Fruit curd is a dessert spread and topping usually made with lemon
. The basic ingredients are beaten egg yolks, sugar
, fruit juice and zest which are gently cooked together until thick and then allowed to cool, forming a soft, smooth, intensely flavored spread. Some recipes also include egg whites and/or butter
In late 19th and early 20th century England, home-made lemon curd was traditionally served with bread or scones at afternoon tea as an alternative to jam, and as a filling for cakes, small pastries and tarts. Homemade lemon curd was usually made in relatively small amounts as it did not keep as well as jam. In more modern times larger quantities are feasible because of the use of refrigeration. Commercially manufactured curds often contain additional preservatives and thickening agents.
Modern commercially made curds are still a popular spread for bread, scones, toast, waffles, crumpets, pancakes
, or muffins. They can also be used as a flavoring for desserts or yogurt
. Lemon-meringue pie, made with lemon curd and topped with meringue, has been a favorite dessert in Britain and the United States since the nineteenth century.
Curds are different from pie fillings or custards in that they contain a higher proportion of juice and zest, which gives them a more intense flavor. Also, curds containing butter have a smoother and creamier texture than both pie fillings and custards; both contain little or no butter and use cornstarch or flour for thickening. Additionally, unlike custards, curds are not usually eaten on their own.
Other flavor variations also exist using citrus fruits such as limes and tangerines, passion fruit, mangoes, and berries such as cranberries or blackberries. Hundreds of commercial variations are sold globally.