Even though it is cold and pretty dreary here up North, I can get a little dose of sunshine during the winter because of citrus season. I usually try to keep my food as local as possible, but that can be pretty hard in these long winters, particularly when it comes to produce. So, one of my non-local splurges is ripe, juicy, tart citrus. And when citrus--especially lemons--abound, then lemon curd is absolute perfection.
So what is lemon curd? Curd is a British spread, much like custard, made with egg s, butter, sugar (honey in this case) and fruit juice, traditionally lemon or other citrus. As odd as the name sounds, it is one seriously delicious treat, and winter citrus season is prime time to make it. It is a great way to use up extra lemons, especially if they have some blemishes or imperfections.
I try not to feel guilty about knowing how far that fruit traveled from California to get here, but I suppose perfection is not the goal. When local fresh fruit is nowhere to be found, you can find a winter pick-me-up from citrus, and you feel like you can make it a little better in the winter. Be sure to use organic lemons if at all possible. Lemons can be heavily sprayed with pesticides, and in recipes like this that use the zest, it is important to choose organic lemons to avoid those chemicals.
Lemon curd is bright, buttery and the perfect blend of tart and sweet. Just what I need when it gets too cold and dark here in Wisconsin. Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, plus this is sweetened with local honey and is made even better with vitamin-rich pastured butter and eggs. This delicious and nutrient-dense spread is just what your morning toast or biscuit needs!
Honey Lemon Curd
Makes 1 pint
2 whole eggs (look for organic, pastured eggs)
2 egg yolks**
1/2 cup lemon juice--this took me about 4 lemons
2 Tbs lemon zest
1/3 cup local honey
6 Tbs butter (look for pastured/grass-fed)
Pinch of sea salt
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan (use a non-reactive material, such as glass or stainless steel), combine the lemon juice, lemon zest and honey. Add a pinch of salt.
Cut the butter into cubes and add to the mixture.
Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring pretty regularly to prevent sticking. When the mixture starts to warm, gradually add the eggs, a little at a time, whisking as you add them. This will temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling. When the mixture starts to bubble, keep an eye on the texture. It will start to thicken as the eggs cook, and the curd is ready when it is approximately the texture of pudding, about 5-8 minutes.
Let it cool for a few minutes, and then you can strain it through a fine mesh strainer to remove pieces of lemon zest if you prefer. I usually don't because I tend to like the little bits of zest in there. Alternately, you could put the cooled curd into a blender to smooth it out, while leaving the zest in it.
Transfer to a pint-sized glass jar. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight, until cooled and firmed.
Serve on sourdough toast or pancakes, buttermilk biscuits, on yogurt or oatmeal, or even use as a filling in a tart or cake. I mostly love mine right off of the spoon!
This will keep 1-2 weeks in the fridge.
**Don't throw those egg whites out! The extra egg whites can go into omelettes or scrambled eggs, or to make meringue or coconut macaroons.
Brine & Broth
I am a nutritionist in Southwest Wisconsin, focused on traditional, nutrient-dense foods. My goal is to provide you with simple and delicious recipes that fit into real life, and information for choosing healthful real foods. Enjoy!