fruit curds are versatile and a little goes a long way. This sweet and tangy indulgence is easy to make, but can also be a bit troublesome. Incorporating the eggs correctly, cooking at a medium heat and constant stirring leads to a smooth and creamy curd with very few egg bits or none at all. If you have ever rushed making a curd by heating it too quickly or slacked when you should have been stirring, then you may already know scrambled egg enhanced curd is not what you are looking for.
Lemon curd always makes me think of my mom. Mom loves lemon anything so lemon meringue pie showed up often when I was growing up. I do have her recipe and I know it is good but it uses cornstarch as a thickener along with egg yolks and water (that's right water, I had to do a double take the first time she gave me this recipe). No disrespect mom but I wanted to keep my recipe simple and focused on two techniques: mixing the eggs and sugar with a whisk or mixer until well blended and the cooking method. There are many recipes for making fruit curds. Some use yolks only or other additional thickeners or less butter or the addition of salt or more sugar and on and on (and water?!). I am not saying anyone of these recipes is wrong or right because as long as they work, that is right!
Oh and don't be afraid of making a curd. Once you get the hang of it, it is a cinch. Sometimes a little practice is all you need. This goes well, like really well, with Coconut Bread that you can find here.
Place eggs along with the sugar and zest in a stainless steel or enameled sauce pan. Whisk the ingredients until they are a lemony yellow color and very well blended. Alternatively this can be done with a stand mixer before placing in the sauce pan. This part of the recipe blends the eggs and sugar well which helps with creamy, satiny texture the curd should have in the end.
Combine the lemon juice and pieces of butter to the egg mixture in the sauce pan and place over medium heat.
Whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and then comes to a simmer.
Allow the curd to simmer for a couple of seconds and remove from heat.
Strain the curd through a fine mesh strainer with a spatula to remove an egg bits and the zest.
Notice what is left in the strainer: lime zest and a small amount of cooked egg. Just to mention, being a home cook and all, I might skip the straining step and just enjoy all that zest and never notice the little, tiny undetectable egg particles. I said might! I am working on being a perfectionist and believe me that is a work in progress!
You get this beautiful creamy, tart and sweet, decadent sauce.
adapted from Joy of Cooking 75th anniversary edition
really only makes about 1 1/4 cups
3 large eggs
1/3 to 1/2 cup (63g to 96g) of sugar (I used 1/2 cup (96g) in recipe above)
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup (0.118L) of fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons (3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla (optional)
Whisk the eggs and sugar in saucepan until a light lemony color. Alternatively this can be done in a stand mixer and then added to the saucepan. This will take a minute or two in the mixer and more if doing by hand. Add in the zest, lime juice and pieces of butter.
Place saucepan over medium heat and constantly whisk mixture until it starts to thicken. Allow it to come to a simmer for a couple of seconds and remove from heat. Add vanilla here if you choose to. Cool to room temperature and then place in a container in the frig. It will thicken more as it cools down.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!
You might be wondering why make lime curd? Anything lemon curd is used for, lime will substitute nicely. You can spread it on toast, use it as a filling for a tart topped with raspberries and fresh whipped cream, I really love it on vanilla ice cream with toasted coconut, as a filling for a cake but what actually I had in mind was as a spread for coconut bread that I made. I couldn't help myself. Doesn't that sound good?!