a sweet treat: how to make meyer lemon curd

Early last summer, or maybe it was late in the spring, I bought a potted Meyer lemon tree. The kids were excited about watching our very own lemons grow. In fact, they drove me crazy for the first week we had the plant. “Are there lemons yet? When will the lemons grow?” Of course, I had the same questions, but with 30-something more years of patience than Maddie and Oliver, I was content to wait.

We watched that little tree grow a tiny bit bigger, sprout beautiful white flowers, and then, after a while, we were rewarded with baby green lemons. By the time the baby lemons appeared, the kids had lost interest but I was enchanted with this little tree. I felt like a child checking the stockings in the days leading up to Christmas to see if by chance, by some remote chance, Santa decided to come early. I checked on my little lemon tree almost daily. I felt each lemon, counted them, and guarded those eight little babies carefully. And of course I watered the tree, and it got lots of sun on my patio.

Before we knew it, we had Meyer lemons. Real Meyer lemons, grown in our own backyard. Eight of them.

That’s it. Just eight.

So what does one do with eight Meyer lemons? I asked this question on Twitter and Facebook and the most popular answer was lemon curd.  I’ve never had lemon curd, but I love lemon tarts and lemon bars. So, lemon curd it was.

I’m not sure there is an easier thing to make than lemon curd. You’ll need a candy thermometer or other instant-read thermometer, but that’s about as high tech as the recipe gets. Lemons, butter, sugar, and eggs…what could be simpler?

The Meyer lemon curd tasted just like the filling of a lemon tart, sweet and bright with just the right amount of tartness. The curd is a great topping for warm biscuits or scones, a cheesecake (and if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll see a post about this in the very near future!), or a filling for a tart. And it’s really good just eaten out of the container with a spoon.

But I would never do such a thing. *wink*

Meyer Lemon Curd

From Gourmet, December 1999. Just a note: When I made this, I only needed two Meyer lemons to get the amount of juice & zest the recipe calls for. I would suggest having 3 or 4 on hand, and be happy if you have a couple left over at the end.


3 to 4 Meyer lemons
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces


Finely grate enough zest from lemons to measure 2 teaspoons and squeeze enough juice to measure 1/2 cup. Whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a metal bowl and add butter. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, whisking, until thickened and smooth and an instant-read thermometer (or a candy thermometer) registers 160°F, about 5 minutes. Force curd through a fine sieve or mesh strainer set into another bowl.

Cover surface of lemon curd completely with wax paper and cool completely; keeps covered & chilled for about 1 week.

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22 Responses to “wishing for spring, and a citrus tart”

  1. Aw MJ – Oliver is too funny! What luck for you that your spring is so close – even though an “early spring” is predicted, it’s FREEZING up here.. Your story and citrus tart made me feel a little bit warmer this afternoon. Thank you. Also, please send a slice of that up north here…

  2. PS: “Because it is not” = best answer ever!! (perhaps not for Oliver…)

  3. Brian (A Thought For Food) — February 3, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

    I get that way this time of year as well. I’m tired of the bitter, cold days. I’m ready for sunshine and long days relaxing outside. But, for now, this beautiful citrus cake will have to do

  4. Macaroni Mama — February 3, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

    I love this. I want to haruuumph! and say, “Why can’t it be spring or summer!”

  5. Gail — February 3, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

    You told this story so perfectly, MJ. Love it.
    And, the tart ain’t bad looking, either.

  6. DessertForTwo — February 3, 2013 @ 11:15 pm

    How beautiful. The white tart is gorgeous!

    Hooray for spring! 🙂

  7. Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — February 4, 2013 @ 8:18 am

    Such a gorgeous tart, Merry! But, your answer was perfect and sounds so much like something I would say, too! 🙂

  8. Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — February 4, 2013 @ 10:52 am

    I’m with Oliver – “Why can’t it be summer?” Cold weather makes me uncomfortable and irritable. I’m ready for warm sunshine on my face! Maybe I’ll make your citrus tart and dream of warmer days 🙂

  9. Paula — February 4, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

    I’m with Oliver, *why can’t it just be Summer already* Beautiful tart 🙂

  10. Ina — February 4, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

    Tarts are one of my all time favorites. Thank you for the recipe!

  11. Mallory — February 4, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

    I am just like your youngster…can it be spring already? He definitely isn’t the only one wishin’ and a hopin’!
    Love the tart…love citrus desserts!

  12. Kathryn — February 5, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

    I know exactly how he feels!

  13. Rachel @ Bakerita — February 6, 2013 @ 2:16 am

    Wow – this looks so good! And I totally agree with your son – it needs to be summer ASAP!

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  15. Katie — February 10, 2013 @ 12:35 am

    Oh MJ… what a great story. I’m right there with Oliver–I wish it was summer already. This citrus tart just screams summer in Florida!

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  17. Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily — February 13, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

    My mouth is watering just thinking about tasting this. Lemon pie is one of my favorite treats in the world. I will most definately have to make this tart!

  18. Cheryl Arkison — February 14, 2013 @ 10:37 am

    Send him up here!

  19. Elizabeth — February 16, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

    This is the most beautiful lemon tart I’ve ever seen. I love the shortbread crust (which seems to have not crumbled at all), and adore the vivid color. Just lovely.

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  21. Saee Khandekar — March 8, 2013 @ 9:27 am

    This is totally my kind of tart–I can taste the sharp, citrusy flavors in there!

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