Desperate for lemon curd to make a killer basil ice cream for a weekend away recently, I realized I would have to make my own. Ain't no lemon curd in my part of Brooklyn. I scanned the web. Butter! Eggs! Lemons! In the end I hybridized several recipes.
Lemon curd is easy to make and keeps for just a couple of weeks in the fridge. The basil ice cream uses up one whole batch. and I now make double quantities, so that there is one pot to eat.
Meyer lemons are deliciously aromatic but regular lemons are very good too, and even more acidic (which I like).
Some recipes call for double boilers or for pots poised over hot water baths. But as long as you do not turn your back on the cooking curd on the stove none of that is necessary. Just keep whisking (if you've seen Finding Nemo, think Dory: "Keep whisking, keep whisking.")
What not to do: boil. Do not let it boil or it will separate.
This will make one medium jar of curd, about 300 grams (10.5 ounces). Doubling the recipe works well.
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of one lemon
3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
200 gr/7 oz sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, whisking to blend the ingredients and to dissolve the sugar. Keep whisking. Once the butter has melted turn the heat to medium-low. Keep whisking. After 6-8 minutes you'll notice the mixture growing thicker and if you tip the pot to one side it will be coating the bottom. Keep whisking. After a couple more minutes when it is quite thick (it will never be stiff) remove it from the heat.
Push through a fine mesh sieve* into a bowl and transfer into a clean jar. Cool and refrigerate.
How to use lemon curd: spread on hot toasted English muffins, as a cake filling for sponge cakes, as a filling for small pastry shells, as a filling for Graham Cracker pie crusts, mixed with cream and frozen, stirred into Greek yogurt.
* I make a cocktail - a jumped up Caipirinha - with the concentrated citrusy bits that are left in the sieve. Shaken up with cachaça, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and poured over ice.