January 13, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday Recipe: Eunice’s English Lemon Curd

Last Wednesday’s introduction of a weekly recipe post was met with great enthusiasm, and I must extend a very big thank you to everyone who left comments on my Welsh Rarebit recipe (like some of you, I always thought the word “rarebit” sounded like “rabbit” as a child, luckily this dish is 100% bunny-free though, I assure you! :D). I can scarcely begin to tell you how elated I am to be sharing some of my favourite recipes with you all, and how much I’m looking forward to celebrating the art and fun that is cooking together.

Eunice’s English Lemon Curd

For a period of my childhood I was fortunate enough to live in a delightfully old house (built in 1909, to be exact), on a small, sleepy street that teamed with elderly neighbours. Some of them had lived in their respective houses for decades upon decades, but Eunice was not one of them. I really can’t recall how long she’d lived in the tiny creamy beige hued house directly across the street from us, but I don’t think it had been more than a couple of decades.

An English immigrant, she and her husband had come to Canada somewhat later in life and eventually settled on the very same street where I lived for a spell. Enchanted with all things British as a child and charmed by Eunice’s kind, spunky attitude, we quickly became friends.

If there was one thing I liked almost as much as listening to Eunice’s tales of life in England during the war years, it was when she would stop by and treat our family to a jar or two of her sublimely delicious lemon curd. In fact, it was this darling elderly English woman who provided me with my very first taste of the creamy, tart, sweet, immensely addictive spread that is lemon curd.

You can imagine my delight then when one day Eunice stopped round to ask if my little brother and I would like to help her whip up a new batch. With eyes wide as the saucer she rested her mixing spoon on, I stared intensely as Eunice turned a small handful of everyday ingredients into one of the tastiest substances my young pallet had thus far enjoyed.

I’ve always treasured times when I’ve been able to learn recipe’s firsthand from other cooks and loved that I was able to come away from that day not only with a very fond memory, but also with Eunice’s recipe for lemon curd. Whether it was one she perfected herself or sourced from someone else, I really do not know.

Over time I’ve tweaked little about her version – save for occasionally replacing the lemon juice with that of another fruit such as limes (you may want to add even slightly more sugar if you go this route), mangoes, or blood oranges. The ingredients are just as Eunice stipulated, though the instructions are in my own wording.

{This beautiful old fashioned fruit crate label calls to mind the sort I like to imagine the containers of lemons Eunice brought home (when she was a young homemaker) being adorned with. Image via Vintage Holiday Crafts.}

To my mind lemon curd finds its most perfect mate with a piece just prepared toast, the refreshing, tangy coolness of the curd marrying harmoniously with the soothing warmth of the bread. This spread however, works well on a multitude of other baked goods, too, from English muffins (naturally) to scones, blueberry or poppy seed muffins to biscotti (in the case of the latter, use the curd as a dip for these crisp Italian cookies).

It can also be employed with equal success as a filling (think cakes, trifles, cupcakes, doughnuts, cheesecakes and tarts – to name but a few possible uses) or thinned out a tad and drizzled over everything from pound cake to French toast, Greek yogurt to ice cream (it marries particularly well with berry flavoured frozen desserts).

If you’ve never treated yourself to lemon curd before, I can scarcely begin to tell you what you’ve been missing. If you like custards, lemon and/or jam, there’s a very high chance you’ll fall, just as I first did as youngster, head-over-heels for lemon curd and soon yourself mixing up batches to give away to your friends and neighbours, just as Eunice used to love to do.


• 3 large lemons (if you can get Meyer lemons, all the better, they have such a beautiful, gentle flavour)

• 4 extra large eggs

• ¼ cup unsalted butter (allow to come to room temperature before using)

• 1 ½ cups white sugar

• ½ cup lemon juice (this equates to the juice of about 3 to 5 lemons, depending on their size)

• Small pinch of fine sea salt


Notes: While it may not actually make too much of a difference, I like to have all of the fruit and fruit juice I’m going to use in this recipe at room temperature before beginning.

Start by washing and drying the lemons thoroughly, then with a citrus zester or vegetable peeler, zest (remove in strips) all of the peel (try to avoid hitting the bitter white pith that lies between the peel and the fruit’s flesh). Chop the zest very finely by hand or in a food processor. In a mixing bowl (or in the food processor) combine the lemon zest with the sugar and mix (or pulse) well.

In a separate bowl, cream the unsalted butter well with a wood spoon, then add in the lemon and sugar mixture, stirring to combine. Next introduce the eggs one by one, beating well after each inclusion. Once all four of the eggs have been added, stir in the lemon juice and salt; stir until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

To a non-reactive, heavy bottom saucepan (stainless steel is terrific here) that holds at least 2 litres (2 quarts) add the raw lemon curd mixture and cook over low (or even extra low, if your stovetop/cooker gets especially warm) heat (while a gentle simmer is all right, do not let the mixture come anywhere near a bubbling boil). I personally feel that you cannot mix lemon curd too much (the last thing you want is for pieces of cooked egg to start forming!), and recommend that you stir the mixture almost constantly until it has begun to thicken (this usually takes about 9 to 12 minutes in my experience).

To gage the consistency of the lemon curd, coat the back of a mixing spoon (give it a moment to cool down) and run your finger (or the handle of another spoon) through the mixture. If in doing so you leave a clean line with distinct “sides” flanking where the line appears, your mixture has most likely reached the right consistency.

Remove the lemon curd from the heat and pour into a medium sized stainless steel, ceramic or heat-safe glass bowl. Immediately place a layer of plastic wrap (cling film) on top of the lemon curd to prevent a film (skin) from forming as it cools.
Use warm (I dare you not to savour a spoonful straight!) or put the lemon curd into the refrigerator and store (covered) for up to one week. Lemon curd also freezes very well and stored in its frozen state for up to one year.

Makes approximately 3 cups of scrumptious, buttercup yellow lemon curd.

Bon appétit!


  1. I never ever tasted lemon curd before. Is it nice? Well, ofcourse you think so, reading your recipe. It sounds yummy. I think I am going to try it some day.

    Oh by the way, I didn't have the chance yet to wish you a wonderful new year. I hope 2010 will be filled with beauty,good health and lots of love for you. I'm glad we 'met' last year!

  2. I would walk over HOT coals for real lemon curd. AND I found a stunningly easy recipie for making it easily in the microwave! Yes, not so correct but dont tell anyone else ~ The last batch I made, I ate the lot out of the three jars of it I made like custard over the next few days! Like an addict, I could not stop myself. Thankfully no-one else in my house likes lemon curd!! (Seriously guilty pleasure)
    This is just between you and me....lol!
    Irene x

  3. Ooh I love learning new recipes and this one sounds delightful. I have never had lemon curd, but I am eager to try it out. It sounds so yummy!

    Thanks sweetie for passing along this wonderful recipe. I will let you know how it all comes out. :)



  4. I am making a lemon mousse tonight, and the recipe calls for jarred lemon curd, but maybe I will make it from scratch!

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

  5. This sounds absolutely delicious, I love anything lemony. I will definitely try this out!

  6. This sounds so yummy. Thanks for adding a new feature to your blog! I'm sure we'll all benefit.

  7. We just LOVE lemon round this house, so I'm excited to try Eunice's recipe (I enjoyed the story of Eunice SO much, by the way). xoxo

  8. I make a lemon berry trifle that has lemon curd in it and it's DIVINE!!! I need to whipe up a batch of this to use on some scones. Wonderful recipe! Thank you for sharing :) I so enjoyed the story of Eunice.


  9. What a perfect thing to make me think of Spring! I can't remember what I used...some strange berry from the Farmers Market two years ago...but I made a curd and have been in love with them ever since!

    Thanks for this!

  10. Mmmm how I love lemon curd - I spent many a childhood afternoon when my mam was baking eating lemon curd straight from the jar and licking the spoon ever so clean. I've never however tried making or tasted home made lemon curd so i'm going to definitely give it a whirl when I become the mistress of my own kitchen!

    You can't beat a lemon tart!

  11. Hi Jessica,

    Sorry I've been so scarce...life is crazy! What a wonderful post and I am always delighted every time I visit with you and your amazing writing style.

    I have never had lemon curd, it sounds divine! Thank you for the recipe...I can't wait to give it a try!!

    Love and hugs to you Sweet Friend,

  12. Excellent childhood memory story, and I just love lemony things! :)

    This is going to sound extraordinarily stupid, but using 4 eggs....it doesn't taste egg-y, does it? (obviously I've never had a "curd" of any kind before!)

  13. Thank you for sharing, sweet lady. It really sounds absolutely delish! Have a whimsical Thursday, my dear.


  14. Ooooh, I fell in love with lemon curd during a visit to my friend in New Zealand. Her parents were English and had jars of homemade lemon curd ready & waiting in the fridge. I have yet to actually make my own, so I'll definitely bookmark this recipe for future use!

  15. Aw, I love your story about Eunice and having someone show you how to make recipe, it makes the treat that comes out in the end taste that much sweeter if warm memories are associated with it. I must now buy some lemons.
    xo, Jennifer

  16. Thanks so much for sharing another yummy recipe. Eunice sounds like a really cool lady.
    I love lemony things, this sounds so good.
    Hehe, and yes I was very glad to see that your recipe from last week, the Welsh rarebit, was bunny free ;)
    Hope you've been having a lovely week! :)

  17. aww jess this post put a big smile on my face, i must have been to young to partake in the curd making, but this sounds like such a nice memory, i dont really remember what Eunice was like but i do remember all the nice stories ive heard about her, i remember maria a bit though and how the side of her house had that kind of coloured rock that you could pick off..
    love you!

  18. Amazing that you should post about this right now, Jessica. I had just bought Meyer lemons which I did not know about before but which are absolute heaven. Been using them on everything! And will definitely try them in lemon curd! xoxo

  19. Happy Friday greetings, everyone, thank you so much for your awesome comments. I love reading your feedback on the recipes I've started sharing here on Chronically Vintage and look forward to sharing scores more recipes with you in the coming week.

    Wishing each of you a marvelous, relaxing, beautiful weekend!
    ♥ Jessica

  20. I came across your blog whilst searching for Eunice English. I have a wool stall in Worksop which is in Nottinghamshire (England) and just before Christmas a lady by this name bought some wool and introduced herself. She was with another elderly lady who I assumed was her mother.She took a photograph of me and said she would post it on her blog. She gave me the address of her blog (I was surprised that a lady of her age would have a blog) and then she left. Unfortunately the blog address was corrupted and I wasn't able to get in touch. I have been trying to track her down ever since. Do you think that this could be the same lady or is it just a coincidence? Kindest Regards Paula x My blog is www.needlecraftcorner.blogspot.com

  21. I was searching for how to tell if a curd has reached the correct consistency and came across your blog. You have the perfect explanation and it helped immensely.
    Thank you.
    I read you love everything from the 30's, 40's and 50's and thought "that's me". LOL

    1. Hi there, I'm really happy to that this post helped answer your question (it's a good one for sure, if you're new to curd making). I'm sure Eunice (the woman I got this recipe from) would have been happy to help, too, she was always there to lend a hand or show someone how to do something in our neighbourhood.

      Happy cooking, my fellow 30s-50s fan! :)
      ♥ Jessica