Lemon Curd – Past and Present
Lemon Curd is a traditional British curd made with sugar, butter, eggs and lemons and is delicious spread onto hot toasted tea cakes or used as an ingredient in dessert recipes.
Our chairman Walter Scott has memories of Lemon Curd making from the time he first arrived at Tiptree in the 1985. Walter recalls making both Lemon Cheese and Lemon Curd in his previous company before he came to Tiptree.
“At Tiptree we developed a recipe in the early 1980’s; we used butter. sugar, eggs and lemons and called it Lemon Curd. It is quite unique, we use butter and for years our cooks actually cracked each egg from Tiptree but we now use pasteurised egg. Our lemon concentrate comes from Sicily, where the best lemons are grown, and it give an intense flavour. Our Lemon curd is cooked in small pans on a much lower heat than jam and marmalade”, Walter adds “if we used our jam pans we would end up with a big omelette or scrambled eggs!”
We have included some recipe ideas on our web site; a delicious Lemon Curd and White Chocolate Roulade created by the Waitrose competition winner Sophie, a simple idea for combining fruit and Lemon Curd with pancakes, a celebration Lemon Curd & Fruit Pastry Puff and also a Lemon Snowball Cocktail.
Our friends in North America often use Lemon Curd in pies and tarts, some of which are topped with meringue. You can find a nice American recipe shared on the Brands of Britain website https://www.brandsofbritain.com/tiptree-lemon-curd-meringue-pie-recipe-s/2198.htm
Other interest in Lemon Curd
Old recipe books continue the debate Lemon Cheese versus Lemon Curd, in some parts of the country Lemon Curd is the same recipe as Lemon Cheese while in other regions the difference is distinct. We found a reference to a Lemon Cheese recipe in “Gleanings from Gloucestershire Housewives” cookery book published in 1948 using sugar, eggs, juice of lemons and butter with a lovely comment: “…stirring all the time until it resembles a thick cream”. In “Farmers’ Fare” a collection of recipes from Farmers’ Weekly first published in 1946 there is a recipe for Lemon Cheese using eggs, lemons, sugar and butter whereas the recipe for Lemon Curd uses sugar, lemons eggs and a small amount of margarine. The comment from the author of the Lemon Cheese recipe. “I find this recipe most useful as a means of using up cracked eggs,” perhaps these were eggs collected from her own hens.
Searching for earlier comments about Lemon Curd we looked in two editions of Mrs Beeton’s Household Management dated pre-1924, neither Lemon Curd or Lemon Cheese are listed in the index but there is a recipe for Lemon Cheesecakes which uses sugar, butter, eggs and lemons to make a filling for the pastry cases which is very similar to the Lemon Curd we know today.