Nigel Slater's lemon curd recipes | Food (2024)

Nigel Slater recipes

The best lemon curd is the colour of the sun and adds a sweet-sharp kick to pancakes, éclairs or a slice of toast. And despite its reputation, it's easy to make, too

Nigel Slater

Sun 7 Mar 2010 00.05 GMT

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The kitchen is chock-full of sensory pleasures. That pervasive, almost Christmas-time scent that accompanies a day spent marmalade making; the tray of freshly baked oatcakes that sends the smell of frugal bonhomie wafting through the house; the almost hallucinogenic fragrance of grinding a large quantity of cardamom for Danish pastries or a curry. On a particularly icy day last week, my kitchen came alive with the stinging hit of freshly grated lemons for a batch of lemon curd. One or two would have been pleasing enough, but when the whole kitchen is filled with the scent of grated citrus the effect is startling. Slightly steamy, warm and bitingly fresh – this was the perfect kitchen atmosphere for a winter's day.

Lemon curd, that gloriously sweet-sharp preserve – a little jar of sunshine – is so much better when made at home. Good though some of the commercial stuff is, and especially when made by artisan producers, it can never match the batch you make at home. The surprise for me is that, rather than the temperamental preserve I had been warned about, making lemon curd couldn't be more straightforward.

You will need a good sharp grater, one that allows you to use just enough pressure to remove only the lemons' outermost zest. Anything below the first fine layer of zest will be bitter rather than pleasantly sour and take your curd well beyond lip-puckering. The zest should be so fine as to be indefinable in the finished preserve – this isn't marmalade.

The lemon problem: do you rinse or scrub, wipe or just rub them on your apron? Most lemons are now sold with an edible wax coating. It is greasy to the touch and turns sticky when you rinse the fruit under the tap. It is there to keep the lemons on the shop shelves for longer in good condition. Unwaxed or organic lemons are sold at a premium because they have a shorter shelf life, but they don't add wax to your lemon mousse, soufflé or curd. Given the option, I tend not to buy those without a leaf or two attached. The leaves are the ultimate clue as to how long your fruit has been off the tree, but supermarkets remove them as a matter of course.

The shops are full of rock-hard lemons. If you can wait, leave them till they are soft enough to dent with your thumb. You will get much more juice. The warmer the fruit, the more juice they will give. I leave mine in the warmth of the kitchen, or put them in the bottom of the Aga for 10 minutes before I squeeze them. Failing that, a good firm rolling on the table with the palm of your hand will do the trick.

Flip through old cookery books, particularly those from the Victorian era, and you will find many a recipe for this deeply citrus butter. It seems we have always had a taste for it, but then we have every reason to. A jar of the canary-coloured spread in the fridge is a must for stuffing pancakes, filling éclairs, spreading on toasted teacakes and cheering up a baguette or floury white loaf. But it will go a lot further than that. This silky spread is just what you need for filling meringues and for stirring into thick, Greek-style yogurt and crushed Amaretti biscuits as an instant dessert.

A couple of quickies I should also mention: you can produce an instant syllabub by stirring an equal quantity into whipped cream and serving it with crisp almond biscuits. You can also win brownie points for serving it at Sunday breakfast – spoon the curd over tiny blinis straight from the pan and top with a curl of crème fraîche.


Most lemon curd recipes instruct you to stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. I find that stirring lightly with a whisk introduces just a little more lightness into the curd, making it slightly less solid and more wobbly.

Makes 2 small jam jars
zest and juice of 4 unwaxed lemons
200g sugar
100g butter
3 eggs and 1 egg yolk

Put the lemon zest and juice, the sugar and the butter, cut into cubes, into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the basin doesn't touch the water. Stir with a whisk from time to time until the butter has melted.

Mix the eggs and egg yolk lightly with a fork, then stir into the lemon mixture. Let the curd cook, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes, until it is thick and custard-like. It should feel heavy on the whisk.

Remove from the heat and stir occasionally as it cools. Pour into spotlessly clean jars and seal. It will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.


The ideal here is homemade meringues with a crisp outside and a chewy centre. Failing that, store-bought meringues will do, but the texture of the finished ice will be slightly less interesting.

Serves 6-8
500ml whipping or double cream
180g meringues
8 heaping tbsp lemon curd
grated zest of 1 orange

You will also need a cake tin or plastic freezer box approximately 24cm x 12cm x 7cm deep, lined loosely with kitchen film or waxed paper.

Pour the cream into a chilled mixing bowl and whisk until soft and thick. I always stop just short of the cream forming stiff peaks, so that it can just about hold its own shape.

Crumble the meringue nests into the cream. I think the texture of the finished parfait will be more interesting if the pieces range in size from coarse gravel to that of a piece of fudge. Add the lemon curd then grate in the orange zest (taking care not to include any white pith). Stir gently to incorporate the meringue, curd and zest into the cream. Try not to overmix.

Tip the mixture into the lined container, cover with a piece of kitchen film and put in the freezer until set. Depending on the temperature of your freezer, this will take about 4 hours. You can keep it frozen for several days, but you should remove it from the freezer a good 30 minutes or so before serving.

To serve, unmould the parfait and cut into thick, crumbly slices.

Email Nigel at or visit for all his recipes in one place


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Nigel Slater's lemon curd recipes | Food (2024)


What is lemon curd good with? ›

There are so many ways to eat lemon curd. You can use it to fill cakes, cupcakes, and crepes, or spread it on toast, muffins, crumpets, make lemon bars, lemon tart, etc.

Does Nigel Slater eat eggs? ›

But alas, there is no cheque large enough to tempt me to eat an egg. Whether boiled, scrambled, poached or fried, the egg has always been my culinary bête noir. I like my oeufs well and truly hidden.

Do people eat lemon curd on toast? ›

2. Or with toast, crumpets, muffins, pancakes… Anywhere you smear some butter and jam, ditch the jam and use lemon curd instead.

How long does lemon curd last? ›

This homemade lemon curd will last in your fridge for 1-2 weeks, but you can also freeze it! You guys know how I love freezing everything. In the freezer, the lemon curd will last at least a few months and the beautiful part is that it only hardens about as much as ice cream, so you can scoop it out as needed.

Do you refrigerate lemon curd? ›

In a covered, airtight container for up to one week. It doesn't really freeze well. Lemon curd does contain eggs and dairy (butter), so I'd be ok leaving it out for the day if I plan on serving it, but anything overnight definitely would need to be refrigerated.

What do you eat with Trader Joe's lemon curd? ›

Slather it on toast or stir it into yogurt. Drizzle it on pancakes, or ice cream, or cheesecake. If you want to get fancy, whip up some heavy cream and fold it into the Lemon Curd for an almost-effortless tart or layer cake filling worthy of a royal afternoon tea.

Who ate 50 boiled eggs? ›

The “nobody can eat 50 eggs” bet from Cool Hand Luke

In the 1967 film, Paul Newman eats 50 hard-boiled eggs in one hour, with fellow prisoners massaging his throat to get down the final few.

Who is the king of diet eggs? ›

Fernando Torraca, also known as The King of Diet on TikTok, revealed he eats 100 eggs a day. A ripped influencer has revealed that 400 eggs would only last him four days as he aims to eat up to 12 meals a day.

Why not to eat eggs in summer? ›

Apart from that, eggs are also rich in vitamin D and boost absorption of calcium. However, consuming more than two eggs in summers may hamper bowel movement and may also lead to excessive heat build up in the body leading to stomach issues, discomfort to name a few.

How do you eat Trader Joe's lemon curd? ›

Trader Joe's Lemon Curd – This stuff is heavenly…it's wonderful over pound cake or biscuits. I've also been known to eat it straight from the jar. If you like lemons…

Why does my lemon curd taste eggy? ›

Make sure you don't let the curd come to a boil at any point, and don't stop stirring at any point either, because that will lead to the eggs curdling, and the curd will taste like scrambled eggs.

What happens when you heat lemon curd? ›

Remember that curd will thicken more once cooled. If your cooled curd is not thick enough, you can reheat it to thicken. Put it over a low heat, stirring constantly. Ensure it coats the back of a spoon before taking it off the heat.

Why did my lemon curd turn green? ›

If your lemon curd turned green, it likely had a reaction to something metal. Avoid using a copper or aluminum pan as those will react with the lemon juice and cause the discoloration in the lemon curd, and could even cause a slightly metallic aftertaste.

Can I freeze leftover lemon curd? ›

Shelf Life: Prepared lemon curd can be frozen for up to 1 year without quality changes when thawed. To thaw, place container in a refrigerator at 40°F or lower for 24 hours before intended use. After thawing, consume within 4 weeks.

Can you freeze bought lemon curd? ›

CAN I FREEZE LEMON CURD? 🍋 🙌 Yes you can! Because of the sugar content, you shouldn't expect it to freeze solid though.

How long does lemon curd last in the fridge? ›

Store the curd: Lemon curd will keep in your refrigerator for up to a month according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. You can also store it in the freezer for up to 1 year. To thaw, transfer your curd from the freezer to the fridge 24 hours before you need it.

Can you eat raw lemon curd? ›

While perhaps not the preferred method, you can eat lemon curd by itself like I do (told you that I am now obsessed), you can spread it on toast like you would with apple butter or berry jam, you can bake it into pastries such as lemon bars or danishes, you can use it to make pies such as lemon meringue pie or you can ...

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