Tea Time for Undercover Caterer–Meyer Lemon Curd

by Sarah on April 3, 2010

There’s something about lemon curd that reminds me of  Beatrix Potter, scones, tea and tarts.  I want to put on my pearls,  set the table and make tiny watercress sandwiches.  Sometimes I feel too old fashioned for my own good.

Last weekend I had the great fortune of coming across a friends’ neglected Meyer lemon tree and was allowed to help myself.  With the help of my nimble 3-year-old friend, I was able to acquire a whole grocery sack full of Meyer lemons.  I knew that lemon curd was in my very near future.

This recipe is totally simple.  Particularly when you are not working with 50 lemons.  I recommend you perhaps start with a normal amount of lemons, like 3.  3 lemons will yield about 3 cups of lemon curd.  Think about that—I had a yield of 50 cups of lemon curd.

First, using a regular vegetable peeler, peel off the lemon zest–trying to avoid the white pith underneath.

After taking off the zest, juice the lemons so that you have about 1/2 cup.

Put the strips of zest in the food processor with 1-1/4 cup sugar and pulse until the zest is finely ground.

In a mixer, cream 1/4 lb. of butter (1 stick) of room temperature butter, then add the sugar mixture.

After mixing the butter and sugar, add the eggs and mix, one at a time–4 eggs total.

Add 1/8 tsp of kosher salt, then pour in the lemon juice and mix together.

Transfer the mixture to a non-reactive pan (non-aluminum) and heat over low heat.  Never mind that it’s curdled and ugly.

Stir it frequently.  As you can see, the butter will melt.  The mixture will become thin and start to become more clear.

Eventually, it will begin to thicken.  You’ll want to stir it constantly at this point.

After about 10 minutes it will be thick enough.  If you’re not sure, you can check the temperature, which should be at about 170*.

Or you can do the spoon test.  Run your finger through the curd and if it leaves a distinct trail, it’s done.

I sent some home with a friend.  If you are planning to eat it soon, or freeze it, then leftover jars like these are fine.

I canned mine.  You need to put them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.  I don’t have enough room in my freezer for all this lemon curd.

Except for one jar.  I saved one for me.  I thought maybe I’d make some scones.  Or it’s good just on a spoon.

*adapted from Barefoot Contessa Cookbook*

Meyer Lemon Curd


  • 3 Meyer lemons
  • 1-1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/4 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt


  • Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of the lemons, avoiding the white pith. Put the peels in a food processor with the sugar and pulse until the zest is finely ground into the sugar.
  • Cream the butter in a mixer and add the sugar mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated. Add the salt and then pour in the lemon juice. Mix completely.
  • Transfer the lemon curd mixture into a non-reactive pan (not aluminum) and heat over low heat. Stir frequently until it begins to thicken and then stir constantly. The curd will begin to thicken. After about 10 minutes the curd should be thickened and at about 170*. It will leave a definite trail on the back of a spoon when you run your finger through it.
  • For immediate use, place in containers and refrigerate.
  • For canning, pour into hot jars, wipe the rims, then process according to hot water bath directions--about 10 minutes.
  • 1 recipe makes about 3 cups. Recipe can be doubled but expect the cooking time to increase.

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