So, I was browsing through my Modern Baking magazine last night, and came across the slickest little recipe ever:

Microwave lemon curd.

I mean, I know you can make lemon curd at home, but doesn't it involve egg yolks, and stirring a pot on the stove, and transferring some of the hot liquid from one bowl to another and back again...

No thanks - too busy!

But THIS lemon curd, made simply by stirring everything together and cooking in the microwave for 7 minutes?

I can do that.

Modern Baking, since I know you're wondering, is the main trade magazine of bakery professionals: bakery owners and employees, caterers, wedding cake bakers, and anyone who makes their living with flour and sugar and eggs and all that good stuff.

They have a tips column I peruse with avid interest each month, in which a baker in, say, Skokie, Illinois, asks for a foolproof way to keep buttercream frosting from melting.

The column often includes short, simple recipes – short and simple because, when you're making a living as a baker, the more efficient you are, the better.

The challenge is, most of the time these recipes A) assume a certain level of familiarity with common bakery practices (kind of like recipes used to be written back in the day - no directions, you're just supposed to know what to do); B) they assume a certain amount of equipment (a dough sheeter, for instance); and C), they make 30 dozen of whatever, when all you want is 2 dozen at the most.

But this lemon curd recipe is different.

It doesn't use any unusual techniques; no fancy equipment is necessary; and it makes just 1 quart of curd, easily cut back to a more manageable 2 cups.

Did I mention how easy this is?

How about how tasty?

Well, see for yourself; if you have lemons, sugar, butter, and eggs on hand, get out your microwave-safe bowl and let's get started.

Put 2 large eggs and 1 cup sugar in a microwave-safe bowl.

Make that a BIG microwave-safe bowl; the eggs and sugar should take up no more than 1/4 of the bowl's capacity.

Whisk to combine, then whisk in 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, which you've melted first.

Finally, add 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. About 4 large, juicy lemons should do it.

Note: Modern Baking calls for the grated rind of the lemons as well as their juice. I prefer a super-smooth curd without stringy little bits of peel, but add it for more assertive lemon flavor, if you choose.

Whisk until everything is thoroughly combined.

Put the bowl on a plate (to catch any bubble-overs), place in the microwave, and cook in 1-minute increments, stirring after each.

High power? Low? I don't know, my microwave doesn't have any power levels. The instructions in Modern Baking say 3 to 5 minutes at "full power," but if your 'wave doesn't have power settings – just wing it.

At first, you won't see much change; as the curd heats it'll foam up, but it'll stay quite liquid.

Speaking of foaming up, this is why you put the bowl on a plate...

At some point – for me, it was 8 minutes – you'll see the curd start to mound just a tiny bit. It's subtle; it won't be anywhere near the thickness of finished lemon curd. But it'll definitely be thicker than it was to begin with.

As the recipe says, it should coat the back of a spoon.

Well, that's kind of general, isn't it? Doesn't ANY liquid coat the back of a spoon?

I decided to take the curd's temperature, just to make sure the eggs were thoroughly cooked.

At 187°F, they were indeed sufficiently cooked. And the curd was thick enough that it didn't run right off the spoon, but kind of coated it – I guess.

Anyway, I stuck the curd (a scant 2 cups) in the fridge, and once it was thoroughly chilled... Eureka! It had thickened to a smooth, spreadable consistency, stiff enough to mound nicely when dropped from a spoon.

It's not as stiff as jarred lemon curd...

...but it's certainly stiff enough to dollop onto a ginger cookie and enjoy.

Or combine with whipped cream for a lemon icebox pie, or spoon into paczki – both of which I intend to try ASAP.

Stay tuned...

Read, make, and review (please) our recipe for Easy Microwave Lemon Curd.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
The Author

About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!