Editors' Picks

Caroline J. Beck's 6-Minute Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Custard (+ 3 Ways to Use It)

March 20, 2013

Every week -- often with your help -- Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: Custard gets all grown up in 6 minutes flat, with a little help from olive oil and Meyer lemon.

Meyer lemon custard

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Meyer lemon season is almost over, so we'd better hustle. 

You can blend them up whole in a tart, bronze slices on focaccia, preserve jars of them in salt. I even stuff their spent carcasses into my water glass for a lazy lemonade, refusing to let any of their perfume go into the trash. 

meyer lemons

Here's a new way to get your lemons while the getting's good, one I bet you've never had: olive oil custard. Yes.

Though it's called a custard, it doesn't stand up straight and proper the way other custards do -- it sort of mounds and sways. It's thicker than than a creme anglaise, but not so sharp-edged as a curd. 

lemon zest 

It could stand in for any of these things, but it's in a class alone. Honestly, what it most resembles is a good homemade mayonnaise. As writer Indrani Sen pointed out when she sent this recipe my way, "It's basically a sweet aioli!"

(You were looking for a mayo you could eat for dessert, right? You got it, friends.)

If you have a high-speed blender like a Vitamix (not pictured), you will have custard in six minutes, and it's fully cooked without ever dirtying another pot. (If you don't, there's hope for you too!)

caroline j. beck

High-speed is how author and strategic advisor Caroline J. Beck developed this recipe, and it's brilliant. You blend up lemon juice, zest, eggs, sugar, and vanilla for four minutes, stream in olive oil, and a smooth, swoopy curd forms.

The eggs will have gently cooked from the frictional heat of the blades, without dampening the fresh, balmy scents of citrus and olive oil.

"I’m unabashed in embracing technology in the kitchen." Beck told me. "I’ll happily use any tool that gets the job done faster, easier, and better. Like a blender that can whip up a perfectly cooked sauce in minutes."

I don't have that kind of blender, but wanted to eat this -- which led to me running my Oster for 20 minutes on ice crusher mode, which almost led to a loss of touch with the living world, and a breakup. It also didn't work and was probably dangerous. So don't do that.

Instead, you can just blend until it's frothy and smooth in whatever ratty blender you've got, then pour into a double boiler or similar contraption and cook, stirring, until it thickens up. It works, and it's nearly as fast as the high-tech way. In either case: if you've ever been afraid of custard, it just got more user-friendly.


Below are a few ways we've been putting this miracle substance to use. You can even freeze it for later in the year, to keep Meyers alive long after they've faded away.

3 Ways to Use Your Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Custard (of Many)

A Thick Layer in a Parfait, Trifle, or Cake



On Scones (or Biscuits or Toast)


To Dip Cookies in, à la Dunkaroos


Caroline J. Beck's 6-Minute Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Custard

Adapted from "A Secret Weapon For Silky Custard: Vitamix Blender," Zester Daily (February 20, 2013)

Serves 6

3 whole eggs, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup Meyer lemon juice, strained
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon zest
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably fresh olio nuovo

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

Photos by James Ransom except Caroline Beck, by Jeremy Ball

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Christie June 7, 2022
It was fun to make. My family didn't like it. It would be good served as a topping on maybe cake or cookies, but to eat the custard by itself was too much. I would rather just make a custard with milk.
catalinalacruz January 7, 2015
Very, very innovative. In the same league as my coconut oil hollandaise (sub coconut oil for butter, to accompany steamed asparagus or artichokes).
miopdx March 29, 2013
I don't quite like the taste of Olive Oil - do I have to add it, or should I sub sunflower oil?
[email protected] March 26, 2013
This is an incredibly easy recipe and it tastes delicious!
ustabahippie March 24, 2013
OMG, does this look splendid! Luckily my Meyer lemon tree is putting out lemons by the dozens right now. Gonna go crazy with this!
louisepa March 24, 2013
I used my blender but was not high powered enough, I guess. I cooked at directed, but it tasted awful!! All I could taste was olive oil (I used a highly rated brand). Not sure what happened
sophiea March 25, 2013
Sometimes fancy olive oil is the brand new, peppery kind that has a very bitter taste. You might need to switch to another type of extra virgin olive oil with a smoother, milder flavor. Taste a spoonful of olive oil before you make the recipe to see if you like it plain. If it's not tasty plain, it won't be tasty in this dish. (That being said, I personally like the peppery olive oil on salads and savory things.)
Sophia R. March 22, 2013
Absolutely brilliant - I made this last night when suffering from horrible wisdom tooth pain. Can't get Meyer lemons where I live so chose orange instead and, once the custard had cooled down, added dark chocolate sea salt chips and it was wonderful. My only comment would be that I think it makes very little for 6 people - I divided the recipe by 3 and it yielded not even a teacup full of custard.
sticksnscones March 21, 2013
Oh MY!!! This recipe came just a week after purchasing my Vitamix. I was skeptical but indeed it is a GENIUS recipe! It is super delicious & I know it will become part of my repertoire. I served it to some friends with a simple coconut loaf cake & strawberries. It was slathered over everything!
Kristen M. March 21, 2013
What timing!
savvynewyorker March 21, 2013
And if you want to use a food processor...?
Kristen M. March 21, 2013
savvynewyorker, you should be fine! Just use the cooking method described in Step 4 of the recipe.
Caroline J. March 20, 2013
Here's another important point about why it's so healthy. Dr. Selina Wang, of UC Davis confirmed that because the olive oil doesn't go over 175 degrees and only is exposed to heat for about 2 minutes, the olive oil will still retain all its healthiest anti-oxidant properties and polyphenols. So Kenzi, you can feel good about it everyday!
Kenzi W. March 20, 2013
This is amazing news. Thank you!
janecf March 20, 2013
Folks, any thoughts on this between layers of yellow cake for a bday cake (iced w/chocolate)?
Kristen M. March 20, 2013
I feel great about that, janecf.
Kenzi W. March 20, 2013
I put this in my yogurt in the morning, and I refuse to feel bad about it.
fiveandspice March 20, 2013
Never feel bad! That was just a total Mediterranean diet move, adding olive oil to yogurt, right?!
Kenzi W. March 20, 2013
Couldn't have said it better. By doing it all this week, I think I've added, what, 10 years to my life?
fiveandspice March 20, 2013
Oh, at least.
ChefJune March 20, 2013
Oh Kristen, how could you? This recipe is probably worth an extra 10 pounds. Cannot wait to try it. I love custard and all things lemon... I might have to invest in a Vitamix, though I've no idea where I would PUT it.

Thanks to, to Caroline for coming up with the original!
Caroline J. March 20, 2013
Thanks Kristen for including my recipe in your Genius Recipes column and for all the additional, inspirational uses. They look fabulous.
Kristen M. March 20, 2013
Thank you for sharing this gem of a recipe with us, Caroline!
kellie@foodtoglow March 20, 2013
And thanks Kristen!
kellie@foodtoglow March 20, 2013
This is properly genius! I avoid making lemon curd and the like because of all that saturated fat but this really sounds stunning. Perfect too for coeliacs. Thanks Caroline. I just wish I could Pin it!
Kristen M. March 20, 2013
Thanks foodtoglow! I changed up a couple of the photos -- can you pin it now?