Sunday, February 1, 2009

Grapefruit Orange Curd

This began as a disaster. I was all excited to whip up a curd, saw all the beautiful citrus at the grocery store and decided to do a grapefruit orange combination. I also wanted to make a real curd which is juice, sugar, eggs, egg yolks and butter without any additional stabilizers like cornstarch or gelatin. Things began well. The citrus made a lovely color juice, the other ingredients added incredible richness, but I made the mistake of keeping to close to the recipe and not trusting my instincts.

The ingredients for a curd are to be combined in a heat-proof bowl and whisked over a pan of boiling water until it reaches a temperature of 170 degrees. If it reaches 180, the eggs scramble. Feeling this was an exact science, I ignored that my curd was runny, that it didn't seem properly curd-like, and instead stared obsessively at my thermometer. My delusions continued when I decided that it would "become" curd once it was fully chilled. Um, no. It was liquid, and what was worse, it was separating in the jar.

The Chef got home later that night and I was in full curd despair. He proclaimed I was acting insufferably, and reminded me that there are many factors to consider when making any sauce, whether it be hollandaise, beurre blanc, etc. For instance, my thermometer could be off a bit.

The next day I poured the curd back into my heat-proof bowl, stirred it over the boiling water and gave it the time it needed, resulting in a rich, satiny sauce with subtle citrus tang and a gorgeous color. I let it reach 180 on my thermometer before it seemed the right consistency, so since I didn't end up with a scrambled sauce, my thermometer is clearly a bit off.

There are many, delicious things to do with this traditionally British sauce. Serve it with scones, biscuits or toast. Fold it into whipped cream. Use as a filling for cakes or tarts. Or, eat it with a spoon like I have been trying not to do all day.

My curd consisted of:

  • 1/2 cup strained fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup strained fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 10 tablesoons unsalted butter
Below is a link to a very informative page from Williams Sonoma with detailed curd making instructions. The curd will keep, in the refrigerator, for 2 weeks to a month.

For instructions on making fruit curds, click here.

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