This recipe is meant to accompany the Lemon-Curd Pound Cake recipe, but would be delicious for a variety of uses.

The key to a clean, bright lemon curd that has no hint of egg is to cook it low and slow in a nonreactive bowl on a double boiler. Eggs are sensitive to heat and certain metals, so we need to be gentle with them, or they can give off a sulfur smell and taste that will shift our sublime curd to something that tastes metallic. For the best results, use a stainless-steel or glass bowl (glass takes longer, because it doesn’t conduct heat as quickly). The bowl should fit snugly within the pan, so it traps the steam.

Makes about 2 cups


  • 6 egg yolks, at room temperature

  • 1 cup / 200g granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup / 120ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • Zest of 2 lemons

  • 1/2 cup / 110g unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

  • 1 pinch kosher salt

In a medium stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, butter, and salt.

Put 1 inch / 2.5cm of water in the bottom of a double boiler or a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Place the bowl with the lemon mixture over the simmering water.

Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture constantly, making sure to clean the sides of the bowl as you go, until the lemon curd begins to thicken, about 10 minutes; it will be the consistency of smooth pudding.

If there are any lumps in the curd, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a shallow container and cover with plastic wrap, pressed directly onto the surface, to prevent a skin from forming.

In a large bowl, add enough ice cubes and cold water to create a bath for the container to sit in without the water breaching the sides.

Set the container in the ice bath or place in the freezer until chilled, about 15 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Try the curd with lime, grapefruit, or passion fruit for a different taste sensation. Prepare as directed but swap out the lemon for another type of juice and zest. Or try an orange-lemon curd, using 1/4 cup / 60ml orange juice and 1/4 cup / 60ml lemon juice, plus the zest of 1/2 orange. (Oranges on their own will be too sweet.)

Reprinted from Zoe Bakes Cakes. Copyright © 2021 by Zoë François. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.