It appears (or at least it feels as though) that summer may have come to an early demise here in the UK, there’s a chill in the air, the nights are drawing in & all signs already point to autumn. I’m not content to let go just yet though. If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to bring a ray of sunshine to a miserable, grey & wet day it’s something fruity, something zesty & zingy. Quite literally the colour of the sun, of course I’m talking about lemon curd.
Guaranteed to brighten up your breakfasts, tea & bakes with its golden glow. This dessert spread, which lies somewhere between a preserve & a custard (I’m not sure anyone really knows on this one) is so quick & easy to make & guaranteed to be better than anything bought from the supermarket.
Store-bough lemon curd doesn’t even deserve to be sat on the same shelf, or even given the same name as anything you can make yourself at home (have you even seen their ingredient list, they even add colourings?!). It’s true that a proper homemade lemon curd has a reasonably short shelf life (around 2 months if kept in the fridge) but with it only asking for 4 ingredients & 20 minutes of your time to make, that won’t matter, you’ll make more (trust me).
Lemon curd originates here in Britain in the early 1800’s, although it is nothing like the custardy, zesty curd that we know today. Referred to back then as ‘lemon cheese’, lemons were used to help separate curds from whey, the (quite literally lemon) curds would then be collected through a cheesecloth & used to make thing’s such as lemon tarts & cheesecakes.
Lemon curd as we know it today became popular with the Victorians. The addition of eggs & butter produced a much more velvety custard than it’s cheese-like predecessor. Both the Victorians & Edwardians were partial to lemon curd spread on crumpets, scones or slices of bread as part of an afternoon tea. This lemon curd is smooth, creamy & has a well balanced flavour laying somewhere between sweet & zesty. Personally I like it on hot buttered toast or crumpets in the mornings but it also makes for a wonderfully zingy filling to any Victoria sandwich.
(makes around four 454g jars but can easily be halved)
- 9 lemons (zest & juice)
- 450g caster sugar
- 225g butter
- 7 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- Place all of the ingredients into a large heatproof bowl & set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl
- Stir every now & again until everything has melted together
- Keep gently whisking the mixture over a low heat for around 20 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken & resemble a custard
- Remove the bowl from the heat & carefully pour the curd through a sieve into a clean jug or bowl
- Pour into clean, sterilised jars & leave to cool
- Once cooled store the lemon curd in the fridge for up to 3 months unopened