You are here: Home

Need Acrobat Reader for PDF documents?

Vivís lemon curd

Another of my favourite ex-sister-in-lawís winners. If you like lemon curd at all (for me the real thing comes in fairly close behind foie gras, smoked salmon and Champagne in the pantheon of great culinary inventions), this will drive you crazy!

Living, as she did, on a diet rich in cream, mayonnaise and other literally blood-curdling ingredients, Viv tried to persuade her family to use sunflower spread rather than butter, and her home-made mousses, lemon curd and the rest all ended up in recycled but unlabelled healthy-spread containers.

One evening, her son Iain had some pals in. As big lads do, they got hungry, so Viv sent them into the kitchen to make sandwiches. One young man produced a spectacular multi-decked confection of cold roast beef, mustard and salad - and an expression of total perplexity when he took the first bite.

This lemon curd is so rich that it doesnít look a lot different from the original sunflower glup, and Iainís mate had inadvertently used the wrong container. To his credit, the lad showed great open-mindedness about mixtures of flavours, recovering rapidly from his shock and finishing the sandwich with relish.


  • Two large lemon (unwaxed and gently washed if possible, or - failing that - waxed and scrubbed, which sends a lot of the subtle overtones down the plug-hole)
  • 6oz sugar
  • Four large eggs
  • 4oz unsalted butter
  • Thatís all!

I recently tried the recipe in Leithís Cookery Bible, which uses 8oz sugar (33% more), three eggs (25% less) and 3oz butter (25% less). The result is sweeter and less rich, but still absolutely delicious. The lesson here is that, even with something as complex as this emulsion, the exact quantities arenít critical. What is critical is the quality and freshness of the ingredients.


  1. Shred the zest of the lemon finely - a grater will do but a purpose-designed zester is better - and put it in a bowl with the sugar.
  2. Whisk the juice of the lemon with the eggs.
  3. Pour the juice/egg mixture onto the sugar/zest mixture.
  4. Add the butter, cut into little cubes.
  5. Stir continuously over a pan of barely simmering water until thickened - about 20 minutes. Be warned - trying to rush this by turning up the heat can result in a curdled nightmare.

Keep chilled (and well away from other things in similar containers!) but let it warm up a little before you eat it. In fact, youíll be lucky if you can keep it at all: it is spectacularly delicious, and to my palate rather better with bread and too much butter than with beef, salad and mustard.

As a refinement (mine, not Vivís), since the zest doesnít really get cooked and can therefore be a bit leathery, you can combine it with some of the sugar in a mortar and mash them together with the pestle. Then heat the lemon juice and zest until theyíre just too hot to dip your finger in, leave them to cool and strain out the zest and before making the super-smooth curd.

And if you think thatís good...

...try lemon curd ice-cream!

Leithís Cookery Bible suggests a modified curd made with yolks rather than whole eggs, but then says you can make the ice-cream with good commercial lemon curd. If such a thing exists, Iíve yet to find it - they all seem to be made with magarine - so you might as well stick with Vivís super-curd.

Youíll need one full quantity, as above.

And to turn it into ice-cream? It couldnít be simpler. Just mix thoroughy with a pint of plain yogurt (a 500g tub of Greek yogurt is even better) and freeze. This is much too much for my little half-litre ice-cream maker, so I just do it in a bowl and whisk the mixture thoroughly every hour until itís well frozen. It then needs an hour to soften in the fridge before serving - unless you want to eat it with a pickaxe and launch your fillings into orbit.

Personal site for Paul Marsden: frustrated writer; experimental cook and all-round foodie; amateur wine-importer; former copywriter and press-officer; former teacher, teacher-trainer, educational software developer and documenter; still a professional web-developer but mostly retired.

This site was transferred in June 2005 to the Sites4Doctors Site Management System, and has been developed and maintained there ever since.