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A Lighter Lemon Curd

August 1, 2010

Homemade bolo with fresh lemon curd

I love lemon curd’s tangy flavor and velvety texture, but not its hefty fat and calorie content.  Traditional lemon curd recipes call for 4 or more egg yolks and nearly a stick of butter.  However, it’s possible to make a lighter fruit curd without sacrificing the luscious zing and voluptuous texture that make this spread so enticing.  By cutting back the butter, replacing some of the yolks with egg whites, boosting the amount of lemon zest to intensify the flavor, and whisking the mixture during cooking, this recipe produces an airy, creamy, palate-pleasing lemon curd that has less fat but full flavor (and none of the starch fillers or partially hydrogenated oils that lower calorie store-bought brands contain).  Lemon curd will never be a low calorie food, but a 1 Tbsp serving of this recipe contains about 50 calories, 2.6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, and 4.8 g carbohydrates.

I borrowed Elinor Klivans’ technique of creaming together the ingredients before cooking, to ensure that the egg doesn’t coagulate before the rest of the curd is cooked.  This eliminates the need to strain the cooked curd.

A Lighter Lemon Curd

2 Tbsp butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 whole eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (NOT bottled)

1 Tbsp lemon zest, grated or finely minced

Cream the butter into the sugar and then beat in the eggs.  Whisk in the lemon juice and zest.  Heat the mixture in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, or in a double boiler over boiling water.  Whisking constantly, cook for about 15 minutes, until the mixture thickens.  If you’re a numbers person, then the curd should reach 170 F; if you prefer spoon tests, then the curd should coat the back of a spoon and leave a clean trail when you drag your finger through it.

Pour the lemon curd into a bowl to cool, then scoop into a storage container and keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks or the freezer for up to 2 months.

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3 Comments
  1. August 1, 2010 11:56 pm

    That looks delicious!

  2. neysa permalink
    August 3, 2010 3:34 pm

    that was easy! and delicious! just made some for my mom’s upcoming birthday – she’s a lemon fiend. thanks much, melissa.

  3. August 3, 2010 4:50 pm

    So glad you tried it and liked it! And a very happy (and lemony) birthday to your mom.

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