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Low Fat Lemon Curd

Light Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is a thick and custardy combination of lemon juice, sugar, eggs and butter. It typically has a silky smooth texture and a bright, zesty flavor. It goes well with scones – especially as a contrast to buttery clotted cream – and is often used as a cake filling, tart filling or as a sauce or side for other desserts. For a citrus lover, few things are tastier.

Lemon curd tastes so good that it’s hard to stop at only a few bites. Unfortunately, the rich consistency of lemon curd primarily comes from fat and, although the zest of the lemon makes the curd taste lighter, most versions are far from health food and you really shouldn’t overindulge – especially if you’re serving the curd alongside butter and cream-based traditional scones, as well.

In Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts (sadly out of print, but often available used), Alice Medrich includes a recipe for a lightened up lemon curd that is absolutely fantastic. I’ve been making it for years and, happily, don’t feel too bad if I eat half the batch in one go. The curd has a silky smooth texture and great lemon flavor. In fact, it is much brighter than many lemon curds I’ve had. The recipe is easy to make as long as you have one or two fresh lemons around. I’ve also adapted it to make lime curd before with great success.

Light Lemon Curd
(from Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts)
1/3 cup strained, fresh lemon juice
2 tsp fresh lemon zest
5 tbsp sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, combine sugar and lemon juice. Add zest and stir until sugar is dissolved completely.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg. Whisking constantly (or with an electric mixer on low), very slowly stream the hot lemon-sugar syrup into the egg. Beat for 2 minutes (only 1 if you’re using a mixer), then transfer back into the saucepan by pouring the mixture through a sieve.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the curd just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Transfer to a small airtight container and store in the fridge.

Makes about 2/3 cup. Recipe can be doubled.

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34 Comments
  • kickpleat
    April 22, 2008

    sounds amazing! i love lemon curd and don’t make it nearly enough because i’ll eat it all. i’m definitely going to try this recipe.

  • Charlsie Swadley
    April 22, 2008

    Wow just reading this post made my mouth start watering! I really enjoy lemon curd. By the way great blog, I really enjoy reading it and getting ideas. Baking is therapeutic to me and I really get some neat ideas from here.

  • elinluv
    April 23, 2008

    Will try this recipe…lemon curd tartlet..yummY. Great blog:)

  • sharon
    April 23, 2008

    Thanks for the low fat recipe. Lemon curd is one of those things that seems like it should be low fat, but usually isn’t at all. It’d be delicious in between layers of angel food cake…yum!

  • Ella
    April 23, 2008

    Could you use this curd for the Meyer lemon curd tart you have posted? I’m guessing it would need to be doubled or maybe tripled. My only problem with lemon curd is that the butter seems to get in the way of the lemon sometimes, so I look forward to trying this!

  • doreen
    April 23, 2008

    I don’t recall ever eating lemon curd, but I’ve heard great things about how yummy it is. I’ll definitely have to try it for a cake filling!

  • Jj
    April 23, 2008

    This looks great! Like Doreen said, would make a great cake filling. Thanks!

  • Augustina
    April 23, 2008

    thanks for the heads up on this one. I have the Medrich cookbook and didn’t even see this recipe! definitely something i’d like to try. Your lemon curd picture looks great!

  • Penny
    July 19, 2008

    I don’t know what year this was posted, but this recipe is FANTASTIC. I changed it slightly, using a combo of 2 T sugar and 2 T Splenda (cutting the total sweetener by 1 T), and I omitted the vanilla extract, because I like a much more tart product. However, it still turned out wonderful.

    I used it to make a mini-tart with a cream-cheese/masa crust, and poured on fresh blueberries before the curd was fully set in the tart shell.

    Two thumbs up! Thanks so much!

  • Rainier Wolfcastle
    January 17, 2009

    Made this with Meyer lemons from our tree, exactly as specified except we used bulk Splenda instead of sugar. Fantastic, easy, very low in calories with the Splenda, what’s not to like? Thank you!!

  • Angela
    February 7, 2009

    Just made this and it’s the BEST. I’m saving this forever!

  • Dawn
    April 4, 2009

    I have made this twice now and I love it!

    I used 1T less sugar than called for, and it could have used even less than that. And this time I added some tart blood oranges.. and it was both beautiful and delicious!

  • Namia
    April 8, 2009

    Would this recipe work by substituting orange juice to make orange curd? I loved the idea from your angel food cake post of serving the cake with orange curd! I think I’ll try it and see how it goes.

  • KrisBelucci
    June 1, 2009

    I really liked this post. Can I copy it to my site? Thank you in advance.

  • CrisBetewsky
    July 6, 2009

    Where did you take from such kind of information? Can you give me the source?

  • Sophie
    January 22, 2010

    Great recipe, I lowered the sugar by a tablespoon and it was nice and tangy. I might cook it a little longer next time though, it was a bit too runny. But great for cookies!

    Here’s my blog post w/ photos: http://monpetitchoublog.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/mini-lemon-tarts-and-thumbprint-cookies/

  • MamaRoss
    February 25, 2010

    Wow wow wow!! What more can i say! This is fab, I love lemon curd and hate all the butter that goes in it so I was delighted when I stumbled across your recipe – used 1 tbsp less sugar as suggested and it is amazing! Everyone should have this recipe, is sweet yet tart and really lemony! Excellent thanks

  • Debbie
    March 6, 2011

    What a great looking recipe. The only low-fat lemon curd I’ve seen in shops is full of all kinds of nasty artificial ingredients, so this looks like a great alternative. I’ll definitely have to try this!

  • Mary
    March 6, 2011

    Lemon curd is my favorite, although i do make orange sometimes. I use my mothers old recipe which is very similar to yours. I love it on Lemon scones!!

  • Nevine @ Tableya
    February 27, 2012

    I love lightened up recipes! I’m going to be making this very soon.

  • Kagi
    April 7, 2012

    Just thought I would note that this works well using Eggbeaters pasteurized egg whites too! My grandmother is very fat-conscious and really loves lemon curd, so I went on a mission to make some without egg yolks. Turned out brilliantly, and even fooled my yolk-lover mom!

  • Karen
    January 26, 2015

    Lagos, how do you make lemon curd with egg whites and is it lower in fat then this one? I can only have 20 grams DAILY but love lemon curd

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