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Mar 14, 2010 07:12 PM

How to thicken lemon curd for a tart

I make a lemon curd recipe that is too "puddinglike"
what can I do to thicken ?

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  1. To me pudding like would be totally fine for a tart, But I expect you are defining it differently. So, maybe if you cite your lemon curd recipe can see when it is going wrong\?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      I'm assuming s/he wants it to hold its shape when cut. The fillings used for lemon tarts usually contain cornstarch.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        My recipe contains 2 eggs and 2 yolks and no cornstarch. I make sure to cook it enough and it holds it's shape very well.

    2. Usually egg yolk is used to thicken curd. I wonder if you need more?

      It would be interesting to see your recipe.

      1. Are you using fresh lemons? If you're using bottled lemon juice or some other type of lemon extract ingredient it's difficult, if not impossible, to make a decent lemon curd.
        Did you cook it long enough? It takes about ten minutes to thoroughly finish cooking lemon curd and undercooked lemon curd can be somewhat thin bodied.

        1. Did you pour the lemon curd into a fully baked tart crust and bake it for another 10 minutes or so? This second baking will firm up the curd. A good delicate lemon tart does not need any starch.

          1. Thanks to everyone who responded and gave me helpful ideas Here is my receipe with my notes after last time
            • 4 large eggs
            • Yolk of 2 large egg
            • 1/2 cup Splenda
            • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
            • Zest of 2 lemons
            • 1/4 cup limoncello
            • 6 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
            • 1 (9-inch) pie crust ( 1 1/4 cup graham crackers crumbled and add 1/2 stick butter melted) cool in fridge
            Bring water to a simmer in bottom of a double boiler.
            Separately , place eggs, yolk and sugar in top part of double boiler, and beat together off the heat. beat until thick
            Whisk in lemon juice and zest, and place mixture over simmering water, making sure pan doesn't touch the water.
            Whisk until curd thickens, about 5 minutes, being careful not to let it boil.(takes longer)
            Remove from heat. Stir in limoncello and butter until butter has melted.
            Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve,
            COOL then and spread in pie shell.
            Chill until set, at least 6 hours. When ready to serve, garnish with berries.
            Makes 6 servings

            to everyone who gave me more suggestions. I will try them.

            4 Replies
            1. re: MS1

              you don't need to add anything to the recipe to make the curd thicker, just cook/whisk it longer. Last time I made curd I failed to check the viscosity while cooking and once it cooled, it was so thick it did not pour at all - the texture was really firm, like guava paste; when I scooped out a spoonful it came out holding the shape like hard ice cream does when spooned out of the container!

              1. re: MS1

                MS, sorry to say but I think the Splenda is the culprit. When you use real sugar, it adds a certain volume, weight, heft to the finished product. I also wonder about the alcohol effect thinning the curd from the Limoncello.

                Have you successfully made this in the past or is this a new recipe and your first experience? Am very curious about your recipe as I have always wanted to do a sugar free lemon or lime curd and am nervous about the Splenda effect. Please reply - thanks!

                1. re: Diane in Bexley

                  Agreed, Splenda as possible culprit.

                  That said, from the OP's recipe, 6 egg yolks, plus 3 oz butter, to 1/2 cup liquid total should be very adequate for a nicely thickened curd. Brings me back to the Splenda, that, or too short a cooking time for proper thickening.

                  Unless there's a dietary, medical or other basic health reason/concern for why the OP is using a sugar sub, which I certainly respect, I would switch back to sugar. It's only a half cup.

                2. re: MS1

                  MS1, the recipe I use for classic lemon curd contains just 4 egg yolks, 10 to 16 tablespoons sugar (depending on the sweetness of whatever I'm pairing the curd with), 6 tablespoons lemon juice, lemon zest, and 4 tablespoons butter. So maybe if you try making your curd with egg yolks only, you'll achieve a thicker result. And maybe the limoncello is too much liquid?

                  I also never make it in a double boiler, always in a heavy saucepan directly over medium low heat. That may work better for you, it allows the curd to get hotter than it would over simmering water.