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A Simply Fantastic Lemon Cream

A Simply Fantastic Lemon Cream

Don’t be fooled by the word “cream.” This delicious recipe for Lemon Cream from Amelia Simmons’ cookbook American Cookery (1796), is ironically completely dairy-free. Instead, it uses an interesting egg-cooking technique which yields a delicious custard-like dessert. While fruit creams of this nature have over time fallen off most modern culinary menus, lemon cream is one of the few survivors. It’s most recognizable today in the form of lemon cream pie.

This is a very easy recipe. Be sure to use only fresh lemon juice!

recipe lemon cream

Lemon Cream


  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • the juice of 4 lemons (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • the rind of one lemon


Mix together the egg whites, egg, lemon juice, and water.


Whisk in the sugar until it’s completely dissolved.

Pour the mixture through a sieve to strain off any egg treadles.


Put the whole mixture in a pot with the lemon rind, and place it over medium-low heat.

Stirring constantly, slowly bring the mixture up to a simmer — just under boiling. If any foam or scum forms, remove it.


The mixture will remain very liquid as it heats up. It’s very important that you stir the mixture continuously. Immediately prior to boiling, the mixture will suddenly and noticeably thicken. When this happens, immediately remove it from the heat.


Remove the lemon rind.

Serve the cream warm or cold “in china dishes”. (Jon serves them in these beautiful bowls.) The cream will continue to set as it cools.


This cream can be served by itself or in other desserts. Jon, Michael, and Ivy brainstorm a few such desserts, like a tart, pie, and doughnuts.

What would you make?

Post your ideas and or pictures below!

This Post Has 14 Comments
  1. I found that 2 cups of sugar was too much. maybe my measuring cup is too big or maybe a cup in the 18th century was smaller than those today. I live in Portugal and my measuring cup takes about 250 grams. Is that the same quantity used in the recipe(2 cups = 500 grams)?

    1. Hey Joao,
      I am not super knowledgable about European cup to gram ratios. However I am fairly certain that the 2 cups of granulated sugar should weigh about 400 grams, not 500. Hope this helps!

    2. yes I’ve been converting in some different sites and apps and they gave me between 400 and 440 grams, so my measuring cup is too big. Thank you for your answer.

  2. First, I want to thank you so much for your web series! I love the historical accuracy and thought put into it! I was wondering if you would mind me using this recipe in a children’s series that I am writing? I know it is a very old recipe, but wanted to check anyway! Thanks!

  3. I made this lemon cream,put some in tart shells enough for six and still had some leftover and put into bowl,this was the most lemon tasting dish I havever made ,it makes the back of your mouth water and tingle at the same timeI Soooo recommend this receipt you will not be disappointed.Thank you Jon And Michael.I will be making this a go to receipt for anything LEMoN !

  4. What kind of pot can I use with this? Can I use my anodized pots or stainless steel? Is nylon cookware okay or should it be wooded? I only ask because I have tried lemon curd (Myers lemons) in the past and it had a metallic taste so I wasn’t sure it is was the cooking pots or something else.

  5. I got up & made this immediately after watching. It took less than 10 minutes to make. It took us only 4 minutes to devour it & lick the bowls! I can’t tell you if it’s better cooled as it didn’t have a chance to cool.

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