We’re in full-swing lemon season! And no, it’s not the middle of summer. In the U.S., citrus season arrives in the winter, and this year happened to be abundant for my family’s lemon tree. The lemons were the size of my hand, no joke. In fact, the lemons were so large, that a single one produced over a cup of juice. While that’s a great problem to have, what am I supposed to do with all of these lemons?
I’d already made two lemon meringue pies (Gimme Some Oven’s recipe is my favorite). The bright pop of lemon against a soft and delicate meringue makes my taste buds sing! Alas, there’s only so much pie a girl can eat (and still fit in her pants later in the week). I was able to use the lemons here and there in other recipes but decided that lemon curd would be perfect for using up lemons. It would also give us a citrus pop on our toast in the mornings and easy go-to dessert options.
What is Lemon Curd?
If you’ve never had lemon curd before, it’s a thick, spreadable jam-like treat made with lemon juice,butter, eggs, and sugar. Usually curd involves stirring over a stove until your mixture thickens. But I wanted something faster and easier, and thankfully I found an idea from King Arthur Flour... cooking curd in the microwave! It always seems like I have several things going on at once, so if I don’t have to watch a pot, it’s a win.
Most lemon curd ingredients are the same: lemons, sugar, eggs. However, I wanted to back away from the granulated sugar and add in some zest, since the oils in the zest have such bright flavor. I decided to replace some of the sugar with honey, and it gave the curd a lovely warm note. Lemon curd is perfect spread on toast, as a topping for a scone, or spooned into puff pastry shells and topped with whipped cream for a quick, impressive dessert. Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey (I used wildflower)
1/2 cup butter, melted (unsalted)
2 eggs (beaten)
What to do:
- Juice lemons and collect zest using a good microplane grater. In a large bowl (I used an 8-cup bowl), combine lemon juice, zest, sugar, honey, and butter. Mix well.
- Add beaten eggs and mix well.
- Place bowl in microwave. On high heat, cook for one minute. Take curd out and stir. Continue microwaving in one-minute intervals, stirring in between.
- After 7-10 minutes, curd will begin to thicken. As your spoon comes out of the curd, it will coat the back of the spoon. Your curd will not look spreadable at this point, but that’s okay.
- Allow curd to cool in bowl for several minutes at room temperature, then place in refrigerator to finish thickening up.
- Transfer cooled and thickened lemon curd to sealable containers. I was able to fill two half-pint mason jars. You can store the curd in the refrigerator for several weeks, or transfer to the freezer until you’re ready to use it. (Note: If your eggs weren’t beaten well enough, you may see small bits of cooked egg white when you stop to stir. Simply remove the white chunks and continue cooking your curd.)
Lemon curd makes a lovely gift for a friend or neighbor, and it an also make an impressive dessert in a pinch. Grab a frozen (or homemade) loaf poundcake and slice in half lengthwise. On the bottom cake piece, spread a thick layer of lemon curd, then top with freshly whipped cream. Place top layer of cake, then repeat curd and cream layers. Refrigerate until ready to serve and garnish with lemon zest or fresh mint. Boom! Dessert is done.
I’d love to know your favorite way to use lemon in the kitchen! Thanks for stopping by and happy gardening!
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