TONY STAPLES: A dessert for chocolate fans and those who like a tangy pudding

Lemon curd parfait
Lemon curd parfait

Add a zing to autumn days with a delicious lemony dessert. Tony Staples, executive head chef at the Arora Hotel, in Crawley, shares a family favourite...

If you have never made, or tasted, home-made lemon curd, you haven’t lived. It’s in a league of its own compared with any shop-bought version, and is so easy to make you will wonder why you never attempted it before.

At home, I make lemon curd in batches and keep it in the fridge for eating on toast. Lately, my wife, Caroline – who is the cake maker in the family – has been taking lemon drizzle cake to another level by serving it warm and adding an extra layer of my lemon curd.

With a good scoop of vanilla ice cream, it turns a tray bake into a delicious pudding.

At the Arora, we have a new lemon parfait dessert on The Grill menu, made with our home-made lemon curd. It is served with chocolate pancakes filled with chocolate ganache and decorated with glazed marshmallow.

The Grill in the Arora is Crawley’s only AA-rosette restaurant and has recently retained this honour for the third year running. To book, call 01293 530000. Follow us on Twitter or visit

Lemon Curd Parfait

For the lemon curd:

4 lemons – zest and juice

300g caster sugar

4 eggs

100g butter – cut into small cubes

For the parfait:

55g egg yolk – about 3-4 medium eggs needed

75g caster sugar

25ml water

1 leaf of gelatine

185ml whipping cream – semi-whipped


First make the lemon curd: put the lemon juice, zest and sugar in a saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, then bring to boil.

In a bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Pour half of the boiling lemon liquid over the eggs, whisking at the same time. Then pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Continue to whisk until it thickens. Pour the mixture into a bowl that is sitting over a bowl of ice. Whisk in the cubes of butter and keep whisking until the mixture cools. Pour into a clean jar and refrigerate.

To make the parfait: put the egg yolk into a mixing machine and whisk until the yolks have doubled in volume and are almost white in colour.

Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat up to 121 oC checking with a thermometer.

Soak the gelatine leaf in cold water until soft. Drain the gelatine and stir into the hot sugar syrup. Allow to cool slightly and pour over the egg yolks while continuing to run the mixer. Increase the speed of the mixer and whisk until the mixture is cold. Fold in the lemon curd and the semi-whipped cream.

Pour into an oblong container and freeze until set.

To serve: use a warm, sharp knife to cut the lemon parfait into slices and serve with fresh fruit. The parfait will freeze for up to a month.

Chef’s tip

Make double the amount of lemon curd for spreading on toast or using as a filling or topper for cakes. It’s also fantastic in pancakes.

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