Just the right balance of sweet and sour, this lime curd recipe is a must! Use as a spread for scones or pancakes, or an easy filling for cakes and tarts. Ready in minutes, and you can use now or freeze for later.
Have you ever found yourself in a mood for a particular food and nothing can fix it until you make all.the.things. with it? When that strikes with lime, you need lime curd. Especially once you see what I’ve been making with it recently… when I’m not just eating lime curd with a spoon, because efficiency. And if you haven’t made your own citrus curd before, now is a good time to start!
First of all, because you probably won’t find lime curd on the shelf at your local store, so you have a supply/demand problem. Second, because once you master this lime curd recipe, there’s no stopping you. You’ll look for reasons to buy extra limes just to make it. Lime curd will be stashed in cute little jars in the fridge, small containers in the freezer, spooned into tarts. And the best part is, you can make it with EITHER key limes or the more easily found Persian limes. Hooray!
You see, the sugar and acid content between key limes and Persian or Tahitian limes is about the same. At least, according to this article I read on Fine Cooking. Both the Godfather and I did notice a difference, but it was very slight, and if we weren’t Florida natives with a particular affinity for key limes, I don’t think we would have noticed.
So use what you can find, because lime curd is a dessert staple appropriate year-round.
In the summertime, bright citrus flavors are a natural choice for desserts because of the bright flavors. But citrus is actually in season in the winter, and fresh limes are a sure way to forget the chill in the outside air.
A few notes about this lime curd recipe…
I recommend straining it using a fine mesh sieve. No matter how fine you think your food processor pulsed the zest, you’ll still be able to feel it in the final product. If a little texture in your curd doesn’t bother you, don’t strain. But a non-scientific survey of 4 people I know that don’t all live in my house says that a smooth curd is preferable. Straining also helps catch any egg bits if you get a little distracted while cooking and stop stirring for a minute. Not that it’s ever happened to me… of course not. And it won’t happen to you. But if theoretically it should happen, all is not lost.
If the comment about a food processor surprised you, let me explain. You can absolutely zest the limes by hand. It’s quite therapeutic, and results in less dishes. But if you want to make a double batch of curd, that’s a lot of zesting! A trick I picked up from Ina Garten is to use a peeler to zest the citrus and then pulse the peels in the food processor with the sugar until they are very fine. You’ll have a few more dishes, but it will save you a few minutes of prep time. I usually zest by hand for a single batch using my box grater, and use the food processor trick for a double batch since I don’t have a mini food processor anymore.
I believe it is possible to can curd using a pressure canner, but I have not done it, nor can I vouch for this recipe as being safe to can. I would imagine that pressure canning will result in a thicker final product. If I don’t plan to use the lime curd within a few weeks, I freeze it. Just place in your freezer container and press a layer of plastic wrap or parchment paper touching the surface of the lime curd. This prevents a skin from forming and freezer crystals from changing the texture of your curd. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before use. Easy!
- ¼ lb unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons lime zest, about 3 standard limes or 6 key limes
- ⅔ c lime juice
- 1½ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Use a serrated peeler to carefully peel the skin off your limes, avoiding the white part as much as possible. Pulse the zest strips together the sugar and lime zest in a small food processor until very fine.
- You may also opt to hand grate the limes to remove the zest if you'd prefer and then just combine the sugar and grated zest in your saucepan.
- Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the zest sugar, juice, eggs, and salt. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and the curd thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. This takes about 15 minutes. Don't stop stirring!
- You should be able to lift the spoon out of the curd, and draw a visible line in what remains on the back of the spoon. You'll also feel it thicken as you stir.
- Once the curd has reached the desired thickness, remove from the heat, run through a fine mesh strainer into a heat-proof container. Once cool, store in the refrigerator with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface of the curd. Will keep in the refrigerator up to a month. You may also freeze the cooled curd up to 4 months (maybe longer, I've not gone beyond 4).