Mom’s Lemon Butter – English Lemon Curd

It was raining out this morning–the kind of rain that implores you to crawl back into bed, pull up the covers, and forget that you ever ventured out. I was the only one awake; even our two dogs were passed out on the floor. I knew I needed something cheery this morning, and so I mixed up some fresh biscuits and opened the lemon curd I made yesterday afternoon.

When I was younger I was wary of any food that was labeled as a “curd”. It’s a shame, really, that it took me so long to grow up and realize how amazing curds really are. With how delicious they are can come a hefty price tag, so a few months ago I found a recipe for lemon curd online that you make in the microwave. I was craving something light and lemony in the morning and knew that a curd would fit the bill but didn’t feel like shelling out a few bucks for some when lemons were on sale the next aisle over. I was thrilled to make this recipe and although it tasted delicious it left me a little sad. The consistency wasn’t there, no matter how long I microwaved it. It wasn’t the thick and creamy lemon curd that I was really craving, so I shelved my ideas of a homemade curd. But then my mom let me see my Omie’s cookbook. And while I was flipping through I found my great-grandmother’s recipe for lemon curd.

lemon curd1

This is it, you guys. This is exactly what I was craving a few months ago. I was amazed (shocked!) how easily it cooked up over a double boiler. I jarred it and left it in the refrigerator overnight, and this morning it was smooth, creamy, lemony, and a gorgeous yellow–exactly what lemon curd should be.

Mom’s Lemon Butter
1 1/2 T butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice–freshly squeezed
grated rind of one lemon
3 eggs, well beaten
*use yellow food coloring if necessary to achieve the desired color

Cut butter into sugar and add rind, juice and beaten eggs. Mix well and cook in double boiler until thick and then chill. This will keep in covered jars in the refrigerator indefinitely if processed with sealed lids (can have paraffin wax seal). Otherwise you need to eat it within two weeks. It’ll be no problem.

I was getting skeptical about the curd thickening up when I’d had it on the stove for about eight minutes when all of a sudden it became thick. I was shocked at how quickly it happened, and next time I’ll definitely be watching for it. Crank your stove up to high heat, let the water boil, and you’ll be pleased at how quickly this process happens. Once it started to thicken I kept it on the heat and stirred it for about a minute and a half more, just to make sure it was getting really thick. It should coat the back of a spoon and give you enough to try. Just don’t burn your mouth. A warning: if you don’t beat your eggs enough before you make the curd you may end up with little chunks of cooked egg in it. If this happens just strain the curd through a cheesecloth before it cools. You can also do this if you don’t like the texture of the zest.

I definitely won’t judge you if you opt to eat this straight from the jar without putting it on anything. But if you get serious biscuit cravings like I do–they come out of nowhere!–then it helps to have homemade biscuit mix in the pantry at all time. This recipe came from the column “Hints from Heloise” from the Fayette County Record, and I always have some on hand.

Dry Biscuit Mix
8 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking powder
2 t salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup shortening

Mix all dry ingredients together and cup in the shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Store in a well-sealed container in the pantry or refrigerator.

To make biscuits use 1/3 cup milk and 1 cup mix. Stir together, cut into desired biscuit shape, and bake at 450 for 13-16 minutes. I’ve found that making this amount will make two nice sized biscuits. Feel free to double or triple this as needed.

I don’t knead the biscuits when I make them. Instead, once it’s all mixed together, I flatten the dough into a rectangle and fold it over on itself. I’ll do this a number of times, this way ensuring that my biscuit will be fluffy, with lots of layers.

lemon curd

With a jar of lemon sunshine in your fridge and quick biscuits in the pantry you can defeat a dreary rainy day at a moment’s notice.

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