This thick sweet citrus custard can be served in tart shells, between layers in a cake, in parfaits…the ideas are endless. But it’s so good you’ll be eating Lemon Butter by the spoonful right out of the jar.
The story of this recipe is cute. My grandmother, Mrs. M, got it from her friend, Mrs. B, who secretly got it from her neighbour, Mrs. W, who was a wonderful baker but did not share her recipes. Sounds like a real life version of “the real housewives of Brant County.”
You may have heard this called Lemon Curd. The ingredient list is short. Lemons, eggs, butter, sugar. I found so many versions of this recipe while researching Lemon Butter vs Lemon Curd. The recipes are mostly the same with various amounts of each ingredient. You’ll end up with about 3 cups, give or take.Jump to Recipe
One thing that really stood out to me is that this recipe for Lemon Curd has a LOT of sugar. You can make this with less, but I am posting it as written. Remember, back in the day, people didn’t consume large amounts of processed foods and high fructose corn syrup so having some sugar once in while wasn’t a crime. I’ll admit, I have made it with a little less sugar and it’s perfectly fine. But it’s pretty darn good with 2 cups of sugar!
How to Make Lemon Butter
Lemon juice. Yes, juice from real lemons. And some rind too. This is what gives Lemon Butter that puckery lemon punch. Two things to keep in mind. Try not to get too much of the white part, or the pith, when you peel off some rind. It can be quite bitter. And secondly, peel the skin before squeezing the lemons. Thinner skin helps compress the lemon to get maximum juice and after squeezing you’ll have a hard time getting large strips of peel. You want large strips so you can easily remove them once it’s cooked.
This recipe says juice of 3 lemons. Lemons vary in size and fresh lemons can give more juice than older lemons. Also room temperature lemons and certain methods of extracting the juice can give more than others. Let’s just say somewhere between just over half a cup to just under 3/4 of a cup should be about right. If you think you’ll have a little too much lemon juice, save a half a lemon for something else like Steamed Mussels with White Wine, Lemon and Garlic.
Give the eggs a whisk before adding them to the other ingredients. You’ve probably always wondered what exactly is that thick rope like thingie attached to the yolk. It’s called the Chalazae. It’s basically the membrane that holds the yolk in place and is perfectly edible. In fact, once cooked it basically disappears. To learn how to pronounce Chalazae correctly (it’s not what you think) and for more fun facts about eggs, click here! You can try to remove the clumps if they bother you but they’re pretty slippery and aren’t as easy to pick out as you think.
Measure all your ingredients into the top pot of a double boiler. Heat it very low and slow, stirring often until it’s thick. It’s ok if it bubbles a tiny bit but don’t let it boil. I have made this in the microwave which works pretty good but you need to do very short bursts on low heat which doesn’t save you any time. Heating the Lemon Butter slowly ensures you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.
Don’t worry if your Lemon Butter doesn’t seem thick enough at first, it will thicken more as it cools. Pour it into a glass bowl or large jar and remove the pieces of rind. This will keep a few weeks in the refrigerator.
How to Serve Lemon Butter
You can make a quick sweet treat by filling pre baked tart shells with Lemon Butter. Smaller sized tarts are best.
A parfait is a fun and easy way to enjoy this. Buy real whipping cream and whip up 1 cup until very stiff peaks form. Don’t add any sugar. Then, stir a few spoonfuls of Lemon Butter into half of the whipped cream. Layer Lemon Butter, then lemony whipped cream, then regular whipped cream into clear glasses.
For an easy but impressive looking dessert, slice an angel food cake or pound cake into layers. Spread Lemon Butter between each layer, then make a lemon whipped cream as described above for the parfait and spread over top like icing.
I could go on and on but you get the picture. Use your imagination.
Here’s the recipe:
- 3 lemons between ½ and ¾ cup
- 5 eggs, well beaten
- 2 cups sugar can be reduced to 1 ½
- ¼ lb real butter
- Whisk eggs well and add to top of double boiler. Add butter and sugar.
- Peel thick strips from lemons being careful not to peel too much white pith. Squeeze juice into measuring cup. You need between ½ and ¾ cup juice. Add to double boiler.
- Cook slowly over gentle heat, stirring often, until well combined and thickened. Do not boil.
- Alternatively, you can slowly heat in short bursts on low heat in microwave, stirring between sessions.
- Remove rind, allow to cool and refrigerate in large jar or glass bowl. Will store for a few weeks.