The luxurious and velvety lemon curd in this recipe is very close to my heart. I have had this recipe for over 15 years and it’s been used in many of the restaurants I have worked in. I had to think very hard about where I originally obtained this recipe, but if my memory serves me well, it was from a grumpy French pastry chef I once worked with (no, not my friend Fabien, he’s French but he’s not grumpy… he’s lovely and a very good pastry chef indeed!).
I have tweaked and changed this lemon curd recipe over time, but as I was writing this book, I realised that it has become a classic in my recipe collection and one that I shall treasure for many more years to come. I also did a bit of research into other lemon curd recipes, to try and identify what makes mine different and indeed what makes it better than the rest – I concluded that it’s the stage when the butter is added, and this makes my recipe unique, glossy and even more irresistible than the rest!
This recipe is also very easy to make, so my theory is to make it fresh, as and when you need it, and enjoy it there and then! OK, it will keep perfectly well in the fridge for 2–3 weeks (unopened in sealed jars), but I’ll bet it doesn’t last that long!
There are so many things you can do with the lemon curd. For this recipe, I bake the puff pastry cases a day in advance, then cool and store them in an airtight container overnight. I then make the lemon curd the following day and serve it in the crisp pastry cases. Absolutely delicious!
Ingredients & Method
- 375g good quality chilled fresh all-butter puff pastry
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 125g caster sugar
- a pinch of table salt
- 125ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 125g cold unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces (keep refrigerated until needed)
- icing sugar, to dust
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin and set aside.
First, make the pastry cases. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface to 2–3mm thickness. Cut out 12 x 8cm rounds, place them on a tray and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Line the prepared muffin tin with the pastry rounds and prick them all over with a fork. Place a paper cake case filled with baking beans inside each one and bake blind in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper cases, then return the pastry cases to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes or until cooked, golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the pastry cases to a wire rack. Leave to cool completely before filling with the warm lemon curd.
Make the lemon curd. Half-fill a saucepan with water and bring up to a gentle simmer. Choose a heatproof mixing bowl that will sit comfortably over the saucepan without slipping down inside the pan (you also want to make sure that the bottom of the bowl does not come into contact with the simmering water underneath). Place the eggs, egg yolks, caster sugar and salt in the bowl and whisk together briefly until well mixed. Whisk in the lemon juice, mixing well.
Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water. Heat gently, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the mixture starts to thicken, then continue to cook gently for a further 10–12 minutes or until the lemon curd thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon; do not allow the mixture to boil or it will curdle.
Remove the pan from the heat (but leave the bowl set over the pan) and gradually but quickly whisk the cold butter into the lemon curd, a few pieces at a time, until the butter is completely melted and incorporated – by this stage you should have a rich, creamy and glossy lemon curd.
Themomix Method for the curd:
Using the built in weighing scales weigh the freshly squeezes lemon juice, caster sugar, salt, egg yolks and whole eggs directly into the Thermomix bowl, blitz for 10 seconds on speed 8, scrape the sides down, insert the butterfly whisk. Set the timer for 5 minutes at 70°C, speed 4. Cut the cold butter into small even size pieces, set the timer for 2 minutes at 70°C, speed 2 and slowly drop the pieces of cold butter through the hole onto the curd. Scrape the sides down, remove the butterfly whisk and secure the lid, blitz the curd for 20 seconds on speed 9, transfer the curd to a clean container and place a piece of clingfilm directly on top of the curd to prevent it from forming a skin, let the curd cool. Once cooled keep refrigerated until needed.
While the lemon curd is still warm, pour it into the cooked pastry cases, then leave to cool. Serve at room temperature and just before serving, heavily dust each tartlet with icing sugar.
If there is any leftover lemon curd, transfer it to a clean bowl or jar, place a piece of cling film directly on the surface to prevent a skin forming, cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
If you are making the lemon curd to serve another time, pour the warm curd into hot sterilised jars (the lemon curd will make about 2 x 200g jars). Cover with wax discs (wax-side down) and seal. When cold, label, then store in the fridge and use within 2–3 weeks. Once opened, keep in the fridge and use within 3 days.