Improved Lemon Curd

Did you know that there is no such a thing as a Meyer lemon anymore? Well, at least not as we know them. Officially, they haven’t existed for about fifty years, when a virus attacked the Meyer lemon trees and they were banned in the United States.


Then in 1975, a new, “Improved” Meyer lemon tree was released that was virus-free, and people began planting them in backyards in America. And in Paris apartments, too. (More on that, later…)

squeezing lemons butter

Some think that the now-extinct Meyer lemons, and the new, Improved Meyer lemons, are a hybrid between oranges and lemons. But I’ve been told by my produce guru that no one is certain as to what the heck they are, exactly.

lemon curd and bread yolks & butter

Because they are relatively fragile, these delicate citrus fruits don’t ship well. You have to know someone with a tree, as they’re usually not easily-found, commercially.

Yet I scored when a friend arrived in Paris, claiming to have not one—but two Improved Meyer lemons for me. I thought about making a small batch of sorbet or ice cream, but then realized that since there wouldn’t be all that much juice from my two brilliant-yellow beauties, I wanted to extend it as much as possible.

whisking butter & yolks stirring lemon curd

And Improved Meyer lemon juice is sweeter than standard Eureka lemon juice, and the small amount might get lost in another dessert. So I decided to make a batch of creamy, tangy Improved lemon curd.

straining lemon curd straining lemon curd

If you’ve never made, or tasted, lemon curd, you’re in for a treat. In spite of its slightly off-putting name, it’s made somewhat like a custard, but you can cook it directly on the stovetop, without tempering the eggs. It takes a few minutes of constantly stirring with a whisk over modest heat. Then, in about three or four minutes, right before your eyes, the mixture will magically thicken into silky, rich lemon curd.

lemon curd

When I was all done, I saved the Improved Meyer lemon seeds and was hoping to germinate them in my apartment to create my own little citronneraie. I didn’t know if they would sprout, but followed some advice I found online; namely to sandwich them between a damp paper towel for a few weeks until they sprout. Unfortunately, after a couple of days, I noticed things inside looked a little dark. So I unfolded the essuie-tout and found the each seed covered with an unpleasant-looking…shall we say—growth, on the outside. (Hint: It wasn’t a lemon tree sprout.)

lemon seeds

So I guess I won’t be whipping up any more Improved Meyer lemon curd anytime in the future, unless I find an Improved Meyer lemon tree somewhere in Paris. But that’s probably not going to happen, unless someone with a bit more pluck than me at cultivating citrus takes on the task.

Am not sure what they’d call them here as the word for ‘improve’ in French is améliorer. In English, ‘amelioration’ means to add more sugar. And since these lemons are sweeter than standard lemons, that would be a French paradox. And we certainly don’t need any more of those around here.

lemon curd and toast

Lemon Curd

Makes 1 cup (240 g)

Here, I use a slightly dare-devil method for making curd by heating everything together over direct heat. If you’re feeling unsure, instead of increasing the heat in step #4, keep the heat very low, or cook the curd in a double-boiler; a bowl nested over a saucepan of simmering water.

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup (65 g) sugar (or 1/2 cup, 100 g, if using regular lemons)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, cubed

1. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl, and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt.

3. Add the butter cubes and set the pan over low heat, whisking constantly until the butter is melted.

4. Increase the heat and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to become jelly-like. It’s done when you lift the whisk and the mixture holds its shape when it falls back into the saucepan from the whisk.

5. Immediately press the curd through the strainer. Once strained, store the lemon curd in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to one week.

Serving: Lemon curd is wonderful spread on toast or crumpets. It can also be used as a cake filling and you can make a tangy lemon cream to serve alongside gingerbread by folding in an equal amount of whipped cream.

Related Links and Recipes

Lemon Tart

Lime Meringue Tart

French Tart Dough Recipe


Improved Meyer Lemons (University of California)

Ortho’s Citrus Guide (Amazon)

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

Citrus by Lance Walheim (Amazon)

Blood Orange Sorbet

Improved Meyer Lemons (Available online, from Melissa’s)

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  • Avi
    December 16, 2009 12:54pm

    Ameliorate means to improve in English too…( Unless there’s some sort of joke up there I’m missing…
    Anyway, I’ve been wanting to make lemon curd, but thought the process was more complex. This looks easy. I can’t wait to try it.

  • December 16, 2009 1:01pm

    Avi: I was waiting for that one! It’s a term used in winemaking, which means adjusting sugar and/or acid content to improve quality of finished wine.

    It’s also a term used in making candied fruit, which refers to the sugar being absorbed into the fruit. (Which is why candied fruit doesn’t fall apart.)

  • December 16, 2009 1:04pm

    You certainly don’t need any more French paradoxes in your life! I didn’t know that ameliorer means to add more sugar….

    That lemon curd looks delightful! I have never had the pleasure of tasting a Meyer lemon, but I’d love to try my hand at growing an indoor tree….I have some kumquat seeds drying in my kitchen to plant. Maybe I’ll grow a whole indoor citrus orchard!

  • December 16, 2009 1:18pm

    Mmmm. But I prefer my curd in pastry, not on toast. To be honest, I’ve never really understood the custard on toast concept. Even with the kaya I recently made, it seemed better straight off a spoon than on toast. That being said, I would take lemon curd, improved or not, anyway I could.

  • December 16, 2009 1:20pm

    I had no idea a meyer lemon didn’t exist anymore. The only time I’ve ever had lemon or lime curd was from a store (American Spoon Fruit). I’d love to try, and I think I’d prefer lime. :)

  • December 16, 2009 1:28pm

    I made once lemon curd and it was really runny and it was used in a tart and when i sliced the tart it was like a small pond and i gave up.
    This looks thick, iam sure gonna try this recipe.

  • December 16, 2009 1:28pm

    I made once lemon curd and it was really runny and it was used in a tart and when i sliced the tart it was like a small pond and i gave up.
    This looks thick, iam sure gonna try this recipe.

  • Amelia
    December 16, 2009 1:29pm

    I am sitting here eating cold cereal and drooling at that toasted BREAD–looks absolutely incredible! Did you make it?

  • December 16, 2009 1:33pm

    I’m lucky enough to live a stone’s throw from a relative who has several very prolific bushes. They bear virtually year-round, so she’s never without lemons; and more often than not she’s eager to get rid of some of her bounty. Meyers are my favorite for making lemon curd–or any other lemon dessert, really. If you’re looking for another dessert in which the flavor shines, lemon pudding cake is a family favorite.

    By the way, I save my seeds for jelly-making. They’re packed full of pectin!

  • December 16, 2009 1:38pm

    Ah, you daredevil! I made lemon curd once before when I first starting to cook/bake and even with the double-boiler managed to curdle it :( I think I’ll try this version with more patience and diligence.

  • lona
    December 16, 2009 1:39pm

    Plant your Improved Meyer Lemon seeds directly in good potting soil, water well and keep at room temp. I’ve had grapefruit seeds sprout in the garden, mystery guests from the compost pile. As for the paper towel, would you want to grow between industrial paper towel in a plastic bag? (Only if you are mold)

  • December 16, 2009 1:44pm


    if you want to email me I can send you some more (seeds at least) since we now have two meyer lemon trees. Well, one is ours, but our neighbors is so prolific and overhangs our yard so much that we get over 100 lemons a year from it easily. Ours is new and this year is the first serious year – last year we got three – this year about 20 or so.

    Or when you are back in the Bay Area I can arrange for Sam B to get some to hand over to you if you see her.

  • December 16, 2009 1:51pm

    ou la la. everything is better with lemon curd. i was so hoping the germination would work!

  • December 16, 2009 2:12pm

    You lemon curd looks delightful and wonderfully versatile for desserts, spreading on breads or just eating straight from the jar. I have a few meyer lemons from my recent visit in California and will put them to good use.

    I wish I could send you a meyer lemon tree! I know there are regulations against bringing non-native plants into the EU. When I was living in the bay area I had three improved meyer lemon trees (two that were started from its parent plant) that were prolific and gave me ripe fruits all year long. Even though your lemons seeds went to mush, I hate to tell you that it was unlikely to achieve a fruit bearing meyer tree from seed, especially from a fruit that is a hybrid (complex heritage/genes). It’s a mixed bag, you can get fruit that is similar to the meyer or one that may not resemble its parent at all. Also it could have taken perhaps 4-10 years before the sprouting the lemon tree would reach a stage of maturity to bear any fruit, so you may be disappointed to find that out after half a decade of giving so much love and care for the plant that the fruit was potentially inedible.

    Most meyer lemon trees are typically achieved by grafting a stem cutting onto another citrus root stock. In the past, I’ve successfully cut off a young stem dipped it in a gel root hormone and stuck it into soil to find it root! It truly feels like a miracle when you find 1 plant that will take root, while the other 5 just die off. They are wonderful houseplants that do not take a lot of room with fragrant blossoms, which will produce the same fruit as its parents. If you are looking to start one in Paris, I suggest that the next time you are in the bay area have some gel root hormone($10) and soil ready in a gallon-sized plastic bag. Contact me and you can cut off as many stems as you would like from my old trees. My kind neighbors are taking care of them, they have one tree that produces 200 sweet juicy fruits in a year, and I know you’ll want a copy of that one!

  • December 16, 2009 2:23pm

    Thanks for the recipe, I bought a box of Organic Meyer Lemons from a small orchard in CA and I made some preserved lemons and some lemon marmalade. My next recipe was going to be lemon curd and I was just going to start searching for a recipe. I can’t wait to make this – MMMM. With those farm fresh eggs I get it should be wonderful!

    I’m hoping to buy a meyer lemon tree for my house soon, as well as a mexican lime.

  • December 16, 2009 2:32pm

    I’m pretty sure we won’t find any meyer lemon in Paris, I feel so frustated when it’s the season and all american bloggers talk about its wonderful taste… But maybe it’s possible to find a small plant (like, something bigger than a seed)??? At home, we have lemons and oranges with our trees (yes, in the Parisian region), so why not a meyer lemon tree??

  • December 16, 2009 2:32pm

    I just recently got my hands on some Meyer lemons from a relative’s trees – after growing up on the West Coast where Meyer’s are more common at the grocery stores than Eurekas I can’t even put into words how excited I was to get some again. I didn’t even think about making curd! Instead I tried out a shaker Meyer lemon pie. I’m waiting on them to finish macerating right now to put in the pastry crust.

  • elena
    December 16, 2009 3:13pm

    This year I have discovered Meyer lemons and I think they are so delicious and delicate. I visited a friend in Berkley and while there I had the feeling that I was in the lemon town…so many lemon trees and so many Meyer lemon trees :).
    I live in Romania where there are no Meyer lemons and where not many people know what they are. So, when a friend returned last weekend from California I have asked for Meyer lemons and I have received quite many…the first thing to do with them was Meyer lemon curd … one of the most delicious things to make out of lemons…besides toast or just eaten plain out of the jar, I find it very delicious on cinnamon cookies (pepparkakor)…heavenly delicious :)

  • December 16, 2009 3:13pm

    oh lovely! i just made that miraculous tart shell for the first time ever and now here is an easy recipe for lemon curd to go with it.

    i really love what you said about folding the lemon curd in whipped cream and serving it with gingerbread. that’s a must try too.

  • Alanna Kellogg
    December 16, 2009 3:42pm

    I long ago dispensed with a double boiler for making lemon curd, just isn’t needed. You’ve missed the number one way to enjoy lemon curd: straight from the jar, tiny spoon by tiny spoon, usually just before bed.

    Lovely light in your photos, David.

  • December 16, 2009 3:43pm

    I love lemon curd!! Ever since I found the first jar of lemon curd I am hooked. It is not something that is easily found in the netherlands but recently it has become better available, but I have always wanted to try it out myself and now I have the recipe to do just that. It’s unlikely I will find meyer lemons so I will have to stick with regular!

  • MarkH
    December 16, 2009 4:24pm

    Next time you make Improved Lemon Curd (or even the un-improved kind), try something courtesy of Suzanne Goin (of Lucques and several other restaurants in Los Angeles). Put a thin coating of dark chocolate on the top surface of the cooked tart shell, let it cool (or dry), then cover with the curd. I think she calls it Jessica’s Lemon Tart, after her sister who apparently demands it regularly at family dinners. It’s a very subtle, but fantastic addition. (I’m pretty sure the recipe is in Suzanne’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques.)

  • Susan
    December 16, 2009 5:03pm

    This technique is different, but the Sabayon recipe from Thos. Keller/Bouchon is almost the same, except it uses 3/4 cup of sugar. He has you add the lemon juice in separate additions over a double boiler, while whisking your arms numb. I used fresh Eureka lemons from a neighbor and even with all that sugar, it was so tart I could barely get passed the first taste for the mouth closing pucker those lemons produced! Yikes! Why are the techniques so different for what seems basically the same product?

  • December 16, 2009 5:21pm

    i love the picture of the big, yellow, eggs yolks. Looks like a lovely spread for some toasty fresh bread!

  • mizj
    December 16, 2009 7:05pm

    this is my first comment here, altho I read the blog all the time. love it.
    .I live in the Sonoma valley, and in my neighborhood all the lemon trees are Meyers’. mine is in a wine barrel and produces lemon all year.
    another way I use them is for Limoncello.. the Best!!
    thanks for all the great recipes and stories.

  • December 16, 2009 7:07pm

    I so love lemon curd! I have a recipe that came from a cookbook of my grandmother’s and of all my preserving efforts, there’s not much that makes me happier than the beauty of lemon curd! On fresh gingerbread there is nothing better!
    I planted an Improved Dwarf Meyer Lemon two springs ago. This year (hopefully!) should be the start of good fruiting from the tree. It seems to be doing pretty well and I’m really crossing my fingers for good results this year. Between the curd and the preserved lemons you posted a few weeks back there will be no lack of good use to put them to!

    When I started paying $.75 a pop for lemons in SoCal (for lemons! in a place where citrus is supposedly plentiful!) I finally broke down and decided to grow my own!

  • December 16, 2009 7:08pm

    I live in Fairbanks, Alaska and order Meyer Lemons from a wonderful lady in California. I have probably ordered 6 times and they always arrive in great shape and smell wonderful. You can find them at:
    Our mail service can take a really long time and it is often 40 below when I order them. I love making lemon curd and my favorite recipe is the Luscious Lemon Bars from Alpineberry.

  • jenna meyer
    December 16, 2009 7:25pm

    Alemeny Farmers Market (in SF) has them 6 for $1 right now!
    I just finished 12 pints of curd for holiday gifts. I now have 48 egg whites sitting around waiting to be made into macarons–thanks for your constant inspiration.

  • mixette
    December 16, 2009 8:21pm

    Jessica’s Tart from Sunday Suppers at Lucques is one of my all-time favorites. Thought of it immediately when I saw your post! I love making lemon curd – it’s like magic :)

  • December 16, 2009 8:36pm

    I’m pretty certain that lemon curd is better than chocolate, steak and caviar, combined. Sublime stuff. For several years now, I’ve used this rogue technique that works beautifully for me, but I’ve always wondered over the integrity of it: I blitz the entire mixture (juice, eggs, sugar, etc.) with a stick blender until smooth, before putting it on the stove, then cook it over direct heat. Often quite medium-high-ish heat. I’m impatient, particularly when it comes to lemon curd (I also have 3 wee kids, which aren’t exactly conducive to baby-ing curd). I’ve never once had it curdle over 2 dozen or so batches, and every one has tasted as limpid and dreamy as the “old-school” version. I’ve always wondered whether anyone else has ever tried this…. *Molly

  • December 16, 2009 10:17pm

    Thank you for the recipe. I bought Meyer’s lemons for the first time the other day (I had had them once before in lemonade) but my attempt to make lemoncurd was a disaster. I’ll try your recipe because you make it look so simple…
    How long can we keep it in the fridge (assuming we don’t eat it all?).

  • angela
    December 16, 2009 10:18pm

    I love Meyers, we have a few trees ‘out the back yard’.

    If you melt the butter in the microwave, then add everything else, zap for about 30 seconds a go, whisk a bit, and keep going till its thick enough. Never curdles, easy to wash the bowl.

    My favourite is a fresh sponge split, lemon curd and cream filled, dusted with icing sugar – divine… and then there is this lemon and almond tart that is to die for… ohhh… might have to go see if I can find some lemons.

  • Lisa
    December 16, 2009 10:28pm

    Ooohh, I love lemon curd, and my parents have a bumper crop of Meyer’s (or, I guess, Improved Meyers). Only so many Shaker lemon pies and marmalade we can eat in one year, so it will be good to vary production a bit.

    Only one thing I don’t understand: why, David, is the low heat/double boiler method for the intrepid? Intrepid means fearless!

  • Lynn in Tucson
    December 16, 2009 11:05pm

    Someone handed me two just today and I felt as if I had a handful of gold! (They’re hard to come by here in Arizona.) I grew up in Sonoma County and Meyers are the taste of my childhood. They’re the only think my grandmother used for lemon meringue pie.

  • December 16, 2009 11:23pm

    I have a tree that makes lots of Meyer lemons and make curd all the time (with my backyard hens’ eggs). It is a wonderful yellow, sunshiney, lemony friend on cold, grey Nor Cal Winter days.

    I did also want to let you know that citrus seeds don’t sprout true. Like apples, all seeds have all the genetic make up for all the citrus possibilities, and more often than not they end up as sour oranges. The only way to get a Meyer lemon tree is to buy one that is grafted with Meyer lemon branches. Otherwise it is a crapshoot.

    Maureen in Oakland

  • RibDog
    December 16, 2009 11:35pm

    I have a Meyer Lemon tree in my back yard that has been there for over forty years. It is excellent for lemonade but I have never used it for lemon curd. It seemed to not be tart enough for my taste in a lemon curd.

  • Oakjoan
    December 17, 2009 12:41am

    In my block above Lake Merritt in Oakland, there are 3, count em, 3 Meyer lemon trees and each one bears loads of fruit….right now they’re all covered with ripe lemons. Mostly they just drop to the ground and rot!!!! How could people be so dumb?

    I harvest as many as I can and make preserved lemons, lemon curd, lemon pound cake, etc.

    I once ran into a woman who had moved here from NYC. She stopped me on the street near my house and asked why Californians were so crazy. She said that in NY, people would be picking oranges off the trees if they had them on the street as they are here. She had a handbag full of oranges.

    I’m actually glad that nobody seems to care about these Meyer lemons…all the more for ME!

    PS: I’m in the camp with the person who posted that she didn’t like curd on toast.

  • Skippy
    December 17, 2009 1:27am

    This summer, a friend wanted everyone to bring a pie to her birthday party, so she’d have an array of pies to taste (she is inordinately fond of pie). I made lemon curd, spread it in a baked pie shell, and then filled it the rest of the way with blueberries that I cooked on the stove. It knocked everyone out (in a good way, I mean). Lemon and blueberries…what a combination. Now if only I had some Meyer lemons to play with…

  • December 17, 2009 2:08am

    A note on the Meyer lemon and it’s provenance. The lemon is named after a Mr. Frank N. Meyer, an agricultural explorer for the US Dept. of Agriculture way back when. He spent much of his time here in China packing up specimens that were sent back to America to be hybridized and eventually grown by American farmers. He died in the Yangtze river not to far from where I’m writing this, Shanghai.

    They say a Meyer lemon is a lemon/mandarin cross. A thing you probably didn’t know is how wonderfully diverse and productive the mandarin farmers are in south-central China, which leads me to wonder if the Meyer lemon owes more to its mandarin parents than its lemon ones. Last year there was an unfortunately large bumper crop of mandarins in southern China and while you could buy them for next to nothing many were just piled up next to the road to rot away. If only your blog was written in Chinese as well as English, then maybe the Chinese people would have had other more interesting ways to eat their mandarin oranges and they wouldn’t go to waste. Merry Christmas.

  • Rowena
    December 17, 2009 2:42am

    What a coincidence that you would write about this today! This morning I made a Meyer lemon curd tart using 4 lemons harvested from my little dwarf tree! I waited 3 years to get those lemons… I almost gave up. In all I have 18 yellow jewels, I’d gladly share some but I’m in L.A. I used the recipe from The Art of Simple Food, and your recipe is very similar except for one more egg yolk. I got about 2 cups from it. I took the tart to the office and it was a huge hit!

  • December 17, 2009 2:45am

    jonathan: Thanks for the information. Even though it’s always my dream to have lots and lots of citrus, it’s hard to cope with a prolific harvest. Too had some canning company didn’t make a lot of marmalade!

    By the way, I’d don’t know if you (or any other readers) have read Oranges by John McPhee. (Available on Amazon.) It seems like it would be a one-dimensional topic for a book, but it’s pretty amazing and I highly recommend it.

    Oakjoan & Lisa: It’s like my friends in Hawaii who have avocado trees (and a friend in Florida with a mango one)-they just don’t know what to do with all the fruit! Perhaps I should start some sort of ‘global exchange’ program!

    Maureen, Iona & Christine: I was skeptical, too, about sprouting them in a paper towel. But the information was on a pretty reputable website, so I took it for true. But since it seems like that’s not the best way to ensure a lemon tree in a small Paris apartment, I think I will just have to wait until the next visitor brings me a few more.

    And Maureen, ever since last year when I switched for good to farm-fresh, local eggs (whenever possible), I haven’t regretted it one bit. Yes, they’re more expensive, but cost-per-egg is still really low and the eggs taste so much better!

  • December 17, 2009 2:51am

    These lemons never crossed my way. I do lemon curd with the lemons we have here in Greece, which tastes great too. I love your step-by-step description!

  • pratibha
    December 17, 2009 8:27am

    Ameliorate… while I see where you are coming from, its a fairly complex English word, that is contextual.. and like the french paradoxes, there are enough of ’em around! :)

    You post is hilarious…. and to sprout even an acid lemon, you simply need to dry the seeds in “sunlight” – as opposed to oven / dehydrator for a couple of days till it is slip proof & plant it! Best done in the warmer seasons, for obvious reasons of dormancy vs active that is dependent on seasons.. you could dry your seeds in fall & plant in spring too… life is far more resilient than we give it credit….

    Simply out of curiosity, don’t you ever eat anything salty/savoury at all…? :)

  • December 17, 2009 8:50am

    well, i just used up one of the improved meyer lemons i brought back with me and i have one pip. will try to make it grow into a tree, and will try with the pips from the other lemons. if i am successful, i will bring you one of the babies to paris, but first i have to read up on how to achieve success.

  • Priscilla
    December 17, 2009 8:58am

    There are lots of meyer lemons in Australia but I have no idea whether they are the original ones or the improved ones. Lemon curd is also known as lemon butter here but whatever name, it is scrumptious.

  • December 17, 2009 9:25am

    I cannot believe how yellow your yolks are.

    One of the reasons i want to move to Menton is for the lemons. I will never forget the scent around this town.

  • cookeaze
    December 17, 2009 9:26am

    I am so glad that I came across your blog. I will read it regularly! The recipe was very interesting and I need to try and taste it. Thanks!

  • December 17, 2009 10:27am

    Our improved meyer lemon tree has proved that it survives on total neglect and rewarded us this year with an amazing amount of fruit – just ripe as we speak. It’s incredible how much sweeter they are and yes, fragile with a very thin rind. We’ll be making a lot of marmalade, curd (your recipe, thanks!), tarts, tortes, but most especially limoncello! Oooya!

  • December 17, 2009 10:27am

    We have Meyer lemons (or something like them) in Nice, so just ask next time I come! Not sure if I can find any before catching the plane tomorrow, but next time for sure.

  • jonquil
    December 17, 2009 10:47am

    the second i read ‘banned’, i was seized with the desire to own one! lemon curd is one of my favorites & this version is superb. thanks!

  • s green
    December 17, 2009 10:56am

    I bought a Meyer Lemon plant online from the wonderful Logees Greenhouses in Danielson, CT. It flowered and fruited after the first year. Am getting ready to harvest the fruit right now so the timing of the lemon curd recipe couldn’t be more perfect.

    The plants are out of stock right now, but keep posted.

  • December 17, 2009 11:22am

    Reading this post, I kept hearing a Homer Simpson-like voice in my head, repeating, “Mmmmmm, lemmmony!” Makes my mouth water, this does. I wanted to compliment you on the photography; every photo has such a nice warm glow to it! The last photo with the curd and the toast looks so delicious. I would love to have that plate and a hot cup of tea by my side right now.

    Thank you for sharing with us the Secrets of the (Meyer) Curd! (Sounds like a Nancy Drew novel, lol.)

  • Peggy
    December 17, 2009 12:58pm

    My parents planted a “true” meyer lemon tree when they bought their house in Los Altos, CA in the early 50s. It was a prolific producer and gorgeous on top of it. Unfortunately for both us and the tree, my mom sold the house a few years ago and the new owners demolished everything on the lot, including that wonderful meyer lemon tree (they obviously don’t cook or bake). I still have my memories – and a small but growing “new” meyer lemon tree in my backyard.

  • Marie M.
    December 17, 2009 1:22pm

    I’m blessed to live in California and have access to Meyer lemons. For those who don’t have lovely Meyer lemons — I’ve read you can substitute 2 parts regular lemon juice to 1 part orange juice. Also 2 parts regular lemon zest to 1 part orange zest. I haven’t tried it, but . . . good luck.

  • Marie M.
    December 17, 2009 1:35pm

    Oops. I forget to mention. One of my favorite cookies is Amanda Hesser’s Meyer Lemon Sables. I don’t know how to create a link — but Molly at Orangette has the recipe. Try it with a cup of Earl Grey tea . . . you’ll like it.

  • December 17, 2009 1:36pm

    Funny, I have a great recipe for lemon curd, and I was just thinking about making some next week and “canning” it for gifts this Christmas. When made with a sufficient amount of Eureka lemon juice for acidity, lemon curd cans beautifully in a hot water bath, and will last for up to a year if properly sealed/stored. It’s such a treat to pull out a jar from the cabinet.

  • December 17, 2009 1:46pm

    I see you’ve converted your “garlic” dish to a lemon curd vessel (snicker)…

    : )

  • December 17, 2009 4:22pm

    I am trying this lemon curd. In the South we make what is called a Lemon Cheesecake. The name means nothing because it is a 3 layer white or yellow cake with lemon curd between the layers and on top. Delicious. I love the simplicity of your recipe. Thanks.

  • December 17, 2009 4:36pm

    Amanda: Good eye there! When I was in New York, I saw similar vessels at Zabar’s and they were called “confiture pots”, or jam pots. So I guess it is for jam, rather than garlic. Or lemon curd!

  • sunny
    December 17, 2009 5:36pm

    (Sorry to hijack this…but it’s a ‘thought you should know’)

    Bakers in Paris — Detou is now carrying chocolate *chunks* — about the same size as Toll House Morsels — and it makes all the difference in the world how your cookies taste. The old ones were just too teeny.

    Their vanilla beans (great price!) also make terrific vanilla — I split and seeded 5 beans, then cut the pods in small pieces. Dumped it all into a pint-jar of vodka, and shook it daily for 8 weeks. Taa-daa….great vanilla; none of that vanilla sugar nonsense.

  • Donna Adams
    December 17, 2009 6:05pm

    David, Thanks for all the Lemon recipes, I live in Tiburon CA and have two Meyer Lemon trees in Pots and now have about 150 Lemons hanging. I made Jars of Preserved Lemon for gifts. Also, just purchased your “The Sweet Life in Paris” for my daughter for Christmas! Didn’t want to part with your book, or the recipes,

  • Lisa
    December 17, 2009 6:43pm

    With the exception of cliff diving, making custard over direct heat is likely the most daring thing I’ve done. Seriously. I was anxious and whisking like a madwoman until it thickened and didn’t scramble, which prompted a big sigh of relief (and surprise). Wow, what else lies over the horizon that I never thought possible? Thank you for the easy recipe and for something lemon (and not pumpkin, which I’m holidayed-out on already), with the caveat that my curd may feel a bit like the country cousin without Meyer lemons. At any rate, it’s awesome and oh so lemony!

  • December 17, 2009 9:44pm

    Interesting story about the meyer lemons! Thanks for sharing!

  • December 17, 2009 10:16pm

    I love Meyer lemons too and am pleased I can get them down the street from me. Your lemon curd looks amazing, sometimes when I make it I spread it on top of pavlova.

  • Neomi
    December 17, 2009 10:25pm

    I’ve always wondered what the meyer lemon is, since I’d seen them in Trader Joe’s a couple of times. I was wondering if it’s like the sweet lemons (heavenly!!) we used to get in Iran (and my uncle is still able to get in CA). But it sounds like the ones you are talking about are tart?

    Either way, so sad that sweet lemons are not widely available here, the aroma alone is
    unbearably good.

  • December 18, 2009 1:30am

    Neomi: There are a few varieties of ‘sweet’ lemons (although many are picked hard and underripe, so they’re tart & sour). In France, there are Menton lemons from near Nice. They’re hard-to-find in Paris, unfortunately, although some specialty produce supplier have them. Incidentially they do have a Menton lemon festival once a year-here’s a interesting picture of one of the parade floats, made of Menton lemons!

    Sunny: Thanks. Their chocolate chips had one of those funny-tasting sweeteners in them (like maltitol or sorbital, I can’t remember which), so I avoided using them in favor of chopped chocolate. I think in my post on G.Detou, the chunks are pictured in the second shot, if those are the ones you’re talking about.

    (Although I hope you didn’t go this week..7 days before Christmas. That place is a madhouse then!)

    Donna: Glad you liked the book!

  • December 18, 2009 3:19am

    I love having a bottle of homemade lemon curd in the fridge. A small scoop on a piece of shortbread or two and dessert’s ready and yummy.

  • NickMontreal
    December 18, 2009 9:21am

    Mmmm look at that tasty goodness… I love lemon curd. Add a little gelatin and this would make a great macaron filling, no doubt. Ever tried passion fruit curd, by the way? Ho-ly, that’s some good stuff.

    Okay I have to tell you I made your pear and almond tart this weekend and it was great. But the best thing about it was the French tart dough recipe that you suggested (à la Paule Caillat). Wow. Truly a fantastic pastry. So good that it has usurped my own recipe… and with melted butter! Who knew?!

  • Sunny
    December 18, 2009 10:51am

    Hi, David et al — I pulled the pouch out of the cupboard to make sure — the “chunks noirs” come in a silver pouch with a zip-top seal. The ingredients are: Sugar, cocoa paste, cocoa butter, soy lecithin (emulsifier) and natural vanilla. No -ols to be found. I knew I hadn’t seen this packaging before — it’s definitely NOT the plastic tubs in the Detou post –and the girl at the service counter (not to be confused with the checkout counter!) said they were new, and that the only difference between these and the mini-chips was the size. Given the speed with which they’re being eaten right out of the bag, it’s hard to tell how many batches of cookies I can make with a pouch, but I think it’s 3.

  • December 18, 2009 11:00am

    Your paper towel and seed experiment reminded me of a sixth grade project we had to do that involved sprout seeds. We all put damp paper towels in a ziploc bag, threw im some seeds and hung them on a bulletin board in the sun. They all sprouted no problem! You’ve got me all excited about the idea of a meyer lemon tree in my apartment…

  • Susan In L.A.
    December 18, 2009 11:29am

    The best restaurant dessert I ever had was warm housemade gingerbread and lemon curd with whipped cream at a seafood (duh) place in Point Reyes, CA. Pain d’epices might be a good substitute.

  • December 18, 2009 12:35pm

    You are too funny. “Improved” lemon curd, indeed!
    I also had the same problem when trying to germinate Meyer lemon seeds here in the US – though I have had success growing citrus that way from seed when I lived in India. Maybe the warmer climate helps.
    Will some of the lemon curd be finding its way into tart shells? Yum. By the way I made your pear and almond tart for my Thanksgiving dinner(s) and it was a huge success. Thank you and keep those recipes coming!

  • Jenny
    December 18, 2009 12:51pm

    Yipee! I just returned home with four plump Meyer lemons from Central Market….now
    hoping I am up to the task of making lemon curd for the first time…..

  • Chris
    December 18, 2009 9:09pm

    Hi, David.

    If you find yourself with more of your friend’s Meyer Lemons, you might want to try a simple thing that we do with ours each year. Dice them up–skin, seeds, flesh and all–and wrap them in fresh crepes, with a spoonful of brown sugar. The sweet and sour goodness will dribble down your chin and taste like heaven!

  • December 18, 2009 11:23pm

    Hello David,

    Oyster Culture introduced me to your site, and I am enjoying receiving your post via email feed. I agree with Christine, hybrids cannot be grown from seeds, so maybe someone can send you some overseas via mail. I have successfully sprouted seeds through soil under lights all year long, as in tomatoes. I would try a Meyer tree if I had the space, as they are lovely. I also learned through my gardening endeavors that the lemon was named for its founder, and gardeners and science have cross breed all sorts of vegetation, so I do not doubt that it was done as we have been told.

    I once bought some ‘Pink’ lemons, with the green strips, and passed the seeds on to a friend in Texas, and she has told me they are growing, so I am looking forward to bringing some home on my next trip down south.

    Your post brings memories of culinary school and my English born Director had us make lemon curd for her consumption, along with a scone contest. I made Traditional English (pie wedge shape) Meyer Lemon scones and curd and won her affections for the duration of my employment as her assistant, and our current friendship! Your demo makes me want to hit the curd road once again, since I have not made it since…

  • Kim B
    December 19, 2009 3:49pm

    Hi, just finished making this lemon curd and it turned out great. My first time! I’ll be serving it tomorrow with my freshly made scones. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Scott Kohler
    December 20, 2009 1:32am

    I just made this recipe, last night. The lemon curd is great. The recipe is even better: useful, simple and works. I used some lemons I got for free from a neighbor. Plan on using them to fill thumbprint cookies.

  • Kris
    December 20, 2009 4:56am

    Tangerine curd? Tangerine flavor seems really hard to capture; I wonder if it’ll survive the heat. Only one way to find out (unless somebody’s tried it before!).

  • December 20, 2009 10:00pm

    Made lemon curd on a chilly Sunday afternoon. It was delicious on yesterday’s pumpkin cake. Later, with toast, I realized I had recreated David’s final photo. The curd accents the cake slice and toast, even my spoon, with its sunny color and flavor.

    A haiku —

    Lemon curd sunshine
    on my cake and grainy toast
    Lights up the cold room

  • December 21, 2009 2:35am

    Lemon curd is fantastic, making it with meyer lemons.. interesting..

    If the Meyer Lemons are ‘merely’ sweeter lemons, whats the point in using them in curd, as the sugar amount is just changed?

    Do the “Meyers” have different taste from normal lemons, besides the sweeter part?

  • December 21, 2009 2:42am

    I used to take meyer lemons for granted because we’ve had a meyer lemon for over 10 years. It wasn’t until a few years ago that our food friends found out that we had a meyer lemon tree, that I realized how expensive and valuable they are. Meyer’s can be pricey!
    Now, I find myself to be a very lucky girl when Todd makes his meyer lemon curd pie with chocolate espresso ganache. And because of you and this post, I can call it his “improved” meyer lemon curd pie!

  • December 21, 2009 4:36am

    re: garlic dish, I thought those vessels are for butter?????
    PS: I saw mini meyer lemon trees a couple of weeks ago here in Rome, with 3 lemons on it. I wanted to buy one but the florist said you can’t keep them in the appt., it needs to be outside (though I doubt that with this cold going on around here…).

  • Kris
    December 21, 2009 6:00pm

    Tangerine didn’t work. It took forever, didn’t thicken properly, & tastes like cooked egg yolks (it didn’t break, though). Tangerine juice not acidic enough, perhaps?

  • December 21, 2009 6:25pm

    I’m now wondering if the lemons you refer to are what we in Portugal call Limas? Which taste somewhere between lemons and oranges, difficult to describe but they don’t yield a lot of juice either.

  • December 21, 2009 7:34pm

    Azelia: Improved Meyer lemons have tons of juice, so I don’t think they’re the same. But there’s so many kinds of citrus out there, you likely have other delicious ones there.

    Kris: Normally curd is made with lime, lemon, or passion fruit, since the acidity cuts the richness of the butter and eggs so perfectly. Tangerines should have worked, technically. But I’ve never had a batch fail using lemons or limes.

    kathleen: I LOVE your lemon haiku! : D

  • December 22, 2009 12:37pm

    As usual, your timing is perfect as I’m picking Meyer lemons from my potted trees, now inside for the winter. I’ve never made lemon curd, so I’m really looking forward to my first attempt. thanks!

    Here are some pics of homegrown trees: Got Lemons? It’s Easy to Grow Your Own Tree

  • Sara
    December 22, 2009 8:36pm

    I’ve always germinated seeds in ziplock bags with tiny holes poke in them taped to my kitchen window (it get a lot of afternoon sun there)… you spray ’em with water when they look dry… the goofy thing is that i dry the seeds out entirely before they go into the bag…
    good luck!
    The curd looks awesome!


  • Louisa Holzschuher
    December 22, 2009 11:59pm


    I absolutely love lemon curd, and it has been one of my favorite things since I was young. Any my improved meyer lemon tree is dripping with fruit (yes, I live in No. Cal). But, whenever I try to make it directly on the flame, while it doesn’t curdle, the texture is a bit grainy, even if I sieve it. I don’t have that problem when I use a double boiler. The direct method is so much easier, but the texture takes away from the experience. Any thoughts on how to get a really smooth curd with the direct cooking method?

  • Allyson
    December 26, 2009 3:29pm

    Lemon curd is the best! I have to tell you that I make all my curds and custards in the microwave … try it. They always come out perfect – no curdling and smooth and no need to strain. The trick is to heat it up a few minutes at a time at about medium heat level and then as it begins to set you can let it rip with high heat for the final boil. Love your blog … I have never had the joy of visiting France and most of my foodie experience centers on Latin food – Colombia and Caribbean – as that is where I spent the first 17 years of my life and then a midlife crisis sent me to Miami to Johnson & Wales where I really enjoyed the Latin and island influences of food. Hopefully one day I will get to look through the windows of all those amazing French pastry shops and feel like I have gone to heaven!

  • Sara
    December 27, 2009 7:29pm

    I saw Meyer lemons at Cosco last week. Did not what to make with them. I love lemon curd. My grandmother used to make it a lot.

  • Karen
    December 30, 2009 4:23am

    I just made lemon curd (to go between some almond macaroons, and on some blueberry scones) moments before coming here to read your blog and then you reminded me that I I could have, should have, used Meyer lemons, only my Improved Meyer lemon tree sitting in the corner of the kitchen is not happy with the heating and dropped all its flowers and half of its leaves two weeks ago, so to get the Meyer lemons I would have to go out to the store and it is -10 degrees out (more with the wind chill). At least, though, Meyer lemons have gotten very easy to acquire. Here on Cape Cod, in bitter cold New England, you can get them at the supermarket. Stop & Shop sells them. My green grocer sells them. The natural foods store sells them. It used to be really hard to get them on the East Coast but now everybody seems to have starting around Thanksgiving and ending around April.

    Your lemon curd looks really good. And I like the idea of throwing everything in the pot together. Oh well, next time. I always find something interesting here. Thanks.

  • December 30, 2009 6:15pm

    Thank you for this new recipe! I was recently given a Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree and have have the beginnings of baby lemons growing (although I’m not sure if they’ll survive to Lemon adulthood, due to my luck with plants), but if they do make it, I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • January 5, 2010 4:12am

    your post is so funny, thank you! I love lemon curd, and I regularly make it with Seville oranges, which I adore.
    I have never tried Meyer lemons, unfortunately, but just a couple of days ago I picked lemon from an organic tree in a place looking quite like heaven in Southern Italy, and I am trying to capture some of the sun in lemon curd, of course! By the way, I add also the zest for extra flavour, even if it does reduce the silkiness a little bit.
    I have a question for the lemon curd experts out there: how long will it keep? I have an unlimited supply of wonderful lemons at the moment and I want to make as much as it is sensible. I am keeping it in preserve jars that will form vacuum when you make them boil, the ones I use for tomato preserve. Any ideas? Thanks!

  • Mandy
    January 22, 2010 4:29pm

    Just finished making this curd and it will take all my strength not to sit and eat it with a spoon! I’ve recently made key lime and cranberry curd as well…onto blood orange next!

  • Carole
    February 3, 2010 11:39am

    I live in Florida and we have a lot of Meyer Lemon Trees here.

  • Ann Jebaratnam
    February 18, 2010 9:12am

    Hello David,

    I’ve made Lemon Curd twice so far but using only egg yolks. I’ve never had the bottled curd before so I’m not sure what it tastes like. So I wonder if you could answer these questions for me:
    – What’s the difference between a curd that has only yolks in it compared to one with whole eggs?
    – Is there any way to get rid of the slight eggy smell of the curd, or is it supposed to smell like that?
    – What’s the purpose of straining the curd in your recipe?

    Thank you.

  • Susan
    May 17, 2010 12:04pm

    I made this lemon curd the other day and it was so easy and is so silky smooth! I love this method of everything in the pot at once. I did increase the amount of sugar to suit my taste, as I know you like things less sweet. The Eureka lemons from my neighbor have always been very tangy so I knew I’d have to use more sugar..I’m glad I did, and it’s still very tangy..but oh so good Thanks, David.

  • Elizabeth
    September 17, 2010 7:45pm

    LAZY! I too have mutated to what I am calling Lazy Lemon Curd. After years of separating eggs, tending double boiler, and endlessly wisking in butter, I now gently melt the butter, then stick-blend whole eggs, lemon juice & sugar directly in the pan and wisk over medium heat a couple minutes.
    ZEST! Oh yeah, what about the zest? It adds that special pop. I strip it off and add it after the stick-blending. It strains out just after the curd is done, leaving the texture silky.
    TOAST! It’s not that lemon curd on toast is the highest and best use: just the easiest and most accessible for instant grat. Unless of course you count spooning it directly from jar to mouth, standing at the frig. (Guilty!)

  • joe s
    January 28, 2011 5:24am

    ok, I ordered a case of meyers lemons and today made the lemon tart with David’s lemon curd & tart recipe. The sweeter, less tart meyers lemon makes the perfect curd. Less sweetening is required, more lemon flavour comes through. Total success.

    I also added the zest!

    10lbs, $25 – worth every penny.

    ps. lemon curd was cooked in the microwave. Also tried it in a whiskey sour, but in that case this type of lemon isn’t sour enough to balance the sweetness of the bourbon.

  • Kathie
    January 29, 2011 6:28am

    one of my all time favorite things! Wish I had lemon curd and some shortbread cookies right now!

  • February 8, 2011 9:05pm

    Just made a double batch and it’s fabulous!

  • Oakjoan
    February 9, 2011 4:27am

    So haha on you Mr. I Live in Paris! I have 2 (two) Meyer Lemon trees in my yard in Oakland, CA.

    I’ve been making lemon curd shortcake ala Medrich for the past few weeks. I also came across an article in the NYT last week for crumpets and blood orange/meyer lemon marmalade. It’s sooo easy and quite delish with clotted cream (Mascarpone and cream and I used a dollop of Pavel’s yogurt).

    I love that you’re touting the easy direct heat method of making lemon curd. Medrich does it too and I was delighted it was so easy!

  • Nori
    February 9, 2011 5:35pm

    Oooh, I wish I came across this recipe when I was living in Orange County with my budding citrus garden. The meyer lemon tree was the only consistent producer but my yuzu and kafir lime trees were maturing nicely…Now I am woefully citrus-deprived in Montreal.

    BTW “intrepid” means “fearless” as in “an intrepid explorer” so I believe you may be thinking of its antonym, such as “timid” when suggesting the use of a double-boiler.

    Please keep sharing your wonderful recipes and humorous insights with us!

    PS In Japan we have many varieties of citrus (other than yuzu). Some I haven’t seen mentioned much outside of the country are the ponkann, kabosu, and dekopon. Wikipedia does a decent job of explaining the cultivars on their citrus page.

  • Lindsay Rowe
    February 10, 2011 7:57pm

    Hi David!

    I just had to write you because I knew you would appreciate my utter astonishment to have stumbled upon some Meyer Lemons in my natural foods supermarket yesterday! I bought them all for three dollars! I should go back and see if there are any more because I adore lemon curd….