A couple weeks ago, I was walking through Reading Terminal Market when I spotted a bin of blood oranges. They were relatively small, but the sign said they were just 4 for $1 and so I picked up eight. I had no plan for them beyond making something delicious. I buy produce like this far too often.
I considered making marmalade, but I still have one jar left from last year (and I’ve been working on a few varieties with Meyer lemons and Cara Cara oranges). As I thought over my other options, it occurred to me that it’s been far too long since I had a jar of curd in the fridge. And so the decision was made.
The nice thing about making blood orange curd is that it only needed half of my oranges (so I may just make myself a batch of blood orange shrub). I added the juice of one lemon to the mix to up the pucker a little and had a very generous 1/2 cup, which is exactly what I needed.
Whenever I make a curd, I always make sure to search out the very best eggs, because they contribute both color and flavor to the finished product. The only problem with that in this particular curd is that the yolks were so vividly orange that they muddied the ruby color of the blood orange juice. Happily, the resulting salmon color doesn’t impact the flavor, it just looks a little funky.
Let’s talk briefly about canning and curds. In my first book, I included three curd recipes. Because of differing acid contents, two are deemed safe for canning and one is not (I take my cues from the National Center for Home Food Preservation).
These days, I don’t can my curds at all, even when working with those that are higher in acid (which this one is not). That’s because I find that the texture often firms up unpleasantly in the boiling water bath canner. Curds will keep a couple weeks in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer.
Let’s talk a little about what you can do once you have a batch of curd in the fridge. You can use it to fill a layer cake. You can smooth it into a tart shell. You can dip berries into it. You can dollop it on scones or biscuits. Or, you can do my favorite thing in the whole world and stir it into a bowl of Greek yogurt. The combination is sweet, creamy, and just a bit tart. Truly, it’s the best thing ever.
Blood Orange Curd
- 3-4 blood oranges
- 6 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 ounces unsalted butter cut into cubes
- Remove the zest from the oranges with a Microplane and set it aside. Juice the oranges and measure out a generous 1/2 cup of the juice. Taste it and add a splash of lemon juice if you feel it needs a little extra pucker.
- Pour an inch of water into a medium saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Whisk together the juice, zest, egg yolks, and sugar in a heatproof bowl that will sit comfortably over the simmering saucepan.
- Place the bowl over the saucepan. Switch to a spoon or silicone spatula and start stirring. Keep stirring until the curd thickens, coats the back of the spoon, and starts to cling to the sides of the pan between stirring. If the eggs look like they're starting to scramble instead of thicken, pull the bowl off the saucepan and turn the heat down.
- When the curd has thickened sufficiently, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter.
- Position a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and push the curd through. This removes the zest and any bits of scrambled egg (no matter how careful you are, you always end up with a few).
- Scrape the finished curd into a jar and let it cool. Once it's down to room temperature, put a lid on the jar and pop it in the fridge.