Lemon Curd: Sounds fancy, is easy to make and delicious

ImageTomorrow morning I’m off to see my grandparents.  So tonight I’m making lemon curd and Ryan’s making risotto, which I’m bringing with me.  We’re secretly keeping a little bit of lemon curd (because it’s so damn delicious) and eating some of the risotto tonight.  Don’t tell.  They make big batches, though, so I think we’ll be okay.

Side note: I cannot even tell you how amazing our apartment smells right now.  I feel like I say that a lot.  I guess we make a bunch of awesome smelling foods.

Story about lemon curd: my Grandma hates all things unhealthy.  She used to like delicious food and italian cream cakes and all that, but then sometime in the 60s, they found out about things like cholesterol and lipids and stuff.  So she and my Grandpa have eaten mega healthy ever since.  Healthy like hide-broccoli-under-your-spaghetti-sauce healthy.  And learn-to-like-plain-cooked-kale healthy.

She once told me that she had once gone to a retirement party for some woman who worked in her office and they’d gone to a tea room (the retiree’s choice), and instead of wanting tea or finger sandwiches or scones, she’d tried some lemon curd and then tried to fight the desire to just eat it out of the serving dish with a spoon.  My kale eating grandmother.  I made them a batch a month back, and have now made another because their lemon trees are still spouting more lemons than they can use.  I’m half hoping I see her go at it with a spoon and eat it like pudding because that would be the most epic thing ever.

I went to my go-to spot for tried-and-true recipes: my Pinterest page.  But I couldn’t find the lemon curd recipe I use.  So I had to google “ina garten lemon curd” (most of my recipe searches start by googling “ina garten

” and hoping she’s made it).  Her food is so damn good, probably because she’s never made a healthy recipe of anything, but she also doesn’t go Paula Deen style and pour in the butter and doughnuts.

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Oh, Ina.  But anyway, I realized I hadn’t pinned her lemon curd recipe because food network, in their social media ignorance, hadn’t posted a picture of the lemon curd, so there were no images to pin, and therefore, no way to pin the recipe.  That was a lot of commas.  So I made my own post, with a picture or two of lemon curd [albeit not very good pictures–it doesn’t photograph that well] so I can pin them to my pinboard and not have to google anymore.  My life is so hard.  I did change the recipe a little bit, and I’ll share my variations.  And no, the butter I used was not infused with the tears of virgin Dutch milk maids.  All store bought, here.

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Lemon Curd – adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe

with my edits in italics/parentheses

Ingredients
3 lemons (I zest 5 and juice 4 if mine aren’t huge)
1 1/2 cups sugar (I use like, 1 1/4 cups maybe)
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature (that’s one stick)
4 extra-large eggs (large is fine)
1/2 cup lemon juice (I use 4)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions
Using a grater (I use my amazing wood rasp/zester), remove the zest of 3 lemons (that’s lies, do like, 5.  Zest is fantastic), being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor (magic bullet for me) fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

My variations make a more lemony, less sweet take, but I really like it that way.

Here’s what I did:

Start with 4 lemons (+1 secret one you didn’t see that I only zested)

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Wash them, dry them, and zest them.

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This is seriously the best zester.  All credit goes to Karen at The Art of Doing Stuff for bringing it to light.  She’s a smart lady.

Throw the zest in your food processor/magic bullet.

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Add sugar, blend.

ImageThat bowl next to the sugar/zest is melted butter.  Yep, a whole stick.  This isn’t healthy, it’s delicious.  And you’re not drinking it.  Unless you’re my grandmother, but she could stand to gain a couple pounds.

Butter in.  Blend.

ImageSorry for the giant hand closeup.  Kind of weird.  Add 4 eggs.  I’m lazy and added them together.  Blend again.

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Juice 4 of the lemons you zested.  I wear my citrus-proof pink gloves because acid+my hands=peely burny disaster.  No bueno.  And no, I didn’t grow an extra arm for this picture.  I made Ryan take it.

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At this point, I cheated a little.  My magic bullet canister wouldn’t hold any more liquid, so I poured the lemon juice into my saucepan.  I used way more than 1/2 a cup, probably closer to 1 1/4 cups.  It’s lemon curd, after all.  It can be extra lemony.  I added the salt, too.

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Then I dumped in the zest-sugar-egg mixture.  It was pretty frothy.  I stuck my thermometer in and set our stove as low as it would go.

ImageStir, stir, stir.  Maybe not the entire time.  More like every 30 seconds or so.  It helped that I was stuck at the stove anyway because I was taking pictures of risotto prep.

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After about 10 minutes, when the temperature reaches 170, it’s ready.  It’ll get thicker and yellower as it cooks.  The starting mixture was so light it was almost white, but the final result was lovely and golden yellow.  Don’t add yellow food coloring.  Some recipes call for it.  That’s kind of trashy. Don’t get my wrong, I love my food coloring, but not for something like this.

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It gets pretty thick pretty quick.  So you want to have containers handy to pour it into.  Ideally with lids, since it needs to set up overnight or so in the fridge.

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Look how pretty and yellow.  I’m only showing you the ramekin picture because the batch for the grandparents went into a yellow plastic margarine tub.  They have a ton of margarine tubs, presumably from the 70s, and often send us home leftovers in them.  So I try to send them back.  But a picture of fancy delicious lemon curd in a yellow plastic tub seemed déclassé.  So here’s a picture of a ramekin.  Ramekins are chic.

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And there you have it: Ina Garten’s recipe, a couple modifications, and some pictures, so I can save it to my Pinterest.  You can, too, if you want.

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2 thoughts on “Lemon Curd: Sounds fancy, is easy to make and delicious

  1. This sounds a lot like my recipe. But I must admit I’m a lot like your grandma as far as wanting to put only healthy foods into my body. As I ADORE lemon curd, I’ve started making it with stevia instead of all that sugar. Sometimes I add a touch of sugar too, just to make sure the taste is great. For me, it is the perfect dessert, mixed with a little greek yogurt and fruit 🙂

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