Thursday, 26 April 2012

Naughty Orange and Grapefruit Curd.

Making curd, lemon or otherwise, feels to me like the naughtiest thing in the culinary world. Not because of the thoroughly indecent amount of sugar and butter present in such a small space, though I do admit that is something that those more calorie-squeamish amongst us may find distressing (my advice- feel the fear, eat it anyway and run a few extra miles).

Nono, it’s that fact that throughout my childhood, and therefore a significant portion of my life, it was an out of bounds food stuff. Not for any kiddie-diet-health-concern, but simply the fact that our dear Mutus, our most favourite female, cannot STAND the stuff.

Going near enough to it to make lemon curd sandwiches for our lunch boxes was simply out of the question; a state of affairs I had somehow managed to decipher that I lamented. I must have rebelliously come in to contact with some curd at some point, which afforded me the knowledge that this hatred is pretty much the only gene I haven’t inherited from the lady in question, and I was therefore aware of the injustice of a curd-free childhood.

So now, as an adult (on the outside anyways), making and eating curd, in this case the orange and grapefruit variety, makes me feel like I should do it in secret, heheheing as I tiptoe around the kitchen. Ridiculous really considering that I live 500 miles away from home, making tiptoes absolutely pointless and the fact that I wasn’t allowed to drink gin when I was little either and Mutus and I now find endless joy in sharing that activity. So don’t be scared, of the naughty-ness of the process. With Love and Cake.

Orange and Grapefruit Curd.
Adapted from River Cottage Handbook No.2 by Pam 'the jam' Corbin.

A few notes:
  • If you're unfamiliar with the eating of pretty much treat it as jam. On toast it is diviiiiiine, or you could fill a cake with it, or use it as a sort of sauce on a slice of something for dessert. Allllso, I shall send a recipe your way soon in which it is used to make the MOST simple dessert.
  • You don't neeeeeeed a sugar thermometer to make this, I've done it several times without, but I do prefer to, just because relying on science instead of my judgement does make sense sometimes.
  • To make this last as long as poss, around 4 weeks, it's best to store in sterilised jars. Here's how....pop clean glass jars in a cold oven, turn the heat to 170°c. When the oven reaches that temperature, leave the jars 'cooking' for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven off and leave the jars inside it until you need them.
  • To make this standard lemon curd, simple replace all the zest and juice with the yellow variety.
Makes around 750ml

You will need

finely grated zest 2 oranges
200ml a mixture of orange and grapefruit, proportions is not really important
125g butter, cubed
450g granulated sugar
200ml beaten egg (it'll be 4-5 eggs)

  • Pop the zest, juice, butter and sugar in a bowl sat over a pan of simmering water (like you would melt chocolate).
  • As soon as the butter has melted and the liquid is hot and shiny and measuring between 55-60°c on a sugar thermometer, pour in the eggs through a sieve and whisk.
  • Stir gently over the simmering pan until it has become thick and creamy, and has reached 82-84°c. It will probably take 10-15 minutes so be patient.
  • When it's done, pour it straight into your sterilised jars, and it's ready for your toast.

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