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Lemon Curd

Jar of homemade lemon curd - recipe from Flavour Files

This Lemon Curd is the stuff that dreams are made of, well my dreams anyway. It’s jammed full of fresh lemon flavour and sits right on the knife-edge between ‘cheek-puckeringly-tart’ and ‘just-sweet-enough’. It’s so easy to make that I really see no need to purchase it ready-made. All it takes is 4 simple and cheap ingredients whipped up together over a pan of simmering water, and there you have it- Lemon Curd.

If you’re like me, you will eat straight from the jar with a spoon (or your hands if there are no spoons). But if you’re a little more civilised than that, here are some suggestions:

  • On toast.
  • Stirred into natural yoghurt with fresh berries.
  • Smeared on a fluffy scone.
  • Delicately spread onto a sponge cake with whipped cream.
  • Sandwiched between two thin shortbread biscuits…Really I could go on, the possibilities are endless!
Jar of homemade lemon curd from Flavour Files

For the best results, use firm and fresh unwaxed lemons. To tell if the lemons are fresh enough give the skin a little “dent” with your fingernail, you should immediately smell zingy lemon. If the skin is too tough to get any scent- then get some new lemons! A delicate hand is required to ensure that you don’t remove the bitter white pith when zesting the lemons. The easiest way to do this is to use a Microplane zester (one of my absolute favourite and most treasured kitchen tools). It makes quick work of the lemons, and there is literally no chance you’re going to remove the pith. If you don’t have a Microplane grater, use the finest side of an ordinary grater.  Be very gentle, turning the lemon regularly to ensure you don’t go over the same spot twice.

A quick note on the other ingredients, any high-quality unsalted butter and fresh free-range eggs will make a delicious Lemon Curd. The sugar should be white and the finely ground “caster” variety. There are two reasons for this; First, brown sugar is too strong in flavour (It will distract from the lemon’s taste).  Second, it should be finely ground to ensure it dissolves faster.

The eggs will be cooked and made “safe” by the heat from the simmering water. To be sure the eggs are pasteurised, the temperature must be held above 65°C/148°F for at least 2.5 minutes. (UK guidelines for egg pasteurisation). However, it is worth noting that the eggs will naturally go through this process as they must be heated beyond this point to thicken the curd. For the curd to be proper thickness, it should be between around 70°C-77°C (158°F-170°F). Don’t heat it more than the upper limit as the egg could cook too much, and cause the lemon curd to become grainy and “scrambled”. Visually the curd is done when it feels heavy to stir like thick custard and leaves behind some track marks from the whisk.

Lemon Curd

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Dessert British
By Flavour Files Serves: Makes 2 x 8 oz Jars
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time: 45 Minutes Total Time: 1 Hour

This Lemon Curd is jammed full of bright lemon flavour and sits right on the knife-edge between ‘cheek-puckeringly-tart’ and ‘just-sweet-enough.’


  • 3 Large Lemons - Zest and Juice
  • 200g White Caster Sugar
  • 100g Butter – In pieces
  • 3 Eggs + 1 Yolk – mixed together
  • 2 Sterilised jars and lids (8 oz)



In a heatproof bowl combine the caster sugar, lemon zest & juice and the cubes of butter.


Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water on low heat, making sure the water is not touching the bottom.


Allow the butter to melt and the sugar to dissolve, giving the mixture a good whisk until everything is combined.


Whisking continuously, pour the mixed eggs into the bowl with the lemon, sugar and butter.


Now, allow the heat to thicken the egg and “cook” the curd -It can take some time. Whisk the curd often to ensure the mixture at the bottom doesn’t overcook.


The curd is done when it appears thick like custard and leaves behind drag marks from the whisk when stirred. Or when it reads around 74°C/165°F with an instant-read thermometer and is the desired consistency.


You can pass the curd through a sieve whilst it is still hot if you don’t want bits of lemon zest in it.


Carefully pour the curd into clean sterilised jars and seal whilst still hot. Allow the jars to cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.


  • 55 Calories
  • 6.8g Carbohydrates
  • 3.1g Fat
  • 0.7g Protein
  • 6.4g Sugar


  • If you plan to use the curd within a week of making it, you may store it in any container (without sterilising) in the fridge.
  • To sterilise the jars, you can put them through the dishwasher and use them whilst still warm. Or, preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water and then place them on a folded tea towel on a tray and into the oven until they are dry (around 10 minutes.)
  • Nutritional information is per Tbsp

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