This week has been a bit of a dead loss when it comes to my kitchen. As I explained in the previous post I’ve had a very poorly small person to look after and food has been WAY down the agenda. Thankfully now she is on the road to recovery and my thoughts turn back to the kitchen.
Despite the fact there are a million and one things to be getting ready for Christmas I needed to relax so I decided to make one of my favourite preserves before even thinking about what I should be doing.
Curd was always something of a mystery to me until a few years ago when I watched a dear friend whip up a batch of lemon and since then there has been no stopping me!
I have ( of course ) experimented with lots of different flavours* and textures, but I always come back to orange as my ‘comfort’ food standby.
*great flavours I have tried include; Kiwi, Raspberry, Passion fruit. There is something about the consistency of curd that, for me, demands a flavour with a bit of a bite to them so I always find that slightly acidic fruits work best. I’ll let you know how Mango turns out once I get round to it!
Another tip when making a different flavour is to always combine your fruit juice or pulp with the juice of 1 lemon as this will greatly improve the set and reduce the overall cooking time.
100g unsalted butter
200g granulated sugar
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
Bring to the boil half a a pan of water, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Place a glass bowl on the rim of the pan and ensure that the boiling water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
Put your butter into the bowl and melt.
While the butter is melting, juice and zest your oranges and lemon and in a separate bowl beat your eggs.
When the butter has just melted pour in the sugar and stir until it has dissolved.
When the mixture is smooth add the combined juice of the oranges and lemon and stir gently, but well.
When the mixture is well combined slowly pour in the beaten eggs, stirring the mixture at all times.
You MUST stir this mixture gently (do not beat) for around 5 minutes to ensure that the egg well mixed with the other ingredients. if you do not combine the ingredients corectly at this point you may well end up with ‘strings’ of egg in you finished curd.
After around 5 minutes the mixture should be smooth and pale orange in colour, now is the time to add the zest. Of course this is a matter for personal taste and I know a lot of people prefer their curd to be totally smooth in which case just don’t add it.
Now you have to be patient.
Heat the curd over the water for 25-30 minutes. During this time stir occasionally and make sure there is still enough water in your pan!
After about 20 minutes of simmering you should notice the mixture begin to thicken. Using a metal spoon now, stir the mixture and ensure that you scrape around the sides and the bottom of the glass bowl as the curd will thicken round the edges of the bowl more quickly and you will not get an even consistency.
Dont worry if it takes a little longer for your mixture to thicken as it depends on the type of oranges you use and how big they are. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat, just leave it until it thickens of its own accord.
When it is ‘done’ is also a matter of personal preference. I prefer a slightly runny set for my curd so when the mixture clings to the back of my mixing spoon and coats it without running off this is my perfect potting temperature!
If you prefer a thicker set then just leave the curd to cook for a few more minutes.
Pot up into sterilised jars and seal immediately.
These quantities will make enough for around 2 100g jars. Unless you are making this as a gift I wouldn’t advise making much more than this at a time as it only keeps for between 2 and 3 weeks.
Once your jars have cooled store the curd in the fridge and enjoy at your leisure.
I can thoroughly recommend it on toast!