Have you ever made lemon curd?
It's one of the most delicious and simple things you could ever make.
It uses few ingredients.
It only takes about 15 minutes.
There aren't many steps.
It's sweet and sour.
It's near perfect.
This curd uses the juice of both lemon and lime, but you can definitely use 100% lemon juice if that's all you have on hand, or if you simply don't fancy limes.
I like to bump up the lemon flavour by using the zest as well as the juice. Instead of just adding it into the mix, I like to rub the zest with the sugar using a mortar and pestle. This serves two functions. Firstly, it really helps to extract maximum flavour from the zest as the essential lemon oils coat the sugar crystals. You'll notice that the sugar will become very fragrant and super lemony!
Second of all, the sugar acts as an abrasive to help break down the zest so that there aren't large zest pieces that may have an unpleasant texture when floating throughout this silky smooth curd.
All of the ingredients get whisked up in a bowl before being gently cooked in a double boiler until thickened.
The egg yolks, acid and sugar all help to thicken this curd. Egg yolks contain a lot of protein. The acid helps to break down the proteins (called denaturation) which extends their natural folded structure so that their side chains are exposed to react with the surrounding environment. When this happens, the proteins begin to form bonds with each other, or coagulate in a gentle way to form a continuous network of proteins with water held between them. This is what creates the delicate thickness and silky texture in citrus curd.
Sugar also helps to thicken as it binds water and pulls moisture away from the proteins.
Salt is an extremely important ingredient here. Please don't leave it out! It offsets the sweetness and sourness, not to mention enhances the lemony flavour. It's a must, and it's a winner.
Stirring in butter right at the end adds richness and enhances the already silky mouthfeel. And, well, let's be honest - it's butter, it makes everything better.
You really must make this. Like....right now! It is extremely versatile and you can even freeze it for later.
You can use it as a filling for layer cakes or a topping for cupcakes. You can pipe it into tart shells, fold it into whipped cream, simply spread it onto toast or eat it straight up with a spoon like pudding.
Mmm Mmm MMM!