Easy to make curd with a low amount of sugar, fresh apples, lemon juice and a hint of cinnamon. Perfect on toast, pancakes, as a tart or cake fillings or topping for your favourite pudding.
Homemade apple curd makes a lovely change to the traditional lemon or lime curd and since you can’t readily buy it in most shops, this makes it pretty special too. It’s a great recipe for using up apples, as it doesn’t really matter what type you use – you just end up with a different flavour.
Why make this recipe?
- Suprisingly easy to make
- Uses less sugar than in a traditional apple jam or other fruit curds
- Amazing taste – comforting, smooth, buttery, apple taste!
- Great as a gift for your family and friends
KEEP THIS RECIPE – PIN IT FOR LATER
What exactly is apple curd and how to use it
Apple curd is a variation on lemon curd. It has nothing to do with cheese or curd, but it’s made with fresh fruit, sugar, butter and eggs. It’s a sort of sweet condiment or preserve, which can be used in the same way as marmalades or jams for toast, croissants or bread rolls in the morning.
You can also use apple curd as a filling for various fruit tarts and for baking.
My top tips on making apple curd recipe successfully first time round
Don’t rush the stirring and thickening of the apple curd. It will happen eventually, but you don’t want to end up with scrambled eggs.
Use caster sugar for a smooth texture
Add lemon or lime juice to the apple mixture if your apples are fairly sweet (this will help to bring out the apple flavour)
Use egg yolks only – I’ve made this recipe with egg yolks only and it does make a difference with how amazingly smooth the texture is and how it actually taste like a curd
The question of using whole eggs versus egg yolks in fruit curds
Over the years, I’ve made quite a few batches of different fruit curds with whole eggs and with egg yolks only and there are benefits of both methods.
Whole eggs curd method
- No wastage – use whole eggs for the recipe
- Could taste a bit ‘eggy’ and rubbery (because of the egg white)
- Easy to get scrambled when you overheat the mixture
- Some people are allergic to egg whites
Egg yolks curd method
- More creamy & smooth texture, flavour and finish
- Less prone to curdling when heated up
If you see any recipe with whole eggs and you want to replace them with just egg yolks, you should double the number of eggs. Leftover egg whites are perfect for making simple omelettes, traditional yeasted pancakes or making meringues.
What makes this recipe work
Using egg yolks only, adding lemon or lime juice, salt and spice turns this recipe from bland apple sauce into amazingly decadent and flavoursome curd.
Any specialist equipment needed?
- Medium size saucepan
- Bowl (glass) to fit inside/above your saucepan
- Fine sieve
- 2 medium sized jam jars
Make sure that you heat the apple curd mixture over a very low heat and that your mixing bowl doesn’t touch the water. Keep checking the level of water too; to ensure that you have enough under your bowl.
Stir your apple curd mixture steadily, but don’t go too fast. If you stir it too much over a very hot heat, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs!
Ingredients & Possible Substitutions
Make sure you use organic and not treated apples if you are cooking them first without peeling. Alternatively, wash, peel and core them first and then chop into smaller chunks before cooking them first.
You can use any kind of apples you like and even mix them together. You’ll always end up with a slightly different curd flavour, but that’s all part of the fun!
Sharper Flavoured Green Apples (for example Gravenstein, Granny Smith, Bramley, )
These kind of apples are usually sharp, tangy and fresh and perfect for achieving zingy apple flavoured curd. The colour might not stay green as most apples go slightly brown when cooked, but you will get a slightly lighter colour than with regular red apples.
Depending on the flavour you might still need to add in a bit of lemon juice, citric acid or malic acid to bring on the sharpness of the apples.
Sharper Flavoured Red Apples (for example Cox, Cortland, Empire, Gala, Spartan)
Great deep apple flavour with a bit of tartiness, which makes crisp red apples perfect for making apple curd.
Mild flavoured apples (for example Golden Delicious, Pink Lady)
These are still fine to use, but you might need to use more lemon or lime juice or citric acid to make your apple curd flavour really pop. I try to stay clear of flavouring essences, but if you think you can’t achieve the right apple flavour, then one or two drops can make all the difference between a bland apple curd to a perfectly balanced curd.
At the end of the day, you can make apple curd from any type of apples, but to make sure that you like the final product taste the apple first. If it’s a bit bland and too sweet, you are very unlikely to get a sharp flavoured apple curd unless you add plenty of lemon juice (or a pinch of citric acid).
Unsalted butter is best for this recipe, but you can use a part salted and part unsalted butter as well. Make sure that if you use salted butter you don’t add more salt to the recipe.
For the traditional apple curd recipe, I use regular dairy butter because it has the best flavour.
Caster sugar is best for this recipe because it dissolves quicker (the sugar crystals are small). You can also use granulated white sugar.
If you are using delicately flavoured apples I would stick with the white sugar as it won’t compete with the overall flavour.
But, if you are thinking of making something like a caramelised apple flavour with cinnamon and perhaps dash of whisky, then light brown or brown sugar would be perfect.
I still probably wouldn’t recommend to use any very dark brown or too flavoured sugars such as coconut sugar or it’s alternatives as it would change the flavour of the apple curd too much and the sugar would also spoil the colour.
The fresher eggs you use the better, because they will emulsify (cream in) better. It’s your call if you use whole eggs or egg yolks, there are some advantages and disadvantages to both methods (see my notes above).
I usually use medium to large size eggs, but over the years I’ve probably used mixed sizes too. It’s just a matter of simmering the curd for a bit longer if you need to towards the end of the cooking process if the mixture is too liquidy.
Cinnamon, Ginger or other spice
This is completely optional, but I can’t help adding in at least cinnamon or mixed spice. You could also add in ground ginger or ground mace, nutmeg or a tiny pinch of cloves. All of these spices will help to bring out the apple flavour.
Apple flavour can be potentially quite bland if left on its own. Lemon juice will help to sharpen the flavour and help to make the curd taste like an apple.
Salt is totally optional, but I think it helps to balance out the flavours and makes the zingy lime flavour pop even more.
Although citric acid is not something you might have in your kitchen cupboard, I think it’s worth mentioning it. Citric acid usually comes as little crystals (looks like granulated sugar) and it’s basically very concentrated natural lemon juice (or the bit that gives lemons the sharpness). It’s great to use if you want your apple curd to have a slightly sharper taste and you can’t achieve it by using just the apples.
Malic acid is the crystalised juice of apples or more precisely the part that gives apples the sourness. It’s often used for making sour sweets, which is why I have it in my store cupboard. It’s fairly innexpensive ingredient, which is well worth getting if you are thinking of making a large batch of apple curd (or other fruit based curds, that might normally end up being a bit bland).
If you are making just one batch of apple curd, then please don’t worry you can easily make it without malic or citric acid, I just wanted you to to have some options, in case you are in a quest for that perfect apple flavoured curd.
The method – How to make apple curd
Wash the apples, core them and cut them into smaller pieces (you can leave the skin on). You should have 500 grams (1/2 kg or 1 pound) of apple chunks, once they are ready.
Put the apples with water or lemon juice (if using) to a small saucepan and leave on a low heat to simmer and soften. You can also do this in a microwave for about 5-6 minutes. Stir as necessary to prevent the apples catching on the bottom of the pan (or stir the apples in the microwave every minute or so to make sur the heat is evenly distributed).
Once the apples are soft, push them through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of the apple peel and place to a glass bowl (or other heat proof bowl, but not stainless steal or metal). Make sure you get all the apple pulp and juice and only discard the apple peel.
Add about 1 inch or 2 cm of water to another medium size saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over a low to medium heat on your hob.
Add the butter, sugar, lemon juice (if not already in) with a good pinch of salt to the apple mixture.
Place the bowl over the saucepan and let the sugar dissolve first. Stir gently to make sure all ingredients are incorporated and the sugar has dissolved properly (check on the back of a clean spoon for any sugar crystals).
In the meantime, beat the eggs together (using either 2 whole eggs or 4 egg yolks – if you have any leftover from another recipe or you have a plan for the egg whites later).
Strain the eggs through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any impurities.
Once the sugar has dissolved, slowly add the eggs to the main apple mixture.
Carry on stirring the apple curd mixture, ensuring that the heat is very low and that the water doesn’t boil (only simmers).
Stir gently for another 20 minutes or until the mixture thickens and becomes lovely and creamy.
Taste and add more lemon juice, cinnamon or other spices to get your desired flavour.
To achieve a smooth apple curd, pour and press the hot mixture through a fine sieve again.
Pour carefully into prepared glasses or other suitable containers.
Keep in a refrigerator and use within 2-3 weeks.
How else you can make this recipe?
- Caramel & Whisky Apple Curd – use light brown or dark sugar instead of caster sugar, leave out the lemon juice and add 2 tablespoons of whisky right at the end of the cooking process
- Apple & Ginger Curd – add more lemon juice to make the curd a bit sharper and add ground ginger to the mix
Allergies, dietary requirements
This recipe contains eggs and although we have cooked them, this recipe might not be suitable for anyone who is avoiding fresh (raw) eggs.
This recipe is not suitable for vegan diets and it’s not dairy free as it contains butter.
- Gluten free
Apple curd goes great with these recipes
- Homemade white bread (no knead) >>
- Light & Fluffy Pancakes (made with yeast) >>
- Crusty sourdough bread >>
This recipe makes 2 medium sized jam jars or similar size glass jars. I purposely made this recipe on a smaller size because curds have a shorter shelf life and unless you want to give some away, they are not going to last very long.
I scale up or down this recipe?
Technically you could scale down this recipe by halving all the ingredients, but since this recipe makes only 2 jam jars, I think it’s pretty budget-friendly already.
If you fancy making more of this delicious apple curd, you can easily double the quantity of the ingredients in the recipe and make more!
You have to make sure that you get a large saucepan and larger mixing bowl. The simmering time might not be much longer than the standard recipe as the saucepan/bowl/heat will increase with the recipe. Saying that, the timings can vary once you start adjusting the ingredients ratio.
How to store apple curd
Store in an airtight container (jam jar or similar) in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks (or up to 1-2 months if alcohol is added). Once opened, eat within 7-10 days, but keep an eye on it just in case if it goes off sooner.
You can also freeze apple curd by cooling it down completely and then placing it into a strong freezer bag (that can expand if needed) or plastic container with a sturdy lid. You can keep the apple curd frozen for 1-3 months, then defrost it and use it straightaway (whilst storing it in the fridge).
Apple curd shelf life
2-3 weeks unopened in the fridge
7-10 days once opened
1-3 months frozen
1-2 months unopened in the fridge (with alcohol)
Why not stay in touch…
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- Medium size saucepan
- bowl (glass) to fit inside/above your saucepan
- wooden stirring spoon
- 2 medium sized jam jars
- 500 grams apples organic/non-treated, about 3 large apples (weighted after you core them and chop them)
- 50 grams unsalted butter 1/4 cup or 3 & 1 1/2 tablespoons
- 150 grams caster sugar fine sugar, 2/3 of cup (more if needed)
- 4 egg yolks or 2 whole eggs
- 2 tablespoons water or apple juice (or lemon juice – if using)
- pinch of fine cooking salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice optional
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger or other sweet spice optional
- Wash the apples, core them and cut them in a smaller pieces (you can leave the skin on). You should have 500 grams (1/2 kg or 1 pound) of apple chunks, once they are ready.
- Put the apples with water or lemon juice (if using) to a small saucepan and leave on a low heat to simmer and soften. You can also do this in a microwave for about 5-6 minutes. Stir as necessary to prevent the apples catching on the bottom of the pan (or stir the apples in the microwave every minute or so to make sur the heat is evenly distributed).
- Once the apples are soft, push them through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of the apple peel and place to a glass bowl (or other heat proof bowl, but not stainless steal or metal). Make sure you get all the apple pulp and juice an only discard the apple peel.
- Add about 1 inch or 2 cm of water to another medium size saucepan and bring to gentle simmer over a low to medium heat on your hob.
- Add the butter. sugar, lemon juice (if not already in) with a good pinch of salt to the apple mixture.
- Place the bowl over the saucepan and let the sugar dissolve first. Stir gently to make sure all ingredients are incorporated and the sugar has dissolved properly (check on the back of a clean spoon for any sugar crystals).
- In the meanwhile, beat the eggs together (using either 2 whole eggs or 4 egg yolks – if you have a leftover from another recipe or you have a plan for the egg whites later).
- Strain the eggs through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any impurities.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, slowly add the eggs to the main apple mixture.
- Carry on stirring the apple curd mixture, ensuring that the heat is very low and that the water doesn't boil (only simmers).
- Stir gently for another 20 minutes or until the mixture thickens and becomes lovely and creamy.
- Taste and add more lemon juice, cinnamon or other spices to get your desired flavour.
- To achieve a smooth apple curd, pour and press the hot mixture through a fine sieve again.
- Pour carefully into prepared glasses or other suitable containers.
- Keep in a refrigerator and use within 2-3 weeks.