I love fruit curds – very retro and very under appreciated. Not only are they great in sandwiches, on toast and for scones and pancakes and similar things, but I often use them as either cake or tart fillings. I sometimes mix them with a little whipped cream or will use them in place of jam in a layer cake or in place of creme pat in a fruit tart.
You can pretty much make a curd with any citrus or berry fruit. This one is glorious and because the fruits used are so sweet I’ve not had to add so much sugar, making it a lighter curd (lemon or orange curds need a lot of sugar). The finished result tastes like an artisan strawberry ice cream – it’s totally delicious.
You don’t need a thermometer to make a curd, as you can just keep going until it thickens (curds are a very ancient dessert and they definitely didn’t have sugar thermometers hundreds of years ago). However, if you have one, the curd will thicken at around 82-85C.
- A glass bowl and saucepan or double boiler/bain marie
- Balloon whisk
- Various bowls
- Knives, spoons, wooden spoons
- A fairly open sieve (ie not a fine one)
- A blender or hand blender
- A sugar thermometer (easier but not strictly necessary)
- Glass jars with lids – you’ll need about 3 typical-sized jam jars (around 300 – 325ml each)*
*to sterilize the jars, either pop them in a hot oven for 10 mins or stick them through a hot wash on your dishwasher. Lids can’t go in the oven, so hand wash these then give them a quick rinse with some water from a just-boiled kettle.
- Victoria plums (or your favourite – damson would be good when in season) – about 6
- Pomegranate – 1 largish
- Strawberries (very ripe or those just about to ‘go over’ would be perfect) – about 150g
- Unsalted butter – 100g
- Sugar – 50g
- Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
- Eggs, medium – 4
- De-stone the plums, take the leaves off the strawberries and take the seeds out of the pomegranate
- Pop all the fruit in a blender and whizz until fine (or use a hand blender)
- Strain through a large-holed sieve as you want to keep the plum skin, the strawberry seeds don’t matter if included and even a few pomegranate seeds are also ok
- Keep the fruit puree to one side
- Get your saucepan and glass bowl or bain marie going. Bringing a few centimetres of water to the boil in the saucepan and pop on the bowl
- In the meantime, lightly whisk the eggs in a small bowl and leave to hand
- Put the fruit puree, the butter, sugar and lemon juice in the top bowl and let it melt together
- Once the butter starts melting, use the balloon whisk to smooth it all out and add the eggs. Don’t let the mix get too hot before you add the eggs – if you’re worried take the bowl off the boiler for a minute and add the eggs while it is not being heated (if you have a thermometer you can check the temp is no more than about 55C at the time the eggs are added). Put the bowl back on the boiler if you did take it off
- If the eggs start to look like they’re going into scrambled eggs, take the bowl off the heat and give it a good whisk before returning to the boiler
- Turn the heat up and keep whisking until the curd is smooth and thickened
- Pour into your pre-sterilised jars
- Keep in the fridge