…make LEMON CURD.
I’ve always loved lemon flavor. It’s the best combination of citrus and tart that make your mouth vibrate! It’s also one of those flavors that transcends to another level when you add an additional ingredient. The possibilities are endless.
I’ve made many pastries that call for a fruit curd, mostly lemon. I’ve bought the tiny jars of curd at the store, and they always seem slightly overpriced. When I found my pantry in stock of everything needed to make it from scratch, I knew I wanted to create the perfect lemon curd! I spent a good hour studying my On Food and Cooking book. I compared notes from various recipes to make a combination of ingredients that I felt had the best quantities and flavor enhancement. I loved the idea of adding sage from Savory Simple’s version, but I really wanted to taste it, so I upped the amount. By the time I was ready to make it, I felt confident that I could fix mistakes along the way.
- 4 large eggs (whole)
- 5 egg yolks (1 set aside)
- 1 3/4 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of fresh sage leaves
- 4 tablespoons of cornstarch*
- 1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
* I like a thicker curd for tarts and other uses. If you prefer a runny curd, skip the cornstarch, and maybe forego an egg yolk as well.
I started by squeezing the life out of lemons to get the most juice into my measuring cup. I recommend using a juicer, or a lemon press, neither of which I have. I was hand squeezing mine over a bowl with a fine mesh strainer. It took 5 medium-sized lemons to get 1 1/2 cups, at which point my hands were feeling the burn.
In a medium saucepan, whisk the eggs, 4 egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Turn on the heat to medium/medium high, and begin stirring in the lemon juice until well blended. Once smooth, sprinkle cornstarch across the top as you stir, little by little to avoid clumps. You should have a smooth, liquid that looks watery, but keep stirring to avoid burning the bottom. Add the sage leaves, making sure to submerge them completely. Once the surface starts to steam, add the final egg yolk, whisking briskly. It will appear runny until for a while, but will eventually start to firm up. Depending on your heat setting, you could be stirring for 20 minutes. Plan ahead.
Remove from heat, and keep stirring. Drop in a few cubes of butter at a time, whisking until completely melted before adding more. Once all the butter is mixed in, transfer to a large bowl and let it set for 10-15 minutes to cool. If you can put your fingertip in, for a quick taste, take a piece of plastic wrap and lay it across the whole surface leaving no air so it won’t form a skin, and pop into the fridge for at least 2 hours.
A LOT of my recipes require waiting. I love instant satisfaction in the kitchen, but there is something to be said for the things you have to wait for. It’s what totally makes it taste better. I swear. it’s a little science, and mostly will-power.
After cooling for the allotted time, remove the plastic wrap and taste test… It should be tart and sweet all at once! I love sweets, and this was a little too sweet for me, so I actually stirred in a pinch of my favorite Himalayan pink sea salt to help mellow the flavor. You could even make a preemptive strike by using salted butter, but I have a feeling you’ll get too much salt.
I spooned the mix into two half pint mason jars. I pulled out the sage leaves as I went, leaving in a few tiny specs in to enhance the flavor even more. Some suggest storing it with a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to avoid it forming a skin on top, but I have found that if you seal it air-tight, the skin is minimal, and it dissolves with stirring for a moment or two.
Serve on toast, inject into cupcakes, fill a pastry, or make a tart! You’ve just made lemony heaven, your possibilities are endless. This makes quite a bit of curd, but it’s perfect for sharing. Let me know what you make with it, I’d love to swap recipes.