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.