Curds are really easy to make, but so tasty, and they make impressive gifts! I had a bunch of mandarin oranges languishing on the counter this week, and curd is a great way to use them up. It doesn’t take that much juice or a lot of time to make a good sized batch.
A few weeks ago I made a lemon and lime curd and watched my family plow through about 12 oz. of it really quickly! My daughter in particular enjoys pairing it with pancakes, but you could also enjoy it on quick bread, scones, toast, and more. I also used the lemon lime curd as filling in little tarts, or you could also use it between cake layers. Yum!
This recipe works for a variety of citrus, but you will want to modify the sugar amount a little bit based on the relative sweetness or tartness of the juice. For example, 2/3 cup of sugar seemed barely enough for lemon and lime, but 3/4 cup of sugar was a bit too much for mandarin orange. If I could do it again, I would reverse them! You can also start with the lesser amount and add a bit to your taste during cooking. The recipe below makes about 22 oz., but I think you could easily halve it if you wish. Or just gift a jar of it!
Curds can be made in a regular pot on the stove, but I prefer using a double boiler. Either way, you have to be fairly attentive to make sure it doesn’t get too hot and curdle your egg mixture. I highly recommend the double boiler for making curds, chocolate fondue, etc. You still have to watch the temperature of the water in the bottom pot, but I think it’s easier to keep the curd from overcooking.
Keep in mind that curds need to be stored in the refrigerator and are best eaten within 3 weeks or so.
Yield: about 22 ounces, or fills three 8 oz. jars scantly
- 4 whole eggs, plus 2 yolks
- 2/3 – 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup of citrus juice, preferably from fresh fruit
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- (optional) 1 to 2 teaspoons of zest
- Zest some of your fresh fruit if you wish to include the zest.
- Squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. Depending on the size and juiciness of the fruit, it may take about 6 to 8 lemons or mandarins to obtain 1 cup of juice.
- Whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar together in a bowl until they are light and frothy in texture. Then stir in the zest.
- In the top of a double boiler on low heat, gently melt the stick of butter. When completely melted, whisk in the juice.
- Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pot and stir constantly. It will look thin and bubbly, as in the picture below:
6. Continue stirring and cooking on low heat until the mixture has thickened to a custard-like consistency. This will likely take around 15 mins., but just keep stirring frequently!
7. Remove from the heat and whisk to remove any lumps.
8. Ladle into warm dry jars, leaving about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch space. Seal and leave to cool on the counter; then refrigerate.