What Is Lemon Curd?
If you've ever wanted to find a way turn a surplus of lemons into something more exciting than lemonade, chances are good you've come across a lemon curd recipe or two. But what is lemon curd? Well, lemon curd is a sweet dessert-y spread that's often found in tarts and pies or as part of a fancy British tea service. Fruit curds are distinctly different from jams or jellies or even preserves, since curds are made by cooking down fruit juice with sugar rather than the whole fruit. The result is a creamy spread that can be piped into pastries or just served plain and spread onto toast or biscuits.
And although it might sound fancy, it's actually fairly eastern to learn how to make lemon curd. All you need is butter, sugar, eggs, and lemon zest and juice (but any citrus fruit will do). Whisk all the ingredients together over low heat until it has a custard consistency, though as Jan Hedh wisely notes in her recipe for lemon curd in The Jam and Marmalade Bible: A Complete Guide to Preserving, don't make lemon curd in a copper pot, "as it will turn out green."
Since you can easily buy lemon curd at supermarkets and it only takes about ten minutes to make fresh lemon curd, you shouldn't really need a lemon curd substitute. And if you're worried about making more lemon curd than you can eat, don't worry; you can even freeze fresh lemon curd after you make it. That's according to Elaine M. D'Sa at the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia, who writes, "Prepared lemon curd can be frozen for up to 1 year without quality changes when thawed." Just be sure to thaw it in the fridge at least 24 hours before you need it and to use all the thawed lemon curd up within a month.
But freezing lemon curd shouldn't be a problem incentive you figure out what to do with lemon curd and how to use lemon curd. Lemon curd is surprisingly versatile, especially given its distinctive texture and tangy yet sweet flavor. You can plop it on pancakes or waffles in lieu of syrup, stir it into plain yogurt for an added punch ignore flavor, or even just spread it onto your toast like any other jam or jelly. With all these options, you'll never let lemons—or lemon curd—go to waste again.