Zest one large lemon completely and set the zest aside.
Squeeze the juice out of both lemons into a cold medium saucepan and remove any seeds.
Add the lemon zest, large eggs, granulated white sugar, and 5 Tablespoons cold salted butter to the lemon juice in the saucepan.
Heat over medium heat until the butter has completely melted, mixing often.
Once the butter has melted, whisk everything together and turn the heat to low. Do not let the mixture boil.
Whisk continuously for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce thickens to the consistency of honey. You should be able to run your finger along the back of a spoon and the mixture will hold its shape.
Do not let the sauce boil or get too hot. The eggs will curdle if the mixture overheats and you will need to strain the curd of the cooked egg pieces after it is done. If you see any egg start to curdle, turn the heat down and stir vigorously to cool it.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in the remaining 3 Tablespoons cold butter.
Pour the thickened lemon curd into an 8 ounce glass jar, straining it if necessary, and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Place the glass jar into the refrigerator and cool for 1 hour or until the curd has thickened to the consistency of a thick honey.
Serve cold by spooning onto or using in your favorite recipe.
To Store: Store the lemon curd in the refrigerator, preferably in a glass jar. It will be good for 2-3 weeks.
To Freeze: You can freeze the lemon curd for up to one year, then take out and thaw in the refrigerator 24 hours before use.
Do not rush this recipe. It is very tempting to crank up the heat in an effort to thicken the lemon curd quickly. However, doing so will lead to scrambled eggs in lemon sauce instead of a delicious, smooth curd. Patience is the key to getting a good result!
Cooked egg in your curd is as a result of cooking over too high heat. If you are nervous about the cooking process, you can also try cooking the curd using a double boiler instead of directly over the heat.
Use fresh lemons! In a pinch you can omit the zest and use lemon juice from concentrate but your flavor won’t be nearly as fresh and bright. This recipe only has a few ingredients so using fresh lemons makes a big difference in your end result!
Once you’ve gotten good at this recipe you can use it to make orange or lime zest as well! Use 1 medium orange (zested and juiced) or 4 limes (zested and juiced) in place of the lemons.
You’ll know the curd is ready when it noticeably thickens in consistency and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Keep the heat low, don’t turn it up to quicken the process or the eggs will scramble.
Don’t stop whisking the curd until it’s off of the heat or the eggs will scramble and turn lumpy.
The lemon curd will thicken as it cools it’s really important to cool it completely before using it to fill cakes or it won’t be the right consistency. Cold butter will help cool the curd and set it more quickly.