27 Apr Yolk-Only Lemon Curd
I’ll happily orphan an egg white. Want French vanilla ice cream with five, six, even eight yolks? No problem. I’ll just pop the abandoned whites into the freezer and make an angel food cake when the mood strikes. Or maybe some macaroons.
But ask me to strand so much as a single yolk? I get downright uncomfortable. Yolks don’t freeze well. At all. They get gummy and rubbery. I’ve tried mixing them with a little salt or sugar to keep them pliable, but the results are so dubious I end up tossing them.
Over the years, I’ve made a range of curds. Some call for a combination of yolks and whole eggs, but when I’ve just separated a dozen eggs for meringues, I want to use every yolk without having to crack open another carton. This yolk-only lemon curd does just that. The results are rich and thick and silky. The lemon comes through but so does the butter. It’s not too tangy, not too sweet. Best of all, the curd can be frozen, so I don’t mind making a big batch. Double the recipe if you wish. It’s no more work.
As an added bonus you can skip the double boiler and simmering water. After all, there are no temperamental whites to accommodate. The only things you’ll need are a pot with a heavy bottom for even heat distribution, a fine mesh sieve for straining, and some stranded yolks looking for a purpose. And fresh lemons (or limes, or oranges). These are as crucial as the yolk.
And of course, what’s a recipe without a caution or two? I promise you, curd victory will be yours as long as you don’t boil the curd, and don’t use bottled juice. Boiling will curdle the yolks and bottled juice will make your curd taste metallic. Keep these two things in mind and you’re golden – or at least bright yellow.
Once cooled, spread your yolk-only lemon curd on toast, dab it on fresh scones, or pile it onto pavlovas. Of course, if you’ve already got meringues and curd on hand, you could make an old-fashioned Eton Mess. I’ll post that recipe later — once your homemade curd has had a chance to cool. (Update: The Lemon Curd Eton Mess post is up.)
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or lime)
- finely grated zest of 2 lemons (or limes)
- generous pinch fine sea salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- Place a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Place the butter, sugar, lemon juice, zest and salt in a heavy-bottomed, medium-sized saucepan. Set pan over medium-low and let the butter melt, about 3 to 5 minutes depending on how cold your butter is. As the butter melts, whisk until the mixture is completely smooth. Add the yolks and whisk again until smooth.
- Switch to a flat-headed spoon and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened, making sure the curd does not boil, about 10 minutes. The mixture is ready when you can swipe your finger across the back of the spoon and it leaves a clear path in the curd.
- Strain the curd through the sieve. You can pour the curd into ramekins or small lidded jars. If your storage vessel has no lid, place plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate until cool. The curd will thicken as it cools. Once fully cooled, refrigerate covered for up to a month, or freeze for up to 3 months.