So good you can eat it right off the spoon.
When I first made lemon curd five years ago, my goal was to use it as a filling in a pie. When I mastered the recipe and had a good batch, I realized it might not make it to the pie crust. This curd is so flipping delicious, I literally could eat it off the spoon. No need to use it as pie filling, spread for toast, or topping for angel food cake. It really could be eaten like a bowl of pudding. If your goal is to turn this into lemon meringue pie, pour it quickly and don’t sample a taste. You may find that your pie isn’t as full as it should be.
Keep reading to learn more about this recipe, originally published in July 2013.
I’ve been baking since my early teens, maybe even longer. While I’ve never baked or cooked professionally, I have learned many skills and techniques. So, you would think by this time I would trust my instincts. However, when I am making something new to me, I follow the recipe carefully and do exactly what it states. This past week that worked to my disadvantage.
Our youngest asked for lemon meringue pie for his birthday dessert. I’ve never made this type of pie, but it seemed easy enough. I reviewed recipes, found the one that I liked most, and began making the lemon curd. When I reached the end of the recipe, I looked at the curd and thought that it didn’t look thick enough. I reasoned that the author of the recipe knew better than I and that after baking with the meringue topping followed by some time to chill, the curd would become firm. . .Several hours of refrigerating later, the recipe was wrong and my instinct was right.
It was too late at this point to remake the pie, so I went to the store and bought a pie for my son’s birthday, which for me is a good reason for self-loathing. I pride myself on always making celebratory desserts for my family. Now, the store-bought pie tasted fine; there were no complaints, but I was disappointed. After the celebration was done, I took my lemon meringue pie out of the refrigerator, removed the layer of meringue, and poured the curd into a small saucepot. With just a couple minutes of heat, the curd was beautifully thickened.
Moral of the story? There are two. One, don’t try a new dessert on the day of the occasion. Two, trust your instincts.
There was one benefit to this. I now have my own recipe for lemon curd that will make the perfect filling for a lemon meringue pie.
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1-1/3 cups sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3 Tb. butter
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 Tb. grated lemon zest
- Whisk egg yolks in medium-sized bowl.
- In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Whisk to combine.
- Bring mixture to a boil, whisking frequently.
- Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually add hot mixture, one spoonful at a time, to egg yolks and whisk until you have added at least half of the mixture.
- Return egg mixture to saucepan, turn heat down to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute.
- Remove from heat and gently stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined.
- Return to heat and whisk until thickened.
- Transfer to a bowl and cover and refrigerate.