make your own: lemon curd

lemon curd

 jump to the recipe

homemade lemon curd recipe

“We love you like we love lemons.” So said a card to a very special family we said goodbye to in Mexico; a family we had bonded with for their sense of humor, their sense of balance, and their sense of good food. A mutual love we share? Lemons.

Lemons and I have had an intense history. My first ever lemonade stand was quite a success. Very young at the time, I had heard about a missionary couple in Africa and wanted to raise money to send them. I acquired an antique desk lying around our farm house as my stand, constructed a meager sign advertising 25 cent lemonade, and parked myself next to our mailbox waiting for traffic. In a relatively brief period, I made 35 dollars, and sent every penny of it off to Africa.

35 dollars was a fortune! Especially when you take into account that the only traffic passing through was truck drivers on a deadline. My new found success got me to thinking, If I made 35 dollars for other people without even trying, imagine what I could make next summer for myself!

With that one thought, I forged ahead to come up with a business plan. I would charge 50 cents to instantly double my profit. I would increase both production and quality of the product, the lemonade. And I would enlist one of my older brothers to man the stand when I couldn’t be there in person, making sure we were always open for business. After some negotiation, we agreed to enter a partnership. My sole objective? The big bucks.

After an entire summer of intensive lemonade pushing, you know how much I’d made? Not even 5 dollars.

But more humiliating than the lack of sales was a moment that has taken up permanent residence in my memory: I was in my bedroom during low-traffic hours and heard the familiar sound of one of the feed trucks arriving to unload at the barn. As usual, it needed to back into our driveway to be able to turn in to the barn driveway directly across. I heard the beeping that accompanies such a maneuver. I also heard, however, a clack! sound that was quite unusual. I ran over to my second story window to see the transport truck back over my lemonade stand and crush it underneath it’s massive tires. Within seconds my lemonade stand was reduced to a sad little stack of wooden pieces. I started shouting and waving my arms in desperation and futility. But it was too late. There was nothing to be done. With that, I was officially out of business.

As tragic a moment as that was for me, I took away a valuable lesson: Motivation is a key factor in success. Unbeknownst to me at the time, generosity had beat the pants off greed.

I don’t blame the lemonade. How could I? It hadn’t failed me. So my relationship with lemons, though shaky, was never off the stand table.

sliced lemons

zesting lemons

Years later, as I started to really enjoy cooking, I came to have strong feelings for lemons. I mean, I really came to love lemons. The are bright, beautiful, and full of pizazz. I love them in tea, in tarts, in sorbets, in sauces, in salads, squirted over fish, roasted with chicken or in a tall glass of water.

So how better to showcase my lemon love than with a classic lemon curd? So easy, so delicious.

easy lemon curd recipe

lemon curd recipe

zest and juice of 5 lemons (approx. 1 cup lemon juice)
1 cup (200g) sugar
125g butter
3 eggs + 2 yolks

makes 2 1/2 cups of lemon curd

In a mixing bowl over a pot with gently boiling water, add lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter. Mix all the eggs together in a separate bowl and once butter has melted, add your eggs and yolks to the stove top mixture. Whisk the mixture often and watch it thicken!

whisking lemon curd stove top

Once the mixture is thickened to your liking (I like my curd very thick so I whisk it from 20 to 25 minutes) remove from heat and allow to cool. It will set a tad thicker so keep that in mind. Spoon into jam jars and refrigerate for later use. That is, if it’s not going into a pie right away or being spooned over ice cream!

classic lemon curd recipe

Stay tuned for my next post to see how we can incorporate this gorgeous lemon curd into an elegant and easy dessert!

To this special Canadian slash Mexican family, you know who you are. And I love you like I love lemons.

posted in condiments, lend me some sugar, make your own .

34 Responses to make your own: lemon curd

  1. awww!! Such a cute and yet somewhat sad post. I personally never had my own lemonade stand but I can appreciate your dedication at least in the first year 😉 heheh. Cannot wait to see the new post about LEMON CURD DESSERT! 😛 SLURP!

  2. I have lemon curd love. I still have to try my hand at making it but when I buy a jar at the gourmet store, I end up eating it with a spoon. 🙂

  3. So, me and lemons and you just all had a virtual bonding over your blog. Because I too adore lemons.

    Also, I made my first curd this last weekend. And I can’t quit eating it straight outta the jar. Don’t tell anyone.

  4. Mmmm, I love lemons. I’ll be waiting on the edge of my seat for your next recipe! I have 2 bottles of Everclear patiently waiting for me to make it into limoncello but zesting 18 lemons is not on my top ten list of things I feel like doing.

  5. Christine says:

    I love lemons. Lemons are a great natural household cleaner too. Can’t wait to see your next recipe.

  6. This story was a good read. I do believe that people will spend if it is for a specific cause. A prime example is our church. Garage sale last year=$627, garage sale this year with the note that a new church is being built=$3300.
    As far as I am concerned homemade curd is one of those condiments that you always need to have on hand. Yours does look tasty! Enjoy the day.

  7. kale says:

    Ashley – Yes I definitely worked harder and with better motive that first year! hehe

    Anita – It is one of those things that is so yummy to dip a finger…I mean, spoon into! 😉

    Jen – Your secret’s safe with me. And anyone who reads this. (But I wouldn’t worry about judgment. Eating out of the jar just makes good sense!)

    Julie – Oh my, that’s a lot of zesting! But making your own limoncello sounds fabulous!

    Christine – Very true. I use it in a lot of creams, too. Very versatile!

    Tina – It is a vital thing to have on hand, …if only I could keep it on hand without eating it in a matter of days!

  8. Liz says:

    I loved reading this post and the life lessons you learned via lemons 🙂 I could eat lemon curd by the spoonful…and yours looks fabulous!

  9. Kim Bee says:

    Your lemon curd looks wonderful. I made some recently with meyer lemons. So good. I can just eat it with a spoon.

  10. Emma says:

    Oooh, poignant coming of age story! Life lesson learned, in retrospect at least.

    I love making citrus curds; they’re at the top of my list of in-the-kitchen enjoyment, really. Looking forward to seeing what the next step is:)

  11. Kristina says:

    Aw that is seriously the sweetest story about your lemonade stand, thats so awesome that even when you were a kid you were thinking about helping others

    Maybe you should start a lemon curd stand now 🙂 I’d totally stop for some of that lemon curd! I just made some for the first time the other week and realized that i LOVE lemon curd, saving your recipe for later, this sounds delicious!

  12. Love, love, love the story — even more than I love lemons (and I do). Great lessons learned. And I learned how to make lemon curd, to boot. Have to admit, it’s one thing i really never thought of making myself. I am, er, motivated!

  13. I loved your story and your recipe. Can’t wait to see the next installment 🙂

  14. Wow, this lemon curd looks amazing. It’s so yellow and beautiful. I adore lemon curd. I thinks it’s the tartness and the fact that it can be spread on just about everything.

  15. kale says:

    Liz – Life Lessons via Lemons…that’s a good title!

    Kim Bee – Ooh meyer lemons, that sounds great!

    Emma – Yes, it took some time. I felt quite slighted at first. 😉

    Kristina – You are really on to something! A lemonade curd stand sounds awesome. I’m already thinking stand design concepts.

    Rosemary – Thanks Rosemary! Many more to come I’m sure. That’s the thing about life lessons, they keep on coming!

    CJ – Thank you! I’ll be sharing it very soon!

    Jennie – Me too. Tart & Spread = perfection. That’s why I add tons of lemon juice and zest. I’m greedy for lemons.

  16. This lemon curd looks utterly spoonable and delicious – could not resist it if I tried 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  17. Everyone else said it so well so I will just say, BRAVO!

  18. I have a serious love for lemons too! I don’t know why I love them so much but I do and this lemon curd looks so lovely and thick 🙂

  19. I admire your entrepreneurial spirit at a young age but more so your compassion for others that prompted you to start selling the lemonade in the first place.

  20. Wow. I have only just discovered my love for lemons, so I saw this post at just the right time! Yum, looks great!

  21. sarah says:

    I loved this post. It’s such a good lesson {I’ve had to learn it, too!} – when we give, without our self in mind, somehow there is always more for everyone.

    Your curd is beautiful. I love lemons, too!

  22. kale says:

    Choc Chip Uru – Why would you try to resist? 🙂

    Elizabeth – You’ve made me feel like a superhero! I have the perfect cape in mind…

    Lorraine – UM, because they’re awesome. That’s why. 😉 Yeah it’s thicker than most but I just cannot help myself. *shrug*

    Sylvie – Aw thanks Sylvie. If only I hadn’t become more obsessed with the entrepreneur side than the compassion that second year… Ah well, such is growth.

    ATasteOfMadness – How fun! You’re in for a world of treats. Forward go in search of more lemon!

    sarah – Well put! That was precisely the lesson. And it doesn’t surprise me that you love lemons. You just seem cool like that. (And you know I love your blog!)

  23. Asmita says:

    This lemon curd looks amazing! I have yet to try my hand at making it but love it so much. Would love to make your recipe!

  24. Lesley says:

    just the color of the curd and the lemons made me happy this morning. i shared one of my last recently found lemons with a friend here, complaining of being tired of limes. she grabbed it like it was a million dollars and caressed it in her hands, until I told her she could HAVE it, that I wasn’t just showing her it. i was the queen in her world for that day. i must love her for sharing!
    not many other lines have that much feeling in a short sentence. we too, love you (and are proud of you and miss you) like we love lemons….(oh, and top chef of course). 🙂

  25. The lemon curd is terrific, but your story is even better. When you started the story saying you’d make 35 dollars I was truly impressed. As I read on, I was even more impressed with your determination and the lesson you learned. 🙂

  26. purabi naha says:

    Oh, this is a luxurious lemon curd to gorge on! And you had me at this recipe! Loved the presentation!!

  27. Beautifully refeshing and delicious curd – nice one 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  28. Katia says:

    Kale, I love your first lemonade stand, it’s a lovely story indeed! Well, I’m going to have my first charity stall soon and I’ll put in the highest possible motivation 🙂
    That lemon curd look to die for, I’ve never made it but I will sonn. Cheers.

  29. kale says:

    Asmita – I hope you do!

    Lesley – Well, Top Chef OBVIOUSLY! 😉 You are so generous with your lemons, Lesley.

    Kristi Rimkus – I was pretty impressed with my earnings too! I grew up in the boonies, so the truck drivers must’ve taken pity on the little girl and her lemonade, all alone at the end of the long dirt driveway.

    purabi naha – Thanks! Gorging is an excellent idea…

    Choc Chip Uru – Thank you for more kind words!

    Katia – May you learn from my selfish ways. 😉

  30. i love lemon curd!!

    your story about your lemonade stand was both heartwarming and sad. heartwarming because at such a young age you had the determination to help people in Africa but sad because the stand got crushed to pieces 🙁

  31. Aww your poor lemon stand! How tragic!!! This lemon curd looks wonderful. I love lemon curd, so many delicious ways to use it!

  32. Eftychia says:

    I can smell it! The zest of 5 lemons? This sounds soooooo GOOD!

  33. Bryan says:

    Always wanted to make lemon curd, I guess I’ll have to try out this recipe!

  34. Christine says:

    That is the one of the best efforts I have heard made on a lemonade stand business.

    I’ve always wanted to make lemon curd, this looks like a great recipe.

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