Brown Sugar Lemon Curd

My Canadian family's "signature" recipe for lemon curd. It's made with brown sugar, not white sugar. The brown sugar adds nuance and dimension to lemon curd that's memorable: in side-by-side taste tests, people always prefer Brown Sugar Lemon Curd.

I'm sharing two recipes, one from my dear Auntie Gloria, whose refrigerator was always home to a tub of lemon curd, perfect for scooping out by the spoonful or filling a lemon tart or two when a friend stopped by for tea and a visit. The second recipe is my variation of her recipe, it's less sweet and less rich and to my taste, extra-lemony and delicious.

Brown Sugar Lemon Curd @, my family's unusual recipe for lemon curd, made with brown sugar. Two versions, one less sweet and less rich.

My Canadian family just lost the family matriarch. She was Gloria Miller, my mom’s sister, my cousins’ mum, their children’s granny and great-granny and the last of her generation on that side.

She was my aunt. I adored her and am incapable of calling her anything other than “my dear Auntie Gloria” or some times, because she so lit up my own life, my Auntie Glo.

During her 86 years, Auntie Gloria lost an arm, an infant daughter, her husband and her grown son.

The arm, her right, was lost early in childhood in a freak accident. She refused to think of one arm as a “disability” or herself as “disabled”: her job was find a way to do with one hand everything two-handed people do with both.

And she more than managed: she diapered babies during the days of diaper pins; she tied shoes; she played tennis and curled; she sewed, knitted and crocheted. And she cooked, oh how she cooked.

When I was a girl, my family often made the dusty or snowy trip to the “big city” of Winnipeg. When the car turned down elm-lined Ashland Avenue, my excitement was uncontainable. As soon as the car stopped, I’d race round the house to the back door where Auntie Gloria would meet me at the top of the step, squatting down to open up her arms – note, “arms”, it was easy to forget there was just one – for a big smoochy laughing hug.

Some time during the visit, kitchen frenzy erupted with roast-cooking and potato-mashing and gravy-stirring. Soon all of us – three families plus our Nana and the aunts-by-choice – would crowd around the big Miller table. Outside, the crabapple tree cast romantic light onto the family setting. Uncle Clarke would say grace, we’d pass the dishes and the eating and the stories would begin.

But my favorite memory of Auntie Glo comes from when my mother was sick exactly ten years ago now, when my dad and sister and I did hospice for her here in my home in St. Louis.

That last spring, Mom’s face and body were swollen from steroids and she was bedridden. One evening, a supper guest ran late. To pass the time, Mom and Auntie Glo sat on the side of the bed, singing one old song after another, offkey and laughing, laughing, laughing. It was magical, watching them.

A few days later, Auntie Glo called to talk to her baby sister, her “Shushi”. Chances were, we knew, it would be their last. “I’m not sure that Mom will talk,” I worried out loud. Sure enough, Mom grinned when she heard her sister’s voice – but didn’t speak.

So Auntie Gloria began to sing into the phone, repeating one of the songs from their bedside sing-song just a few days before. “Pack up all our cares and woe, singin’ low …” Mom’s face lit up and she sang along, silently mouthing the words.

After we lost my mom, Auntie Gloria stepped in, mothering me from afar, supporting me at every turn, even participating in a blogging event.

She died on April 12th. Shortly after she passed, my sister wrote, “We lost our very special Auntie Gloria today. The party in heaven just got a little louder.”

On April 19th, the family gathered in Winnipeg to celebrate a life fully lived. Long before it became a popular saying, Auntie Gloria’s motto was Live Love Laugh, yes, in that order. And she did, that she did.

I’m still awfully weepy, knowing that in this world, I’ll never hear that laugh again.

I carried Brown Sugar Lemon Curd and Mini Shortbread Tarts (yes, that recipe’s coming!) to Winnipeg last week. In honor of Auntie Gloria, I used her recipe – and those lemon tarts disappeared like ice cubes on a hot day!

But over the years, I’ve tinkered with the family recipe for lemon curd, cutting the sugar and butter by half, not to force a “diet” lemon curd but to adjust to my own taste. My Brown Sugar Lemon Curd is slightly sweet and slightly tart both at the same time.

The one ingredient I won’t change – the one thing that makes our family recipe for lemon curd different – is brown sugar.

Brown sugar changes the color from a pretty lemon yellow to a tawny gold. But what we sacrifice in color is more than compensated by nuance and dimension in flavor. Several times, I’ve made two batches of lemon curd, one with all white sugar and one with mostly brown sugar. Every time, people prefer the Brown Sugar Lemon Curd.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Makes 2-1/2 cups
  • 4 large eggs (or 3 jumbo eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (66g) white sugar
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup (75g) fresh lemon juice (from about 2 to 3 but some times 4 small lemons)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 227g) salted butter, if cold, cut into small pieces

In a medium saucepan or a double boiler, whisk the eggs and water until they're completely broken up. Whisk in the sugars until smooth, breaking up any sugary lumps, then add the lemon zest and juice.

Cook on low to medium-low heat, stirring continuously (that means "without interruption"), until thick, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in the butter until it melts. For a perfectly smooth curd, press it through a fine-mesh strainer.

Let cool and refrigerate to thicken. Keeps in fridge for a couple of weeks, not that it will “last” – if you know what I mean.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Tablespoon/Per Quarter Cup: 55/221 Calories; 3/10g Tot Fat; 2/6g Sat Fat; 27/109mg Cholesterol; 24/99mg Sodium; 7/29g Carb; 0g Fiber; 7/28g Sugar; 1/3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1/5, PointsPlus 2/6


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Makes 1-1/2 cups
  • 4 large eggs (or 3 jumbo eggs)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) white sugar
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup (75g) fresh lemon juice (from about 2 to 3 but some times 4 small lemons)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 113g) salted butter, if cold, cut into small pieces

In a medium saucepan or a double boiler, whisk the eggs and water until they're completely broken up. Whisk in the sugars until smooth, breaking up any sugary lumps, then add the lemon zest and juice.

Cook on low to medium-low heat, stirring continuously (that means "without interruption"), until thick, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in the butter until it melts. For a perfectly smooth curd, press it through a fine-mesh strainer. (I rarely do this.)

Let cool and refrigerate to thicken. Keeps in fridge for a couple of weeks.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Tablespoon/Quarter Cup: 51/204 Calories; 2/10g Tot Fat; 1/6g Sat Fat; 40/161mg Cholesterol; 26/106mg Sodium; 6/24g Carb; 0g Fiber; 6/23g Sugar; 1/4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1/5, PointsPlus 1/6 This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized' with reductions in sugar and fat.
NUTRITION NOTES Call me surprised that you can cut the sugar and the fat by half and not make much difference in calories and points per serving. That’s because Auntie Gloria’s version yields so much more volume. I even made extra batches (somebody’s got to!) just to re-measure the volume. Sure enough. Part of it’s a rounding factor. The PointsPlus for one tablespoon of Auntie Glo’s is 1.51, so rounds up to 2; one tablespoon of my version is 1.37 so rounds down to 1. Now you know why I call these “estimates”.

DOUBLE BOILER If you have a double boiler, it makes a perfectly smooth lemon curd every time. You can heat the base while combining the curd ingredients off heat, then it cooks really quickly.

SAUCEPAN But most times I just cook lemon curd in a medium saucepan. If I stir it continuously, never getting distracted by other things, the curd turns out beautifully. If I go back and forth between stirring and doing something else, some times the curd will get a little bit grainy. No problem, though, just press the curd through a strainer.

STRAINING Some might want to strain the curd anyway, to remove the lemon zest. I happen to like that bit of texture contrast, not everyone does. If you do use a strainer, be sure to rinse it right away.

MEYER LEMONS Californians love their Meyer lemons and for good reason: the “lemony-ness” is sweeter and gentler. To my taste, this means they’re not the best choice for Lemon Curd where tartness, not sweetness, is the primary dimension. I’ve done side-by-side taste tests, lemon curd made with Meyer lemons is slightly flat, just not that special.

LIMES You can substitute lime for lemon but at least to my taste, the wonderful brightness of lime gets lost when cooked.

BUYING LEMON CURD The store-bought stuff just isn’t very good, it’s too sweet and too, I don’t know, call it “gloppy”. So if you’ve never tried homemade lemon curd before, now’s the time.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Lemon Curd with Greek Yogurt

Make lemon tarts! Eat it by the spoonful, just one rich spoonful at a time! Some people spread it on hot toast (I don’t get that, but so be it). Spread a layer between two cake layers. Stir a spoonful into fresh berries. Stir it into whipped cream. Use it as a dip for strawberries. Add a dollop to a summer smoothie. Layer it with Greek yogurt in a small clear cup, add a cookie and call it dessert (pictured).

What do you do with lemon curd? I’ve got two batches in the refrigerator and would love more ideas!

Sisters in a Bedside Sing-Song

Gloria Miller and Shirley Kellogg, my dear Auntie Gloria and my mom

I grabbed my camera that evening when Auntie Gloria and my mom (who was in the last stages of metastasized lung cancer and taking steroids which left her round and swollen) sang together on the side of the bed, one old song after another, all the verses and always, always, laughing. (And offkey.)

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Sunshine Orange Muffins from The Best of Bridge

Sunshine Orange Muffins from Canada's Best of Bridge ♥

Canadian readers, you know Best of Bridge cookbooks, eh? You grew up with them too, eh? Your moms and aunts and cousins cooked with them, for weeknight suppers but most especially for parties, eh? (Sorry, I’ll quit with the eh’s.)

After twenty-two years and six cookbooks, the Best of Bridge is gearing up for a new generation of cooks – with two collections of favorite recipes, “The Best of the Best” and “The REST of the Best” of the Best of Bridge. Confusing, I know, that’s a lot of bests. If a double-negative makes a positive, does a triple best make a surefire hit? Chances are!

The morning after the cookbooks hit my mailbox, I sat down with a cup of tea (real Red Rose, thank you …) but got no further than breakfast before draining my teacup (Royal Albert, thank you …) and turning on the oven.

Forty-five minutes later, we broke open warm muffins, barely sweet, extra-tender and full of orange essence. It would be easy to embellish these muffins – with orange zest added with the flour, say, or chopped golden raisins or toasted pecans or even, alors, mini chocolate chips. Me, I loved them plain with a little marmalade.

Once again, Best of Bridge, you are the best.

Sunshine Orange Muffins from Canada's Best of Bridge ♥

My Canadian family has been swapping Best of Bridge recipes as long as I can remember.

But my own small Best of Bridge claim to fame comes from my American family. My dear Auntie Karen went to school with Linda Barber Jacobson (now deceased), one of the eight women who played bridge together in the 1970s and collected their recipes into one edition after another of the Best of Bridge cookbooks, a Canadian culinary institution. Last month Auntie Karen wrote, “There were four of us living in a room the size of a public phone booth. Two from Canada and two of us from the States. Wonderful memories."

But there's more! In 2015, Best of Bridge passed the torch spatula to a new generation of Canadian authors, including one of my very favorite food bloggers, Julie van Rosendaal of the Calgary-based food blog Dinner with Julie, whose inspiration appears here on Kitchen Parade occasionally. [Search Dinner with Julie]


For me, the answer is easy. My Canadian recipes are family recipes, the ones that come from my mom's side of the family. Are they "Canadian" in the way that "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet" are American? Not really.

Awhile back, I scoured the cookbook sections in both Toronto and Winnipeg bookstores but found nothing that I felt really represented Canada well. Perhaps my search is a fool's game, is there one definitive "American" cookbook either? Of course not. I did find the lovely Across the Table: An Indulgent Look at Food in Canada by Cynthia Wine (what a great name for a food writer!) with gorgeous original watercolours by Canadian artist Mary Pratt.

So Canadian Readers, is there a cookbook you think of as "Canadian"? one you might gift to a visitor from another country, say? or one you think somehow wraps its arms around the vast melting pot that is Canada?

UPDATE Many thanks to the many readers who responded in the comments, I so appreciate their sharing their favorite Canadian cookbooks here!

BUT THERE'S MORE! I follow so, so many Canadian food blogs and it's wonderful to see the appearance of a "Canadian" food sensibility. It's showing up in cookbooks too, see this 2017 list of four new Canadian cookboks from Simple Bites. I'm off to check 'em out!

"I love the Sunshine muffins as well ..." ~ raidergirl3


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes but honestly, best after a few hours

Makes 12 regular-size muffins
  • 1 whole orange, skin left on, ends trimmed, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (135g) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (47g) vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Spray a muffin tin or line cups with paper or (my favorite) silicone muffin cups.

Place the chopped orange, OJ concentrate, egg, sugar and oil in a blender and whiz away until smooth and airy, about a minute.

Now – decide if you want to save a dish and continue mixing in the blender or go easy on yourself and move to a mixing bowl. Me, I’d move to the mixing bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix just until blended.

Using two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape, fill muffin tins evenly. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool. Serve with butter and jam or plain. The flavors develop over a couple of hours and the muffins stay moist and tender for a good two days.

ALANNA’s TIPS Based on a pantry inventory of something like a dozen jars, seems to be I like buying jams and preserves more than eating them. But call me hooked on something called “Scandinavian Delights” Orange Danish Spread from Elki Corporation. For anyone keen on an online order, they are sold on Elki’s website but for a depressing $7.50 a jar plus shipping no doubt. But I found a few jars of the marmalade-like preserves (except WAY less sweet) at Marshall’s for $3.50 each and hope to snag a few more next visit. The poppy seeds are my addition, I love how they look. Plus, y'know, seeds ...

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Muffin: 138 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 17mg Cholesterol; 345mg Sodium; 22g Carb; 1g Fiber; 10g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 5 This recipe has been "Alanna-sized" with reductions in processed sugar and flour and increases in natural sugars, flavor and whole-grains.
Adapted from The Best of the Best from the Best of Bridge Cookbooks. This and The Rest of the Best seem to be new releases of the 2004 editions of these cookbooks. Many thanks for a complimentary copies from the publisher, Robert Rose. DISCLOSURE My Disclosure Promise

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This Week, Elsewhere

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