When spring and summer arrive with warmer weather, and our days are made longer by extended sunlight, we start thinking about making light or light-tasting and bright fresh fruit desserts. And, when we think of using lemon or lime curd in a fruit dessert recipe for some extra citrus kick, we tend to purchase a jar or two.
However, I am here to champion homemade citrus curd and show you how very easy it is to make with our Homemade “Key Lime” Curd recipe. All it takes is a bit of time for prep work, about a half hour of actual cooking time and some extra stirring to incorporate the butter. Furthermore, citrus and fruit curds should not be solely reserved for spring and summer as they can be enjoyed equally during winter months.
Before my first attempt to make homemade lemon curd, I was a mess…just terrified. What if it scorches? What if it curdles and I end up with lemony scrambled eggs? Even worse, what if I burn it? What if it separates? What if I fail? Oh, the horrors!
Why are we so intimidated by such an easy peasy preparation? And, why does this seemingly fancy schmancy food stuff seem only fit to serve The Queen of England?
Because we are informed about all the pratfalls of making homemade citrus curd upfront, we set ourselves up for a lack of confidence. Then, we feel the added pressure that perhaps we must plan a tea party complete with all the “proper tea” preparations, bring out our finest china and silver, serve crumpets and scones (or “strumpets” as Jim Carrey’s character, Lloyd Christmas, calls them in the film, Dumb and Dumber) and sip our teacups with our pinkies raised. Silly. All of these preconceived notions about fruit curd are just plain nonsense!
As it turns out, my first batch of lemon curd turned out just fine and I had nothing to fear. That’s right. Nothing. Fear, I believe, is the number one reason we put off doing something fun and challenging in the kitchen. I swear, I thought to myself, “That’s it? That’s all there is to it? I did it!” We all must start from scratch.
It was a good thing I started with a good, well-written and reliable recipe—one that I took the time to read through thoroughly. Like, three times. Of course, this is something Lucy, of I Love Lucy, never did. One of my favorite episodes from season one, “Pioneer Women” (link is to video clip at Hallmark Channel website), is when Lucy misreads a bread recipe as to the amount of yeast and tries to bake homemade bread with Ethel to win a bet with the boys. A GINORMOUS loaf of bread juts out of the oven taking up nearly half her kitchen and eventually has Lucy crouched and pressed up against her lower kitchen cabinets. Hahaha!
Yes, the key to successfully making something you’ve never made before starts from scratch–first, by reading the recipe. By reading the recipe, to include all the tips and “visual cues”, you will know what to expect. Knowing what to expect will certainly put any fears to rest. Then, try visualizing making the recipe as you read. Easy peasy. Lemon squeezy.
For the recipe I am sharing today, I merged together Alton Brown’s methods and, for the most part, Rose Levy Beranbaum’s ingredients ratio for Lemon Curd. For beginners, I believe using a double boiler (Alton’s preferred method) is ideal as it creates a gentle and controlled environment to make the curd thus preventing any scorching or burning.
So, don’t be fearful. Embrace the opportunity to grow your culinary skillset and enjoy the challenge of making your own homemade citrus or fruit curd, by making our Homemade “Key Lime” Curd. Because, once you do (and eat it by the spoonful as I did!), you will be on Cloud Nine. Just be careful and stop yourself from eating all your homemade curd by the spoon. Or, you just may need a 12-step program!
Homemade fruit curd doesn’t have to be made from all citrus fruit. For instance, have you ever heard of raspberry curd? Strawberry curd? Well, you can make them homemade as well! Here are two great recipes from two fabulous dessert blogs and food bloggers, Laura of Tutti Dolci and Valerie of Une Gamine dans la Cuisine. Laura’s gorgeous Raspberry Curd Tart includes a recipe for homemade raspberry curd made with Meyer lemons. And, Valerie’s recipe for Strawberry Curd is sweet, with just a slight burst of lemon flavor.
What exactly is fruit curd?
Fruit curd is a dessert filling, spread and/or topping typically made with citrus juices such as lemon, lime or orange. Basic ingredients include a mixture of beaten egg yolks, sugar, fruit juice and zest which are gently cooked until thickened and cooled. The mixture forms a soft and smooth fruit flavored curd. Some recipes include egg whites and butter.
Although fruit curds are used to fill pies and tarts, they are much different from pie fillings and custards in that a higher proportion of juice and zest are used which provide a concentrated or more intense flavor. Fruit curds made with butter will have a creamier and smoother texture. Other pie fillings and custards contain little or no butter and rely on starches (arrowroot or cornstarch) or flour for thickening whereas fruit curds rely on egg yolks for thickening.
More creative fruit curds use citrus fruits such as grapefruits and tangerines as well as berries such as blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries, and tropical fruits such as passion fruit and mango.
Here are some ways to enjoy homemade citrus or fruit curd:
As a Condiment for Breakfast
- Spread on Bagels, English Muffins or Toast with Jam and Cream Cheese
- Spread on Biscuits, Muffins, Scones or Rolls
- Swirl into Yogurt with Granola and Berries or Dried Fruit
- Topping for French Toast, Pancakes or Waffles
- Topping for Oatmeal or Porridge
In Baking & Dessert Making
- Filling for Cake Layers and Crepes
- Filling for Cookies and Macarons
- Filling for Cupcakes and Baked Doughnuts
- Filling for Mini Meringues and Pavlova
- Filling for Pies and Tarts or Mini Phyllo Tarts
- Filling for Profiteroles and Puff Pastries
- Layered Filling in Parfaits and Trifles or Napoleons
- Served with Fresh Fruit and Whipped Coconut or Dairy Cream
- Swirled into Batter for Cheesecakes
- Topping for Ice Cream Sundaes
Why is our Homemade “Key Lime” Curd wicked good?
Our Homemade “Key Lime” Curd melts in your mouth. It is creamy and smooth due to the addition of butter and bursting with citrus flavor. To create the key lime flavor in our recipe (since it is often difficult to source fresh key limes locally), we used both lemon and lime juices in a 1:1 ratio as well as all lemon zest for a consistent throughout bright yellow color. If you could taste sunshine on a spoon, our Homemade “Key Lime” Curd would be it!
- 7 to 8 large egg yolks (about 130 grams), depending on size
- 1¼ cups + 2 tablespoons (275 grams) granulated sugar
- 2¼ fluid ounces (70 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 large lemons)
- 2¼ fluid ounces (70 grams) freshly squeezed lime juice (2½ limes)
- Pinch of kosher or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon (6 grams) finely grated lemon zest
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113 grams) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pats
Tips:Before juicing citrus, heat fruit for 10 seconds in microwave oven on high power. Roll between hands or on work surface, pressing lightly on the fruit. This will release a significant greater amount of juice. To prevent curdling, be sure to blend the sugar well with the yolks before adding the citrus (lemon and lime) juices. Use a double boiler (or a metal bowl placed over saucepan) with an inch or so of water in bottom pan or heavy nonreactive (non-aluminum) saucepan which conducts heat evenly. Do not allow the curd mixture to boil. Remove immediately from heat once curd is thickened and, if straining (this is optional to strain the citrus zest), strain at once as the residual heat will continue to cook the curd. If you have an accurate candy thermometer, check the temperature of the cooked curd. It should be 170ºF. Store curd covered tightly in refrigerator. It will keep up to 2 weeks. Warning: The reason why a nonreactive (non-aluminum) saucepan should be used is because aluminum will react with the yolks and turn them a chartreuse (green) color. Recipe Inspiration: Our Homemade “Key Lime” Curd recipe was adapted by recipes for Lemon Curd by Alton Brown of FoodNetwork.com and award-winning cookbook author, Rose Levy Beranbaum. Rose’s Lemon Curd recipe can be found on page 340 in the highly acclaimed cookbook, The Cake Bible (William Morrow Cookbooks; 8th edition, 1st edition September 20, 1988). We used lemon and lime juice in a 1:1 ratio as well as all lemon zest for a consistent throughout bright yellow color to create a key lime flavor profile. Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.