Classic Lemon Curd

This lemon curd has a nicely balanced taste, neither too eggy nor too tart. It may be used as a frosting, and it is the foundation for a variety of fillings. You can add butter, fold in whipped cream or meringue, or top it with meringue. Lemon curd spread over caramel cream in a baked tart is a fabulous blend. Combined with fresh fruits, such as peaches, strawberries, papayas, mangoes, bananas or blueberries, it is glorious.

This is used in Chambéry Lemon Tart.


  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (1 lemon)
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8 pieces

Cooking Equipment

Mercury candy thermometer


Making the Lemon Curd

Place the eggs and egg yolks in a -quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and whisk to combine. Add the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, whisking to combine after each addition.

Add the pieces of chilled butter and place the saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly over the entire bottom with a rubber spatula. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture begins to develop body and thicken. As the butter melts, it is incorporated into the mixture. It is important to regulate the heat so the mixture never boils. Boiling could cause curdling and the butter to separate from the curd.

The curd is finished and thick enough when the candy thermometer registers 160 degrees. Immediately remove it from heat.

Cooling the Lemon Curd

With the rubber spatula, scrape the curd into a shallow -quart mixing bowl to cool. Cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the surface to keep the top from drying and forming a crust. This provides a completely smooth, thick lemon curd when cold. If the surface is not covered, it dries, forming lumps. Poke 5 to 7 small slits in the plastic with the tip of a knife blade to allow steam to escape; then refrigerate up to 10 days.