Lemon Curd

I don’t recall ever seeing lemon curd outside the South except in the most upscale food shops and in highly innovative restaurant desserts. Spread on biscuits or toast, spooned over ice cream, or used to make rich tarts, this silky, zesty, sweet condiment (introduced, no doubt, by our English ancestors) couldn’t be more distinctive. I’ve watched guests go through an entire half-pint jar at a single brunch for four. Since the curd lasts for weeks tightly capped in the refrigerator, I don’t even bother to can it unless I make large quantities.

Ingredients

  • 4 lemons, thoroughly washed
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • cups superfine sugar
  • 4 large eggs, beaten

Method

Grate the zest of the lemons onto a plate and set aside. Cut the lemons in half, squeeze the juice through a sieve into a small bowl, and set aside.

In a saucepan, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer and cook over low heat till the consistency of honey, about 10 minutes, stirring. Add the grated lemon zest and the reserved juice, stir well, remove the pan from the heat, and let cool 10 minutes. Add the eggs, stir well, and cook over low heat till the mixture is custardlike, about 10 minutes, stirring.

Spoon the curd into four ½-pint sterilized jars to within ¼ inch of the tops, seal, and store at room temperature till ready to use.