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Orange and lemon curd

I was looking for a recipe to make a chocolate orange cake for my partner’s birthday which is in a few weeks time as it his favourite combination of flavours. My idea was to make a marbled cake with a chocolate-orange ganache topping and scribble “Happy Birthday” on top. However, I came across this recipe for a chocolate-orange wedding cake, saw the orange curd in there and hit upon a different idea. I thought I could cover the marbled  cake in orange curd instead, dribble the ganache topping in concentric circles on top of the curd and make feather-y patterns on the curd. How did it turn out ? Well you’ll have to wait for my chocolate-orange cake recipe. In the interim, I’m leaving you with a recipe for Orange and lemon curd.

The word “curd” would throw most Indian people and it did the same to me initially. Curd is a synonym for yoghurt in parts of India so when someone told me about a lemon curd, I thought it was really weird. Then I tried it and fell in love with it. In New Zealand, I lived in a share house with a big lemon tree in the backyard. After months of letting the lemons rot or play ball for the dog, one of my housemates decided to make lemon curd  and marmalade with them. The house smelt wonderful when I returned from work that day. When I asked about it, she told me what they were and that it was OK to help myself to some lemon curd and marmalade. I think I might have taken the “help myself” a bit too far and she wasn’t too impressed. However, I did get the recipe off her before I left. This orange curd recipe is based on the lemon-curd  one I got from my ex-housemate. It’s simple, easy and tasty.

You can use orange and lemon curd on toast, with yoghurt, as a tart filling and as a creamy layer between layers of a sponge cake to name a few. If you are gross like me, you’d just eat spoonfuls of it for fun. This is a lot less tangy than lemon curd and I find that much more of a pleasant taste. Do try it and tell me what you think by mailing me at miceinmybelly@gmail.com

Thick and yummy orange+lemon curd

Ingredients (Makes approximately 350mL of curd – Pictures 1-4):

2 eggs

Juice of 1/2 an orange

Juice of 1 lemon

Grated rind of 1 orange (Picture 2-4)

Grated rind of 1 lemon (Picture 2-4)

Thick and yummy orange+lemon curd

50 gms of butter, chopped

100 gms of caster sugar

 

Method:

1. In a heat-proof bowl, whisk the eggs lightly (Picture 7).

2. Add the rest of the ingredients into a heat proof bowl and mix the eggs into it (Pictures 5-8).

3. The curd ingredients now need to be double-boiled to set (Picture 9).

Double-boiling means that whatever you are trying to boil doesn’t come in touch directly with the source of heat you  are providing. It is also commonly called bain-marie. If you don’t want to go out and spend money on a double boiler don’t fret, there is a way around it.

Use a small to medium sized pot and fill 1/3 of the pot with water. Bring the water to a boil. Place your ingredients in a  heat-proof bowl that is wider than the mouth of your pot. Ensure that the bottom of your heat-proof bowl just sits on the rim of the pot. Alternatively, if your bowl has handles, then the handles  should rest on the sides of the pot. In the latter case, ensure your pot is deep enough and only the stem touches your over-proof bowl, not the water itself.

Your double-boiler is good to go. In the case of lemon curd, the double boiler ensures that the eggs in the mixture don’t cook but instead give the curd its thickness. I assume it is the denaturing of the proteins in the egg combined with the sugar that cause the curd to thicken but don’t quote me on it.

4. Place the bowl with the orange curd ingredients over a steaming pot of water stirring constantly. You will notice that the blobs of butter are the first to melt. They don’t make a pretty sight and look like something is curdling but don’t worry, you are OK (Pictures 9 & 10).

5. Once the butter and sugar have completely melted, you will notice a glossy, yellow-ish orange liquid in your pot with bits of rind settling at the bottom (Picture 11).

6 For the next 8-10 minutes, you will have to patiently stir your pot, waiting for the curd to thicken naturally. Make sure that your pot isn’t touching the water underneath at any point in time (Picture 12).

7. Stir until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon you are using to stir. Once it is thick, take the curd off the boiler and allow to cool. Cooling makes the curd even thicker (Picture 13).

8. If you are using the curd right away, it is useful to allow it to cool and thicken Picture 14 and main picture above).

9. If you are making a large batch of curd then you need to have some jam jars sterilised and waiting to be filled with curd. An old work colleague taught me a quick technique to sterilise jam jars. Put the jar in the microwave for 2-3 minutes just before your jam/curd has set. Pull the jar out of the microwave with an oven mitt on your hand and pour your jam/curd into it as quickly as you can. Now put the lid of the jar and close it and using the hand with the oven mitt, give the jar a quick shake. The heat of the jam/curd should make sure no bugs grow in the jar especially in the space above the surface of the curd.

10. I’m not sure how long one can keep curd out in the open. I personally have always kept it in the fridge and it lasts easily for a couple of weeks which is usually when I’ve eaten it all.

11. As I said earlier, I made this curd to pour on top of a chocolate-orange cake and it was delicious! It was equally tasty on a test piece of toast ;) (Pictures 14 & 15)

 

Tips:

1. To make lemon curd, substitute 1 lemon+1/2 orange with 2 lemons – both rind and juice

2. To make passionfruit curd (yummy!) use 1 lemon + pulp of two passionfruit. I quite like keeping the seeds of the passionfruit in the spread but if you don’t like that, you can pass your curd through a sieve to remove them before storing.

3. If you are feeling a bit healthy, use brown sugar instead of white caster sugar. The colour of the curd will be a bit different but you can feel good about eating spoonfuls of it.

 

Pictures:

Orange and lemon curd method

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