Lemon Curd; Lemon or Orange Sauce

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd

by Cat, January 2008 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Dessert Sauces

Includes: 1. Lemon curd (3 versions); 2. Lemon or Orange Sauce

These are old-fashioned sauces used for old-fashioned desserts. Lemon Curd is an excellent sauce for steamed puddings and gingerbread.  It is also good spread on scones or rusk.  And of course it is used for lemon meringue pie. It will keep up to a week if stored in a clean dry jar with a screw-top lid, or for 3 months in the fridge.

The third version of lemon curd is the Rolls Royce recipe, but it takes a lot of time and attention. If you are in a hurry, make one of the other versions.

While egg thickens the lemon curd, the lemon/orange sauce is thickened with cornstarch or substitute.

Lemon Curd Version I

This first recipe, from Delia Online (1), calls for golden caster sugar.  In general, caster sugar is the English name for granulated sugar ground very fine (also called superfine, bar, or bakers sugar in the US).  White caster sugar can be purchased at Amazon.

The golden variety is made from dried cane juice.  If you cannot find the golden variety, substitute half white superfine sugar and half Rapadura sugar (unrefined, dehydrated sugar can juice).

I’ve not tested this recipe.  I would like to try this recipe using 1 Tbsp Rapadura sugar and ⅜ tsp powdered stevia extract, instead of the ¾ cup golden caster sugar.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 2 lemons
  • ¾ cup golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • Equipment:
  • double boiler
  • small bowl
  • whisk


  1. Grate the zest of the two lemons, and place in the top of a double boiler with the sugar.
  2. Juice the lemons into small bowl; if using stevia, stir it into the lemon juice. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time.  Pour this mixture over the sugar.  Add the butter cut into little pieces.
  3. Set over pan of barely simmering water.  Stir frequently with whisk until thickened, about 20 minutes.  

Lemon Curd Version II

This recipe is adapted from a lemon meringue pie recipe in Home Baking Made Easy, by Virginia Roberts (2). It is very similar to the lemon sauce below, except for the addition of egg yolks, which are critical to the jelly-like texture of lemon curd.

The original recipe called for white flour, but I prefer to use tapioca starch (or Organic cornstarch) for a clearer lemon curd.  And I choose to use maple syrup and stevia instead of ¾ cup sugar.

If you use this for lemon meringue pie, prepare the meringue by whipping 3 egg whites and 1 Tbsp cold water until stiff; then beat in 6 Tbsp sugar.  Pile meringue on top of lemon filling in a pie shell.  Bake 20 minutes at 3250 F, or until delicately browned.  I’ve not tested this recipe.

Ingredients & Equipment:


  1. Grate rind from 1 lemon; Squeeze 1/4 cup lemon juice and stir in stevia. Set aside.
  2. Mix cornstarch/arrowroot with cold water and honey or maple syrup in saucepan.  Gradually add boiling water, stirring constantly.
  3. Cook over medium heat until thick and clear.
  4. Beat egg yolks with whisk.  Stir 1/2 cup of hot mixture into yolks and whisk to combine, then and back to the boiling mixture.
  5. Remove from heat.  Stir in salt, butter, lemon juice and zest until butter dissolves.  Chill until set.

Lemon Curd Version III

This version is adapted from Fancy Pantry, by Helen Witty. I consider this the Rolls royce of lemon curd recipes, but as noted above, it takes a lot of time and attention to make.

Makes 3 cups.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 2 – 3 lemons (to yield 1 ½ Tbsp zest (packed) and ½ cup strained juice)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut up
  • Pinch unrefined sea salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • ½ tsp stevia extract powder plus 2 Tbsp Rapadura or white cane sugar (or 1 ¼ cups  sugar and no stevia)
  • Equipment:
  • double boiler
  • grater and juicer
  • medium bowl
  • hand or stand mixer (fitted with whisk)
  • egg whisk


  1. Bring water to a boil in bottom of double boiler, then cover and reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Grate 1 ½ Tbsp zest (packed) and squeeze ½ cup juice from the lemons, and place both in top of double boiler. Add stevia, if using.
  3. Cut up butter and add to zest and juice, along with the pinch of salt. Set aside.
  4. In bowl, beat the yolks and whole egg together until foamy. Gradually add sugar while beating, until mixture is pale, fluffy and very thick, about 5 minutes.
  5. Scrape yolk mixture into top of double boiler and set atop the base containing simmering water, and immediately begin whisking the mixture. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until it has thickened smoothly and is steaming hot, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the curd. It is done when it will coat a metal spoon heavily.
  6. Remove upper pan from hot water; pour the curd through a fine sieve set over a  bowl and press it through with a rubber spatula, leaving the shreds of zest behind.
  7. Transfer curd to sterilized jar(s), let it cool, then screw on the caps(s) with sterilized lids. Refrigerate.

Lemon or Orange Sauce

This lemon sauce from Betty Crocker’s 1989 cookbook (3) is thickened with cornstarch as well as eggs.  Orange zest and juice can be substituted for lemon.  The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar, but I choose to use stevia with honey or maple syrup.

Makes about 1 cup sauce

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 lemon (or 1 lemon and 1 orange for orange sauce)
  • ⅛ tsp stevia extract powder *
  • 1 Tbsp raw local honey or Grade-B maple syrup *
  • 2 Tbsp Organic/non-GMO cornstarch or ¼ cup tapioca starch
  • 1 cup filtered water (or ½ cup for orange sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Equipment:
  • enameled cast iron saucepan
  • whisk

* or use ½ cup Rapadura or white cane sugar instead of the stevia and honey/maple syrup


  • Prep for Lemon Sauce: Grate 1 Tbsp zest from the lemon; set aside.
  • Squeeze 1 Tbsp juice from the lemon; stir in stevia (if using); set aside.
  • Prep for Orange Sauce: Grate 2 tsp zest each from the lemon and orange; set aside.
  • Squeeze 1 Tbsp juice from the lemon and ½ cup juice from the orange; add ½ cup filtered water. Stir in stevia (if using), and set aside.
  • Lemon or Orange sauce: Mix honey or maple syrup, starch and ¼ cup water in an enameled cast iron saucepan; gradually stir in remaining ¾ cup water.
  • Place over medium heat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens and comes to a boil.  Boil 1 minute, whisking or stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat.  Stir in butter, zest and lemon/orange juice until butter dissolves.
  • Serve warm or cool.


  1. Delia Online recipe: deliaonline.com/recipes/canary-puddings-with-lemon-curd-topping,1004,RC.html
  2. Home Baking Made Easy, by Virginia Roberts, Director Occident Home Baking Institute
  3. Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, New and Revised, copyright 1986, 1978, 1969 by General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis MN
  4. Fancy Pantry, by Helen Witty, copyright 1986 and published by Workman Publishing, New York

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