Tartine Bakery's Lemon Cream

March 2, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

This recipe takes the traditional lemon curd process and reverses it, not only saving time, but producing something better, smoother, and lighter in the end. Meet your new tart filling, scone spread, and trifle layer -- and the best lemon pudding you'll ever taste. Adapted very slightly from Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson (Chronicle, 2006)

Genius Recipes

Makes: about 2 1/2 cups
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min


  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice (Meyer or regular)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
In This Recipe


  1. Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, whole eggs, yolk, sugar, and salt in a stainless steel bowl that will rest securely in the rim of a saucepan over, not touching, the water. (Never let the egg yolks and sugar sit together for more than a moment without stirring; the sugar will cook the yolks and turn them granular.) Place the bowl over the saucepan and continue to whisk until the mixture becomes very thick and registers 180° F on a thermometer. This will take 10 to 12 minutes. If you don't have or trust your thermometer, don't worry. It should thicken to the point that your whisk leaves a trail through the curd.
  3. Remove the bowl from over the water and let cool to 140° F, stirring from time to time to release the heat.
  4. Meanwhile, cut butter into 1-tablespoon (15-ml) pieces. When the cream is ready, leave it in the bowl if using an immersion blender, or pour it into a countertop blender. With the blender running, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, blending after each addition until incorporated before adding the next piece. The cream will be pale yellow and opaque and quite thick.
  5. You can use the cream immediately, or pour it into a storage container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 5 days. To use after refrigeration, if necessary, gently heat in a stainless steel bowl set over simmering water until it has softened, whisking constantly.

More Great Recipes:
American|Lemon Juice|Fruit|Lemon|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Make Ahead|Winter|Passover|Christmas|Easter|Mother's Day|Spring

Reviews (40) Questions (7)

40 Reviews

DC's P. December 6, 2018
This was delicious. I've made it several times serving it with raspberries. Everyone raves and there's a reason why - it's that delicious.
Michael R. April 6, 2017
Can you please tell me what size pie pan would fit the 2 1/2 c recipe. I plan to make this for Passover using an almond meal crust. Also can I freeze this? Please kindly address my 2 questions ASAP since the holiday is fast approaching. This sounds so unbelievably delicious! Thank you!
Pastraminator March 5, 2017
wow, that was fast and so easy! put a little lime juice in there, I like the extra kick, also was minus 5 tablespoons of sweet butter so used salted and forgo the salt addition. it's beautiful
Nicole C. August 9, 2016
This is such a great recipe. We make it often, and several batches at a time, then freeze it in small servings. Only takes a few minutes to thaw out. Thank you!
BJ June 18, 2016
I make a lot of Royal Icing and Gumpaste , so lots of yolks always available. Can I sub all of the whole eggs with yolk ? Should I reduce the butter ? Two Yolks = One Whole Egg ?
Emily January 8, 2017
I'd be interested in the answer to this, too. I always have a ton of yolks leftover from egg-white omelets.
J.B. February 6, 2016
Yikes - 3 years have gone by since I last posted on this subject. Each year I fashion another version of this recipe. I have the choice of using Meyer or Lisbon lemons. This year my Meyer lemons are on the wane, so to assusage that upcoming loss, I put together the Cream recipe again. Last year, I added 1 teaspoon of Neilsen & Massey Vanilla paste as an after-thought. I did it again this year. It was a nice addition, as vanilla, and lemons are some of my favorite flavors. Still Yummy!
Lauren February 6, 2016
I used passion fruit (lilikoi) to make this curd. It came out beautifully! I love was short on butter so improvised with half butter half coconut oil, and worked very well. I also reduced overall sugar since passion fruit is already a little sweeter than Meyer lemons.
navahfrost November 16, 2015
has anyone ever tried to freeze this in a prebaked tart shell? Would it thaw out in tact?
sevenfaces April 19, 2015
Like J.B. I made a lime version with 3 (extremely juicy) limes. It only took half an hour to come together, which I consider to be pretty much instant! I served with mascarpone cream and almond cinnamon thins. Limey and delicious.
Melissa R. April 13, 2015
Has anyone tried adding lavender to this??
Hayley March 12, 2016
YES and it's fantastic!
samanthaalison June 20, 2014
The first time I tried this, I was very tired and accidentally did 3 yolks and 1 whole egg - did NOT work. I tried it again today, though, and it was absolutely worth making twice. SOOOOO GOOD.
DessertByCandy February 26, 2014
Very happy with the result. I lightened it with 3/4 cup of heavy cream whipped to soft peak and used as filling for cream puffs.
Sherri June 10, 2014
Yum! What a great idea! I am so doing it ~ thanks for the idea!
KCPittsburgher November 30, 2013
Is this recipe safe for me to preserve in a jar?
Kristen M. December 1, 2013
With all the butter, unfortunately I don't think it would be safe.
KCPittsburgher December 1, 2013
i'd love to be able to give this away as a gift and make sure it could last in people's fridges for longer than five days... also need to be able to make batches before christmas, in that case, and store it until it's time to give it away. any suggestions for doing that? <br /><br />i just tested it tonight, it tastes INCREDIBLE.
Phoebe July 11, 2013
I found that I liked it ALOT better w/out the butter...
Sheridan D. July 7, 2013
This technique is in an old Pierre Hermes pastry cookbook, (with Dorie Greenspan); you can also make orange, lime, or grapefruit curd using this method. Chef Hermes also gives the recipe for a killer crust in which to cradle the velvety curd mixture.
Thesebmama March 4, 2013
Topped this with sweetened creme fraiche + garnished with peppermint and violets from the garden. To die for. So good!
J.B. February 18, 2013
CR:<br />Ordinary supermarket butter contains (4 sticks). One (1) stick weighs 1/2 cup, (113 grams), (8) Tablespoons; so for the recipe as it is written, use (2) STICKS to equal ONE (1) CUP. The metric measurement in volume is 229.5 grams. Good luck!
ChezRocio February 18, 2013
What is the weight measurement for 1 cup of butter? Thanks. <br /><br />
Skinny B. January 24, 2013
Does anyone happen to know what size pie crust/ shell can fit this 2 1/2 cups of luscious, lemony filling?
debplusthree November 11, 2012
This is the most delicious, addictive, silky & lemony concoction ever... On a piece of homemade Tartine bread? Oh my. Thank you!