We cracked open the last jar of plum and mulled wine jam at the weekend, and as I’ve now got quite addicted to making my own preserves I rapidly set about researching what I was going to spread on my hot buttered toast next.
So spotting lemons on the list of seasonal fruits for spring I felt the urge to give Lemon Curd a whirl.
Traditionally it is made on top of a double-boiler or in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, but I’d heard from other food bloggers that you can make it in the microwave. As I’ve been a bit short on time lately I thought this would be definitely worth a go.
Curds are not really preserves as they don’t keep very long – as well as fruit and sugar they also contain butter and eggs and are cooked at a relatively low temperature compared to jam. So they are stored in the fridge with a wax disc and cellophane cover. When the wax disc is applied to the hot curd in the jar it melts to form a seal. The cellophane cover merely acts as a dust cover.
I was a little sceptical about how it would turn out in the microwave, but I was rewarded with a beautiful result – intense citrus flavours with smooth and creamy texture. I can’t recommend this recipe enough!
Lemon Curd (makes 1.3kg – about 6 small jars)
200g unsalted butter
700g caster sugar
5 lemons – zest and juice (should be about 300ml)
300ml beaten eggs*
*By measuring the egg in a jug you’re going to get a more consistent result than if you used a fixed amount of eggs – size can vary so much. For a really rich velvety finish I used 4 egg yolks and made the rest of the egg mix up with whole eggs.
- Very clean sieve
- Large microwave-proof bowl
- 6 small glass jars – washed up in hot soapy water and then dried in a warm oven
- wax discs, celephone and elastic bands – for sealing the lemon curd in the jars
- labels (it has a short shelf-life so good to have a reminder of when it was made)
1. Put the butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a bowl and microwave on full power for about 4 minutes (microwaves vary so check after 2 mins) until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
2. Slowly add the beaten egg and return to the microwave for short bursts of about 30 seconds – 1 minute, removing each time and giving a stir. Repeat until the liquid starts to thicken. Stop once you’ve got a nice gloopy consistency that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
3. Put a sieve over a large jug and strain your curd to get rid of the lemon zest and any bits of scrambled egg that may have formed. Pour into cooled, sterilised jars and cover with a waxed disc and cellophane.
4. Label and store in the fridge for up to six weeks. Once opened use it up within 3-4 weeks.
And the beauty of lemon curd is it’s so versatile. Of course you can spread it on toast, crusty bread and scones. But why not try a dollop on some natural yoghurt scattered with some seeds for a healthy breakfast? Lift a Victoria Sponge cake by spreading a layer in between, or why not try making ice-cream with it using a mixture of Greek yoghurt and whipping cream.
Watch this space for more ideas with lemon curd… and feel free to pass on any YOU have!