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Lemon Curd: Microwave or Stove?

I don’t know if you remember this post, but I’m inundated with lemons at the moment. So far I have made one batch of candied lemon peel (So good it was gone before I could take a picture), one batch of lemon marmalade (not as good as I was hoping it would be – so will possibly make a second batch and see how it goes), one batch of lemon cupcakes (upcoming post!) and two batches of lemon curd. Why two batches you ask? Well, a)it tastes really yummy, b)it’s surprisingly easy, and c) I wanted to. However, I was talking to a friend of mine about the fact that I was planning on making lemon curd, and she told me that she makes hers in the microwave. I was instantly curious – I had not thought it was possible to make it in the microwave. She brought out her little jar from the fridge and offered me a teaspoon to try. I’m not one to turn down free sweet stuff, so I dug in. And I noticed a strange, slightly powdery/floury undercurrent to it which I wasn’t expecting. But I put it down to the recipe or maybe my imagination, and decided to try it for myself.

End result – I made lemon curd in the microwave. Extremely quick and easy, rather tasty, and a good way to get lemon curd if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to stand in front of a stove for ten minutes. However – I have to admit I was disappointed with the end result. I know lemon curd to be sublimely smooth, and this just wasn’t. Then I thought that maybe I was enhancing the taste of the stove-made lemon curd in my mind, and that I should really make a batch of the stove-top version and compare the two.

Comparison of the two:

Taste: 

Stove: 9/10  Microwave: 7/10 (Even though the microwave version had more lemon juice in it, I found the stove version had a more intense lemon flavour)

Texture:

Stove: 10/10 Microwave: 6/10 (The stove version was just so smooth and bright and fresh that it beat the microwave version hands down. If you had never tasted a stove version lemon curd, however, you would probably not find a problem with the microwave texture.)

Method:

Stove: 6/10 Microwave: 10/10 (The stove version takes a lot more time and effort, as well as having more steps involved. The microwave version really was a lot easier, and seemed to be pretty foolproof.

Conclusion:
Stove: 25/30 Microwave: 23/30

End result – the stove version was better and tastier and (in my opinion anyway) worth the extra time and effort. When I got Hubby to taste the two – he told me that the stove one was “more more-ish” – which I think pretty much sums it up!

Here is the recipe for the microwave version:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (most recipe call for unsalted, but I don’t have unsalted. I used normal butter and didn’t have a problem)
  • zest of 2-3 lemons (If you want your curd completely smooth, strain out the zest at the end.

Method:

Mix everything in a microwave proof bowl (the larger the better – you want there to be plenty of space available so that if the mixture bubbles up it won’t spill over). Put it into the microwave for about 6 minutes, stopping and stirring each minute. You will notice that it starts to thicken around the 4 or 5 minute mark – once it’s thickened appreciably you can stop cooking it. It should be slightly thinner than custard – and if you dip the back of a spoon into it there should be a fairly thickish layer on the back. It will thicken a lot more as it cools. Pour it into a sterilized jar. Once cooled, keep it in the fridge.

And the recipe for the stove top version:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • zest of a lemon – again, this is optional.

Method:

Mix the sugar, eggs and lemon juice in a pyrex dish/heat-safe bowl. Put it over a pot simmering water – you want it to be stable in the pot but not be touching the water. Alternatively, you can just use a double-boiler if you have one of those. With the bowl over the simmering water, start whisking/stirring. You don’t have to put a lot of effort into it – you really just want to keep it moving all the time. We’re not trying to whip cream here – just trying to make sure it cooks nice and evenly. What I did was I got a book. I read it while standing in front of the stove and stirring – otherwise I would have got too bored. But that’s me – you don’t have to do that. You’ll notice it starting to thicken around 8 minutes or so. Again – you want it to be a bit thinner than custard, and if you put a spoon into it it will leave a nice thickish layer on the back of the spoon.

Take it off the heat and strain it. You’ll notice that there are some strange white things left on the sieve – that’s bits of cooked egg which weren’t incorporated into the curd properly. That’s what we’re straining out.

While it’s still nice and hot, stir in the butter – it should melt in very nicely – as well as the zest. Again, pour it into a clean jar, allow to cool then put it into the fridge.

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6 thoughts on “Lemon Curd: Microwave or Stove?

  1. Get empty mini-quiche crusts, put in some lemon curd, chopped up fruit/berries. Top with whipped cream. Eat! Been meaning to try this for ages. Sounds so delicious.

  2. Call me old fashioned, but i find things cooked on the stove is more of a far better quality than microwave. Yes microwave cake is nice and amazing, but far few in between. I normally use my microwave to re-heat. Or in lazy days cook my veggies. LOL!! Lemon curd is yummy. You can pipe some inside a cupcake.

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