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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23 Responses to “meyer lemon almond cake”

  1. Jean — January 6, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

    Two of my favorite baking ingredients. I bet this is as delicious as it is beautiful. I can almost smell the almond paste… 🙂

  2. Aggie — January 6, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

    what a nice post to read through. I need to take your advice on writing out all of our already made plans on the calendar in ink (how about let’s just start by putting them on the so called calendar!) 🙂 I always say I want to get more calendar organized each year…such a work in progress for me…
    on to the cake. this is totally my kind of cake. I don’t bake often but I would totally bake this! I love the almond paste, and of course the meyer lemons!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 6th, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

      Thanks, Aggie. If I don’t do my calendar on Dec 31st or Jan 1st, it never gets done. It’s now an annual tradition that I really look forward to.

  3. Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef — January 6, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

    Do you hear me wailing up in CT that the weather is too harsh for Meyer lemons and I must pay a fortune for them at Balduccis?! I am so psyched to meet you at BHF!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 6th, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

      Kelsey – I am SO looking forward to meeting you, too!

  4. Brian @ A Thought For Food — January 6, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

    I have to get my hands on some meyer lemons. I haven’t had a single one this winter and I’m starting to feel a void.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 6th, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

      You should have visited me in Florida when you were here, silly. I would have shared!

  5. Heather (The Menu Mama) — January 6, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

    The cake looks fantastic, I really must try this one. My husband and I took a child-free trip to NYC this past October, it was heavenly. 🙂

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 6th, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

      Don’t you just love child-free trips? We try to do one or two each year.

  6. Lynn — January 6, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

    Sounds like you have great year planned. And than you for the lucious sounding cake. It’s going on my must bake list!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 6th, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

      Oh, you totally should. If you do, let me know how it turns out for you! You’ll notice that mine fell in the middle, but that’s the beauty of the glaze — no one will notice. 🙂

  7. Almond cakes are great because they are always so moist, and like pound cake they just get better with age. Meyer lemons and orange flower water must make this cake so fragrant!

  8. Barbara @ Vino Luci Style — January 7, 2011 @ 10:26 am

    You are making my attempts to cut back on sweets hard; this cake is so up my alley! I think I know what I’m going to make for the next Denver area blogger Meetup at my home; I am getting a box of Meyer Lemons delivered any day now and this cake just needs to be made. Lemons and almond; I’m not sure I’ve ever combined the two and can’t wait!

  9. Lori @ Lemons and Lavender — January 7, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

    I love lemons, especially the Meyer variety, and a friend has three backyard trees exploding with the little gems. So glad I’m not one for making New Years Resolutions!! Looking forward to trying your version of this cake!

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  11. This cake sounds wonderful. I made something similar recently with marzipan and orange. Can’t wait to try this version.

  12. Gail — January 8, 2011 @ 11:53 am

    Meyer lemons are such a wonderful treat. Beautiful cake, MJ!

  13. briarrose — January 9, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

    Delicious. Almond and lemon is such a lovely mix. The scent of this baking must be heavenly.

  14. foodies at home — January 9, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

    This looks like the perfect way to get back into the swing of things! Have fun at your blogging conferences!

  15. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — January 11, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    This cake looks absolutely amazing!!

  16. Lucy — January 11, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

    This post has encouraged me to forget about the holidays being over and truly look forward to all the exciting things 2011 will bring! Almond and lemon are two of my favourite flavours so this cake just looks totally gorgeous to me 🙂

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