I like to use Stephanie Alexander's recipe for curd from The Cook's Companion. It's simple to make and doesn't require the use of a double boiler. Unlike other versions, it uses whole eggs that have been strained instead of only yolks and I think it is this straining stage that ensures a smooth curd...provided it is kept on a low heat of course. Sometimes I add a little more sugar..depending on how sour the lemons are. I also got it in my head today to make some mandarin curd..but lets just say it did not meet my expectations. I think I'll stick to the lemons in future.
I entered a jar of this lemon curd in the local show a couple of years ago, and came away with first place, much to my astonishment! If anyone has participated in local shows, you will know that they can be a tight group of competitors with years of experience under their belts when it comes to entering garden produce and preserves. Although from memory, I added quite a bit more sugar, to avoid a tartness hitting the tongues of the judges! I happen to like a tart curd, but I didn't think they would, for some reason..And well, it paid off!
2 large lemons, zested and juiced
100g unsalted butter
175-200g sugar, depending on how sour your lemons are
3 free-range eggs, lightly whisked and strained.
Place the lemon juice, zest, butter and sugar into a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until the sugar has dissolved, stirring now and then. Remove the pan from the heat and add the eggs, stirring to mix well. Place the pan back over a low heat and stir constantly until mixture thickens, coats the back of a spoon and leaves a line on the spoon when a finger is ran through it. Don't overheat, or the mixture will curdle. Watch for steam starting to rise off the mix.. a sign that the thickening is imminent.
Spoon into warm, sterilized jars and seal. Keeps in the fridge for up to 8 weeks. Makes approx 500ml.
Delicious on fresh bread, toast, pancakes and as a filling for tarts and cakes.