Lemon curd is a common – and very popular – ingredient in found in desserts. You can find lemon curd tucked inside freshly baked madeleines, drizzled over paper-thin crêpes or as a filling in fluffy sponge cakes. Lemon curd can also be seen dolloped on scones, in doughnuts and even in tarts.
But what exactly is lemon curd?
It is a sweet conserve made from lemons, butter, eggs and sugar. Some manufacturers may add emulsifiers to their lemon curd to prevent separation, however producers such as Barker’s NZ still make their lemon curd using traditional family recipes. As a result, Barker’s NZ’s lemon curd may naturally separate – but there is nothing a quick stir won’t fix.
The process of making fruit curd is similar to that of making jam. Making your own jam requires slowly cooking sugar and whole fruits, including peels. In contrast, fruit curd is produced using juice and sugar. Consequently, the final product is a soft creamy spread that is not only delicious but also surprisingly very versatile. Here are five ways you can incorporate lemon curd into your cooking:
1. In brownies
Chocolate brownies may be nice but they are also little bit predictable. The next time you decide to bake a batch of brownies for an office morning tea, try making lemon curd brownies. Just a few spoons of lemon curd in the brownie mix will yield plenty of zest and mouth-watering flavour. You can also make a lemon curd glaze simply by mixing two tablespoons of lemon curd with water and icing sugar. The glaze ensures that your brownies will not dry out but remain moist the next morning.
2. In scones and muffins
We’ve all tried lemonade scones before, but a lemon curd scone is something else altogether. Light and fluffy with that unmistakeable tang in each bite, a lemon curd scone is a treat you will want to see on every high tea table.
Lemon curd can also be used to spice up your muffin-baking repertoire. It’s hard to go past a batch of lemon and poppy seed muffins, especially given how easy they are to make. You can also jazz the muffins up with a frosting made by simply whisking cream cheese and lemon curd, then spreading it over the muffins once they have cooled.
And if you like your muffin tops crunchy, try making a batch of lemon crumble top muffins – the cinnamon and brown sugar crumble top adds a lovely textural contrast to the pillowy lemony base.
3. In puddings
A steamed lemon curd pudding is the perfect winter warming dessert. Best of all, they can be baked individually in little bowls for portion control. Naturally, you can also add lemon curd into your next bread and butter pudding. Any bread can be used to make the pudding but for best results, use plain or almond croissants for that flaky, buttery goodness. To serve, we highly recommend lightly dusting the pudding with icing sugar when cool.
4. In savoury dishes
Using lemon curd is not limited to sweet dishes. The versatility of lemon curd means that you can use it in savoury dishes, especially when you don’t have fresh lemons handy. For a simple weeknight dinner, try brushing chicken tenderloins with lemon curd before baking them in the oven. You can also do the same with fish – salmon or a firm white fish like snapper works well; the lemon curd will perfume the flesh with a pleasant fragrance.
Other weeknight recipe suggestions include avgolemono, a traditional Greek lemon and chicken soup, and Asian-inspired lemon chicken.
5. In cheesecakes
The combination of zesty and creamy can’t be beaten and there’s no better way to enjoy an afternoon tea than with a slice of lemony cheesecake. If you’re catering for a large group, baking mini lemon and ginger cheesecakes is the way to go – just make sure there’s enough for seconds.
For an indulgent dessert that you can sink your teeth into, we highly recommend this blueberry and lemon yoghurt cheesecake.