Don’t you just love when a friend gives you a big bag of lemons? Even after sharing them around friends and colleagues, I still had plenty. I was making lemon tea, adding them to Thai food (instead of lime juice, it’s just a little bit different and makes a nice change) and wondering what elese to do, and then I thought, why not make some lemon curd? I love the bitter, mouth puckering bite of a good lemon curd, and you can do so much with it afterwards, like spreading it on toast as a lemon butter, making some pastry and making a tart, a lemon curd cheesecake, or lemon meringue pots (recipes to follow later). The quantity I have specified here made five individual lemon meringue pots and three small to medium sized jars. I used whole eggs in this recipe, some recipes also have additional yolks. I didn’t do that as I already had too many little containers in the freezer with whites in them. I tend to stockpile whites when I only use yolks. You can then use them in a meringue, or a friand, or various other things. I went to one of those discount shops and bought a heap of tiny little containers in order to put them in the freezer individually, so I can count out how many I need for a recipe.
Some recipes also tell you to whack everything in a pot and cook while stirring, but the danger with that (even though it is easy and therefore something that would normally appeal to me) is that the yolks and whites might separate during the cooking process and you could end up with lumpy curd. If this happens, you can strain your curd, but this is messy and time consuming. I have found that by putting in a bit of effort at the start with your mixer, you blend the eggs with the other ingredients prior to putting them in the pot, and end up with a nice, creamy custardy mixture.
I also tried a tip I read somewhere where you roll the lemon on the bench before juicing, pressing down gently but firmly as you roll it, this breaks down the fibres and bit and allows for maximum juicing.
You can store curd in the fridge for a week or two, or if you are one of those crafty people you can pretty up your jars with ribbons and the like and give them as gifts, but they will need to remain refridgerated.
Whole egg lemon curd
2 cups sugar (you can add more if you have very bitter lemons, it depends on the variety)
4 tsps zest
2 cups lemon juice (about four large lemons)
Cut the butter into chunks and put in the big bowl of your mixer with the sugar. Cream until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time (tip: my mother always used to crack the eggs one at a time into a glass or small dish first instead of adding straight into a cake. This way if one of them is off, you won’t spoil your whole mixture. I used to ignore this little piece of wisdom until one day, it happened, and I had to throw out my mix! Now I always do this). Add the zest and finally the juice. When thoroughly mixed, it should look something like a thin batter. Then transfer to a heavy based saucepan.
Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly. DO NOT turn your back on curd while you are cooking it, it can easily catch on the bottom, and burnt curd is yuck. You will feel the curd thicken, and you will know it is done when it coats the back of the wooden spoon, and if you run your finger along the back of the spoon (careful, it will be hot) you will make a line in the curd. Allow to cool a little before putting into sterilized jars (running them through the dishwasher is an easy way to do this). Seal your jars and refridgerate.