Almond Lemon Curd Recipe

When life gives you lemons… make almond lemon curd.

I like it when I can count the degrees of separation between an ingredient and myself, especially when I only need the fingers of one hand to do so. In this case, there were just four degrees of separation between me and three large lemons: my sister Céline has a boyfriend I adore, named Christian. Christian has a father, who lives not far from Nice. And this father has a bountiful lemon tree, currently overloaded with beautiful, smooth-skinned fruit, pale yellow like the baby clothes you buy when you don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl. So when Céline went to spend a few days in Nice recently, she came back to Paris with half a dozen jumbo lemons, which my mother and I shared gleefully.

These lemons, being organic and all, had lemon curd written all over them (if you looked at the rind very very carefully with a magnifier, close to the stem, it said lemon curd in super fine print).

My first attempt at lemon curd, many moons ago, did not quite qualify as a success. I don’t remember where I had gotten the recipe from, if I had followed it with enough care, or if it was just a case of beginner’s crap luck, but as I was standing over the pan, dutifully stirring the mixture, it became painfully apparent just why they called it a curd. It curdled all right.

Because I was young and too proud to admit defeat, I insisted on eating it anyway, spreading my morning toast with curdled curd, which tasted fine if you managed to ignore the tiny lumps of viscid egg white staring up at you with fierce little eyes. Thankfully, I had made a miniature batch with just one lemon, so it was soon done away with, and I could get on with my life.

Years later I tried my hand at lemon curd again, this time with a bit of research, and it appeared that my first attempt had been somewhat misguided: I had cooked the curd directly in a saucepan, when it is really best to do so over gentle heat, in a bowl set on a pan of simmering water. The result was infinitely more convincing, and this is the method I used again yesterday with my sunny lemons.

Wanting to try something a little different, I made an almond lemon curd this time, using one less egg than I normally would, and adding lightly toasted ground almonds to the thickened mixture. This adds a lovely textural twist, giving the lemon curd just a touch more presence on your toast, and the subtle, nutty, and toasty almond flavor is a great partner to the tartness of the lemon (lemon and almond are such good flavor friends that they have four letters in common, although this doesn’t work in French at all).

Aside from spreading lemon curd on toasts of baguette in the morning, or on English muffins, crumpets, and scones (a regional affinity thing), I like to spread it in the middle of a horizontally split yogurt cake, make sandwich cookies, or fill twee little tarts. I should probably note here that I am one of those people who drink lemon juice straight from the juicer, without water or sugar, so it is safe to say I like a tart lemon curd — if you prefer a milder one, use a bit less lemon juice, or a bit more sugar.

Almond Lemon Curd Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Makes 3 cups (the recipe can be halved, using one egg and one yolk).

Almond Lemon Curd Recipe

Ingredients

  • 125g (1 1/4 cup) almond flour (a.k.a. almond meal or ground almonds)
  • 3 large organic lemons (or 5 smaller ones), scrubbed, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200g (1 cup) sugar
  • 140g (5 ounces) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. Toast the almond flour in a large dry skillet until lightly golden and fragrant.
  2. Grate the zest from the lemons (I use a microplane zester), and set aside.
  3. Squeeze the juice from the lemons. Keep 240 ml (1 cup) for the recipe, and drink the rest straight from the juicer or fedex it to me.
  4. Choose a large, non-reactive, and heatproof mixing bowl among your kitchen cabinet possessions. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan and pour water into the saucepan so that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Remove the bowl, place the pan over medium heat, and bring the water to a low simmer.
  5. Beat the eggs in the bowl, and stir in the sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Add the butter, and place the bowl over the pan of simmering water.
  6. Stir gently with a whisk (you will be stirring, not beating, to avoid incorporating air) as the mixture heats and the butter melts. Keep stirring to allow the eggs to cook without curdling. After about 10 minutes, the mixture will thicken to a creamy, velvety consistency (if you dip a wooden spoon in and make a trace in the curd with your finger, the trace should remain clear; the mixture will thicken further as it cools).
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the ground almonds.
  8. Pour into clean jars, close tightly, and let cool. Keep in the fridge for up to a week. (The curd can also be freeze for up to a month.)

Notes

Suggested variations: use unsweetened coconut flakes in place of ground almonds, add dark chocolate to the mixture as it cooks to make a ganache lemon curd, or blend in cacao nibs once the curd has cooled and thickened a bit.

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/jams-nut-butters/almond-lemon-curd-recipe/

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  • http://parisbreakfasts.blogspot.com/ carolg@PB

    This picture captures the ultimate lemon curd, Clotilde, creamy, lush, unctuous with just the right kick of tartness. It’s easy to forget tart citron and lemon curd are related. I’ve sometimes gone round Paris (where else can you do this?) and bought up 5 different tart citron, laid them out on my hotel bed and started the taste testing. Next time I’ll just get the curd. Thanks

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/tea_cantata/ nattie

    Mmmmmm, lemons *and* almonds. I’m almost tempted to try this… Perhaps after I’m back from my lengthyish trip…

  • http://www.insanitytheory.net/kitchenwench Ellie

    Hi Clotilde, long time lurker, first time poster here :)

    I adore the look of that lemon curd…I’ve seen quite a few recipes for it but have never been daring enough to try it…till now (I’m afraid of all things that might curdle after my first attempt at mayonnaise)

    Just a quick question about the curd, how well does it keep? My family is not a big fan of citrus, so I’m wondering about the quantity that results from your recipe :)

  • http://sylcuisine.canalblog.com Sylvie

    I like Lemon curd, it’s delicious !
    My recipe had not butter.
    Good afternoon.

  • http://feuilledechou.net Framboise

    It looks sooooooooo good ! I’ll give it a try to change of my weekly lemon curd. But maybe you can help me before, what is the differnce between almond powder and almond meal ?

  • http://www.cookies-in-motion.com Bestvnteas

    Clotilde is of course the expert on this. But if I may venture a guess, I would say that there isn’t much difference between almond powder and almond meal except that the powder form is much finer in texture than meal.

  • iamchanelle

    i loved this post, clotilde! excellent writing, humor, and lemons. all of my favourite things!!!

    funny thing! i just fresh-squeezed some lemons yesterday, but alas, i used my 1 cup of juice for amaretto sours! (all for myself – ahem…!)
    :)

  • http://nami-nami.blogspot.com Pille

    Such a great idea to add toasted almonds to your lemon curd, Clotilde. And a lovely post as well:)

  • http://alicethekamel.blogspot.com/ Krysten

    i will setting this recipe aside for when i finish my current jar of lemon curd. i keep fresh squeezed lemon juice in my freezer (frozen in ice cube trays), so i always have some for recipes, YUM! makes for lovely additions to cold drinks as well.

  • http://mdessy.blogspot.com Mira

    What a lovely looking curd, makes me want to try to make some. Unfortunately living in New England I don’t have fresh organic lemons so I’m sure it won’t be as nice.

    I can see it paired with a lovely rhubarb tart.

  • http://kitchenette.blogspirit.com kitchenette

    Nice combination! It must taste like “calisson”! I one tried lime and coconut curd, it was absolutely delicious.

  • http://www.frunt.org Ant

    Oh great. I had three lemons hanging around today that needed using up. I made some lemonade. And then came here when it was too late. And you know what’s worse? I also have some ground almonds knocking about.

    I’ll have to get some more lemons.

  • http://pbase.com/wintkat Kathy Winters

    Hi, I have been following and enjoying your blog since I first read about it in Budget Travel Magazine. Today I saw your lemon curd post and wanted to contact you. When I make lemon curd I’m always amazed how beautiful it looks in the jars. The yellow color is wonderful and leads you in for a taste. I’m passing along the link for the recipe I use from Fine Cooking Magazine. I have been making it for years. After the first time was so successful I now quadruple the recipe and load up the freezer with the bounty. It freezes very well and is available for a quick dessert. Thanks for your delightful blog. Kathy
    http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/pages/c00197_rec01.asp

  • http://na-zdravi.blogspot.com/ Dianka

    LOVE the addition of almonds in the lemon curd. I too can eat lemon curd with anything. I’m so jealous you have access to those organic lemons!

    ~Dianka
    http://na-zdravi.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.thecookingcritic.com Christine

    It’s always funny to see that other bloggers are on the same culinary page–I just posted some entries on lemon curd in pies and cupcakes on my blog. I really like your addition of almonds. Very clever.

  • http://icecreamireland.com/ Kieran

    Cool post. We just made lemon curd ice cream. Quite delicious!

  • http://www.winosandfoodies.typepad.com/ barbara

    Lemon curd is also wonderful stirred into plain yoghurt.

  • Gisele

    Mmmm…lemons…

    This recipe has hit the spot, I know what I’m going to be making this weekend!

    Lemons, along with garlic, are probably the two ingredients I couldn’t live without!

    Thanks Clotilde!

  • http://www.itsyourdaycakes.com MelC

    Oh YUM!! I too love lemons… as a child I would take them to school for a snack & eat them like any other child would eat oranges!

    Try a few raspberries added in for a delightful twist to your curd!

  • julie

    Your Almond Lemon Curd looks soooo delicious!!! You’re truly an inspiration!!!

  • Joan

    Clotilde, I thank my lucky stars each and every time I read a new page of yours…that you give us the image of lemons with calligraphy! lemons with language…lemons with lemon curd! for the photos of such charm day after delightful day…for the poetry of you that you so sweetly share with the world..for the Clotildeness of your dear self..merci merci merci..:-)

  • Stephane

    Before reading the recipe, I didn’t understand one could use eggs in something just like “confiture”, even if I had read other recipes, but… not from Chocolate and Zucchini. Eggs aren’t always a good idea. I could only imagine a lemon curd made with raw eggwhites, and maybe that would have given such a soft texture (hmmm quite sicky, gelatinous and disgusting too). Now I understand. I think I have to try…
    Just one thing, I don’t know exactly why but I’m not sure I would appreciate cacao nibs in this recipe, on the other hand I love the idea of chocolate ganache. Unlimited combinations of the lemon curd (with candied orange, mint, rosemary…)

  • http://moon-pie.blogspot.com/ Kate

    That looks fabulous! I made my first successful lemon curd recently…but the addition of almonds is delightful.

    I’m actually on a bit of a lemon overdrive, after purchasing “Lemon Zest” by Lori Longbotham (at the recommendation of Cream Puff at http://creampuffsinvenice.typepad.com/). So far I’ve made lemon cream pasta, lemon tilapia, lemonade, lemon oil…the cookbook is great.

  • Donna

    Clotilde! Glorious pic and great recipe!

    Since I have my own organic Eureka lemon tree in the front yard, there is virtually no separation from that tree to my lemon curd! I love the idea of adding the toasted ground almonds and I will be trying this over the weekend! I like to make a lot of it and keep it in the fridge to give as hostess gifts. Another favorite – and very pretty also – is preserved lemons. For that I use Meyers off the trees in the back yard! I just ADORE this aspect of living in California!

  • Libby

    Here is my favourite Lemon Curd recipe. It comes from Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion. It’s very easy to make, and only using egg yolks reduces the risk of curdling. Plus I then have egg whites left over for almond bread, which I make each week. I also love it with raspberries stirred through.

    LEMON CURD

    4 egg yolks
    2/3 cup caster sugar
    60g unsalted butter
    2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
    100ml lemon juice

    Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until well combined but not frothy.
    Tip into a heavy based non-reactive saucepan and add the butter, zest and juice.
    Stirring constantly, bring to simmering point over medium-high heat (about 5 minutes).
    As soon as bubbles appear, remove from heat whilst still stirring.
    Allow to cool and pour into sterilized jars if not using immediately.

  • http://www.jenniferduartedesign.com jenny

    How beautiful. I’ve always been a bit afraid of making lemon curd; maybe I’ll try it…

  • http://www.carablack.com Cara

    Yum…so tempting. But would Meyer lemons correspond to the organics of Nice? If so my friend has a Meyer lemon tree in her yard and I’d love to try it…any advice Clotilde?

  • Donna Smith-Harrison

    Meyers are too delicate and sweet for lemon curd – you don’t get the tang. They’re great for lemon sorbet and we often combine the Meyers with the Eurekas and the Rangpur limes for a citrus ade.

  • http://www.paristriptips.com paristriptips

    That looks so perfect. Thank you for the recipe, it is great for the summer.

  • Laura

    My brother and I used to have lemon sucking contests at restaurants. You couldn’t make any faces because then the grownups would figure out what you were doing….

    Needless to say, I am thrilled to see a tart lemon curd recipe! I had no idea you could put it on toast though. I have always had it on pound cakes/in desserty ways.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  • http://deetsasdiningroom.blogspot.com/ Nerissa

    Sometimes I’m glad that I (so-far) suck at making custardy-type dishes. Saves my waist from added poundage when I down the whole curd jar in an afternoon. *sigh* that looks so divine

  • http://willows95988.typepad.com/ tongue in cheek

    Thank you for the recipe! I was in Nice yesterday and bought some lemons, oversized giants gumdrops really! I cannot wait to try your recipe, I have tried before without success.
    Again I must tell you how much I admire your writing! Brava!!

  • Manidipa

    Speaking of almonds, I just brought home from the market the season’s first basket of green almonds (baby almond fruits, in fuzzy green oval capsules; not to be confused with the pistachio, also sometimes called the ‘green almond’ in parts of the Middle East and Med). Of course, the time-honoured tradition of eating them chilled in icy water, with a little salt on the side to dip in, is my first line of attack. But now that I’m thinking of returning for more — they’re only available a fortnight or so — i’d love to hear of any other recipes you might have for this rare treat.

  • Your papounet

    Manidipa, which part of the world do you hail from, where this tradition is honoured from time immemorial?

  • Manidipa

    I hail from India, where one does tend to find these fruits in and around the southern Deccan plateau where plantations are raised, as well as a few other pockets where almond trees grow well (such as in the eastern end, where i’m from). People in the other parts of this last country tend not to know them, though, having met them only recently with better cold-storage and transport facilities. I found them in Delhi, where i now live, only last year. Back home, I’ve nevr actually seen them sold — one merely *steals* them off the tree (ok, this is strictly for underage offenders) and munches them on the way home to do away with evidence before the irate owner (who was hoping to save them for almonds) comes to see your parents with a complaint. In the South, though, one does tend to see them in markets, and I believe they are added to curries and such.

  • Manidipa

    btw, it’s a tradition of known and active memory in my part of the world, ie, eastern India, rather than from ‘time memorial’. As i mention in my last, most people are no longer familiar with these except the areas where they are too abundant to miss. Alas, that seems to be the case with many of the less “mainstream” fruits and veggies — they have failed to enter the “canon” and been lost, pending rediscovery, in the ‘time immemorial’, literally.

  • http://www.chezclot.com/blog Clotilde (mais pas celle qui cuisine)

    Oooooh, j’adore le lemon curd, et ta photo me met en appétit… il n’y a pas un endroit secret où on peut lire tes notes en français?

  • http://maegabriel.com/riceandnoodles mae

    This sounds delicious. I can certainly imagine it being sandwich in a cookie! You’re so lucky to be able to get your hands on these organic lemons – or is it how lucky for those lemons to have ended up with you and as lemon curd.

  • marie

    I can’t wait to try this at home. and I have also ben through the experience of egg lumps….
    thanks!
    marie

  • http://sooishi.blogspot.com/ ooishigal

    Bonjour Clotilde!
    J’ai posté une recette sur mon blog,
    si tu veux utiliser ton lemon curd de façon originale….
    ;-)

    A bientôt

  • http://mylifeasareluctanthousewife.blogspot.com Gabriella True

    will make this weekend I hope. I don’t like my lemon curd recipe.

  • IsabeL

    Gosh! That looks soooo delicious!!!!

    Speaking of the gâteau-yaourt with lemon curd, Have you ever tried orange curd with chocolate cake??? I seriously recommend it.

    Great blog, BTW!

    Isabel

  • http://cookingwithideas.typepad.com/cooking_with_ideas/ Susan Henking

    I love the idea of thinking about what to do with lemons — though yesterday I made preserved lemons for the first time and it took a huge amount of lemons. So, if you need to use up more lemons from your sister (or from elsewhere!) I recommend preserved lemons. I will eventually have something on this on my blog at http://cookingwithideas.typepad.com/cooking_with_ideas/

    I love the combination of chocolate and zucchinies too!

  • http://www.frunt.org Ant

    I’ve just made this and it looks fantastic. Can’t wait until it’s cool enough to eat.

  • tony roscioli

    Not lemon curd alone, but the base of lemon delicious pudding is similar.

    45g butter
    1 tbsp caster sugar
    2 tsp lemon rind
    3 eggs separated
    35g sifted plain flour
    1 cup milk
    1/4 cup lemon juice

    Beat the butter and sugar until creamed, add rind and egg yolks and beat well. Fold in flour, milk and then the lemon juice. Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form and fold into batter. Place in ramekins (4 to 6) and bake at 160 celsius for 20 minutes in a water bath.

    It will be “cakey” on top and like lemon curd at the base. Lemon and lime, Lemon and mandarin also work.

    enjoy!

  • georgina

    I made lemon curd for years with a double boiler (long and tedious in large quantities), then went for direct heat, heavy pan, continuous stirring into the sides with ice cold water in sink to dunk it into in case you think you are doing it too fast. Nigella Lawson said it works – and it did! Perfectly. If you want to make plenty then it cuts the time massively! I heat fast til it is uncomfortable to put my finger in and then slow it right down.

    My 6 year old is now able to do it and is very good at telling me when I need to come and give it my eagle eye!

  • Kate

    oh, Clothile – where were you and your lemon curd suggestion when I had a bag of ripe lemons and no desire to make (yet another) batch of lemon squares? *sigh* Well, at least now I am prepared for the next such instance! (although I never have such perfect lemons) :(

  • http://www.steppingstonescoaching.blogspot.com Sarah Raad

    I made mini pots of passionfruit curd which were used as favours at my best friend’s wedding. It’s intense, fruity and so sweet, like all the best marriages!

  • Ee

    Never thought of making lemon curd at home as i have the impression that it is MISSION IMPOSSIBLE!

    After years of satisfying my cravings through store bought lemon curd and lemon meringue tart, i decided to give it a go after reading your article. Summing up all my courage on a rainy afternoon, the almond lemon curd turned out be fantastic. Stunning colour with the right texture! I was in cloud nine!

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  • Kate O.

    I’ve just finished making another version of lemon curd, this one with calamansi rind and juice. It tastes great – kind of like a cross between lemon and orange. But I had no idea what to do with it. I like the ideas you offered, as a spread and in sandwhich cookies. I’m also wondering if it wouldn’t be really good swirled into a berry sorbet near the end of churning, like a fruity fudge. Mmmm.

  • margaret

    re DS-H’s above post, most West Coast pastry chefs believe that Meyer lemons make perhaps the quintessential lemon curd. Legend has it that someone associated with Chez Panisse had a Meyer tree in his backyard, brought some into the kitchen and the rest is history.

  • Angela

    You really got me hooked on lemon curd! Did you ever try to combine the lemon with some fresh mint leaves chopped in small bits? We like using that for a dessert tart, the minty touch together with the lemon is great after a good dinner!

  • sherri

    a handy tip. a pinch of ground cumin in a tart lemon recipe actually accentuates the lemonyness. Strange but true. Has to be only a pinch though. Haven’t tested it in lemon cake, only lemon fudgey sort of stuff like curd.

  • http://bakersnook.wordpress.com/ Melanie

    I’ve just made three lovely little jars of your delicious lemon curd: plain, almond, and coconut (at your divine suggestion!). Although I made a mini-batch with only one lemon and less sugar, the spread is wonderfully rich and zesty! It was my Sunday morning breakfast on a half of an english muffin. Nothing better to welcome in spring than bright, sunny lemons! Thanks so much and all the best :)

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