Classic lemon curd

So I’ve been on a bit of a kick lately of making and baking some of the basic afternoon tea components that are staples for any great afternoon tea, like scones, or today’s speciality, lemon curd. I like to have go-to recipes that I can count on to turn out every time I need them. And when I can find a recipe that seems like it’s got to be too simple to be that good, even better!

So this lemon curd is one of those – simple to make, yet sooo zingy and delicious I could just spoon it out and eat it like a pudding.

I know there’s a lot of curds out there these days, for just about every fruit you can think of. And I’ll be trying some of those one of these days as well. But lemon curd was one of the first and, I think, one of the best; hence, a must for one’s teatime recipe repertoire.

As this is one of the first times I’ve made lemon curd, I did some comparing of lemon curd recipes that were out there, including poring through all of my afternoon tea recipe books…only to find that they’re almost all a little different by degrees. So how to choose which one to try first? I wanted the most lemony punch I could get – how to figure out which one would give me that?

I started with my Tea at Fortnum & Mason recipe book that hasn’t let me down yet – and I ended up here as well using this version as my starting point. (Can I just recommend at this point you acquire your own version of this afternoon tea book?! It’s great for recipes and ideas for making your own teatime special.)

Of course, I cross-checked this one against other versions, but I think what had me going for this one (besides the fact that it’s F&M so it had to be good!), was the lemon zest. There are a number of lemon curd recipes out there that don’t ask for lemon zest at all, some that have just a small amount. But I mean I wanted tart, zingy, face-puckering lemony; so I went a little crazy with the zest, and got exactly what I wanted in flavor.

I would add at this point to not worry about the zest, or if a seed or two slips by and ends up in the mixture, or even if you neglect to watch the simmering water closely and you get a little scrambled egg in your mix – by the time you put your warm curd through the sieve, all of that is kept out of your end product, and you end up with a smooth, luscious – and yes tart! – curd.

Classic lemon curd

  • Servings: ca. 16 oz.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 150 ml. of lemon juice and zest (I had small lemons so it took 6-7 lemons for juice and zest. And yes, I zested all 7 lemons and added it all in to the mix with the juice!)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175 g. granulated sugar
  • 100 g. unsalted butter, straight from the fridge and cubed


Whether you use a bowl and heat it over a pot of simmering water, or an actual double boiler pan, put the lemon zest and juice, eggs and sugar in the one bowl/pan and whisk it together.

Once you’ve added the butter, place your bowl/pan over the simmering water (not boiling, just simmering).

Simply stir the mixture until it starts to thicken, and coats the back of a spoon. This should take about 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat, strain the mixture, then pour into whatever jars you plan to use to hold the curd. Let the curd cool before you close up the jars to refrigerate.

If you are a skilled canner, you may can via the usual canning process. Or, simply keep in in jars in the fridge for up to a couple of weeks. This recipe makes just a little less than 16 oz. (or two small canning jars).

There are so many ways one can enjoy lemon curd – on a scone, in between layers of a cake, swirled in a whipped cream topping, as filling for an éclair, and so on….or simply enjoy on your Sunday morning toast with a cup of tea. I hope you like this version of a classic lemon curd.

Happy teatime!

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