The art of cooking is one part precision, one part creativity, and one part magic – at least that’s how I felt as a little girl, watching my mom whip up wonderful creations in our kitchen. I remembering feeling amazed to see her turn even the most basic set of ingredients into a delicious and complex dish. The mystery surrounding the techniques that she employed made this show that much more captivating. To see a modest mix of flour, sugar, and a few eggs emerge from the oven as a perfectly light and delicious cake. To cringe at the taste of pure vanilla extract, yet see it infuse a dish with the most amazing sweet and floral flavor. My mind was really blown the summer that we boiled our own bagels and placed ice cream in a broiling oven (encased in a protective layer of whipped meringue) to make Baked Alaska.
As I’ve learned to cook myself, I’ve realized that what first appears to be magic often comes down to straightforward scientific principles. I know that baking powder is a crucial leavening agent and that eggs will curdle if exposed to too much heat too quickly. As I’ve practiced and perfected new recipes, these principles have become crucial tools, allowing me to make flaky scones and rich custards with ease. And somehow, even this knowledge doesn’t make the resulting products any less enchanting.
Such magic is at play in this lemon curd recipe, too. The basic ingredients are simple: a few eggs, some melted butter, a bit of sugar, and the amazing power of fresh lemons. We combine these components and patiently stir, waiting for the egg yolks to work their magic. After enough swirls of the whisk, our curd begins to slowly thicken. A few minutes later, we have a perfectly rich, creamy, and spoonable spread. This lemon curd is tangy and tart, with just the right balance of sugary sweetness. The bright yellow color is so cheery – perfect for a spring or summer breakfast buffet!
My favorite way to enjoy lemon curd is the classic preparation: spooned over freshly baked scones, like this oat version. The rich and tart lemon curd is the ideal pairing for the flaky baked treats. It’s also delicious on top of waffles and pancakes, as the filling for a layer cake, or folded into freshly whipped cream for the easiest mousse. However you choose to enjoy your lemon curd, a batch of this recipe certainly will not go to waste!
Makes 2 cups
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 4 eggs, beaten
- zest of 2 lemons
- juice of 4 lemons
- Place butter in a double boiler over simmering water and let melt.
- Add remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.
- Let cook, whisking constantly, until curd thickly coats a spoon, 12-15 minutes.
- Remove curd from heat and pour into a clean glass jar. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate.