This Meyer Lemon Curd is creamy, tart, and has a delicious citrusy taste that's a combination between lemon and orange. It's a variation of my Lemon Curd recipe. This Meyer lemon curd recipe is easy to make and it takes less than 30 minutes to make. This curd makes a great spread for biscuits or a filling for a tart.
Since I started the Bakes by Brown Sugar blog I have had the goal to make as many fruit curds as possible. So far I've made kumquat, strawberry, cranberry, and rhubarb. You can do almost any citrus fruit in addition to raspberries and blueberries. And the best part- it takes less than 30 minutes to make. See the list at the end of this post for links to the other fruit curd recipes.
Why This Recipe Works
Fruit curd is an indulgent, luscious, tart, creamy fruit spread that is good as a dessert topping, spread on toast, or as a filling for tarts and cakes. This lemon recipe works because it uses fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon juice and zest to create a tart and lemony curd; and egg yolks and butter to create a creamy and thick texture. This Meyer lemon curd is also the featured ingredient in my Meyer Lemon Tart.
Meyer Lemon Curd Ingredients
The basic recipe for this lemon curd consists of four ingredients:
- Meyer Lemons. Use fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice. Use an electric juicer to get the most juice out of the lemons.
- Whole Eggs and Egg Yolks. The eggs add flavor, thicken the curd and create a creamy texture. They also make a stable emulsion - meaning the curd won't separate or break apart when it cools.
- Granulated Sugar. Sugar adds sweetness, but the main purpose of the sugar is to combine with the eggs to create a creamy custard. The sugar breaks up the protein clumps in the eggs, which results in raising the temperature in which the eggs set. Permitting the egg proteins to set slow and disperse with the other ingredients results in a smooth and creamy lemon curd.
- Unsalted Butter. Butter adds richness to the curd and helps make the curd satiny smooth.
For the best curd, use real lemons because you want the zest and the kick of real lemon juice. You'll need enough lemons to get 3/4 cup of lemon juice, which can be 4-5 lemons depending on their size or juiciness.
What Are Meyer Lemons
Meyer lemons were first introduced to the United States from China in the early 20th century by Frank Meyer, from whom they get their name. This winter citrus is a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange. The flavor that comes from combining these two fruits is what sets these lemons apart.
- Meyer lemons are more round than regular lemons, with smoother; a thin, deep yellow to orange skin, and dark yellow pulp. The differences are very distinct, especially when you see both types of lemons side by side.
- While they’re acidic, Meyer lemons don’t have the same tartness as regular lemons. They’re much sweeter — so much so that you can add them raw to salads and desserts. Since the rinds also have a more complex flavor than regular lemons, they were the perfect choice for my Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cake.
- Unlike regular lemons which are available year-round, Meyer lemons are typically available December - April in the Pacific Northwest.
How to Make Lemon Curd
The recipe starts with zesting the lemon directly into the sugar. When citrus fruit is zested the oils are released and a lot of the flavor and scent are in the oils. Zesting the fruit directly into the sugar ensures that you are capturing as much flavor as possible.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a 2-quart or 3-quart non-reactive saucepan until the mixture is well blended the sugar starts to dissolve. Next add the lemon juice, egg yolks, whole eggs, and butter and slowly stir the ingredients together. The butter will remain solid until you start to heat the mixture.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and whisk it constantly making sure to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Do not walk away from the curd while you are cooking it or it will burn. If you have to walk away for some reason, remove the pan from the heat.
When the curd has thickened and reached the right temperature strain it through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any solids (little bits of cooked eggs and the zest) so it is extra smooth.
The temperature is listed to ensure that you have cooked the curd enough so it will thicken as it cools. As the curd starts to thicken and steam rises from the surface, check the temperature often. Don't let the curd boil. Boiling curd will cause it to curdle and create a grainy texture.
The directions call for a non-reactive saucepan, which is a pan that will not react with the acid in the lemons. Do not use an aluminum pan, use stainless steel. Using an aluminum pan will produce a metallic taste.
Chill the curd immediately to keep bacteria from forming. Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap to keep a skin from forming on the surface of the lemon curd.
The lemon curd is good in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and can be frozen for up to one year. If you freeze it, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator about 24 hours before you're ready to use it.
Pro Tips for Making Lemon Curd
- Use a nonreactive (stainless steel) saucepan to make the curd. An aluminum pan will react with the acid in this fruit and affect the taste.
- Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the curd to ensure that it cooks long enough without boiling.
- Use unsalted butter for this recipe. Salted butter will create an off taste.
- If using the curd to make a tart, the warm curd can be poured directly into the prepared tart shell
Meyer Lemon Curd - Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the lemon curd can be frozen for up to a year. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before you're ready to use.
Unfortunately, if the curd is allowed to boil it will curdle the eggs and make the curd grainy. You can try straining it twice through a fine-mesh strainer, but that not remove all the grainy bits.
Yes. If you are allergic to dairy you can make the curd without butter. It will be a little less creamy, but still taste delicious.
If the curd hasn't thickened after chilling it in the refrigerator you may not have cooked it long enough and to the right temperature.
Other Fruit Curd Recipes
For other delicious fruit curds and recipes using fruit curd, check out these recipes on the blog:
- Seville Orange Curd
- Coconut Cake with Lime Curd Filling
- Blackberry Lemon Curd
- Raspberry Curd Fruit Tart
I hope you try the recipe for this luscious Meyer lemon curd. If you do make it please leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @bakesbybrownsugar.
Meyer Lemon Curd
- Medium-sized bowl
- 3 Quart Saucepan
- Fine-mesh strainer
- Medium whisk
- Plastic wrap
- 2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
- 2 (100 grams) whole eggs
- 4 (80 grams) large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- Place a strainer over a medium-sized bowl near the stove.
- Place the sugar in a small bowl and zest the lemons onto the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the sugar and zest together. Juice the lemons until you have 3/4 cup of juice.
- In a nonreactive 3 quart saucepan, combine the whole eggs, eggs yolks, and sugar and whisk until well blended. Stir in the lemon juice and butter.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture is thickened. As you cook the mixture the butter will melt. When the mixture has thickened and reached a temperature of 185 degrees F pour it into the strainer. Press the curd through the strainer with a spatula to remove the solids.
- Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap, gently pressing the plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd. Place the curd in the refrigerator and chill.
- The lemon curd is good in the refrigerator for 2 weeks and can be frozen for up to 1 year. If freezing the curd package it in a freezer container after it has chilled. When ready to use place it in the refrigerator to thaw for 24 hours before intended use.
Susan Yarnall says
I used your technique for making meyer lemon curd bars yesterday and they were perfect! I used to make lemon bars with the more traditional lemon juice, eggs, flour but found them too sweet and one note. Using lemon curd on a shortbread type crust make perfect bars without any need for confectioner's sugar to hide the foam on top. I had also made curds using the double boiler (mixing bowl over simmering water) technique but continuous whisking and watching the temperature produced a perfect product. Par baked the crust and then another 10 minutes at 325 similar to a tart set things up and allowed clean cuts. You are the curd queen!
Cheryl Norris says
I'm so glad to hear that you tried this recipe and that it helped you achieve the lemon bars that you were looking for. I love making fruits, so to read that you enjoyed this recipe makes my day.