It’s currently the season for one of my favourite fruits: the Seville orange.
You could make marmalade with the glut of these gorgeous citrus (which I will do occasionally, but is much more involved) or you could make orange curd. It’s simple, delicious and curds are a wonderful first step into preserving. And no sugar thermometer needed 🙂
I’m on a bit of a mission to get fruit curds back into home cookery. They’ve been seen for too long as old-fashioned and deserve a bit of a resurgence. Yes, they are very old (in my lemon curd recipe post I talk about the first recorded recipe for ‘lemon cheese’ which appeared in 1844 – although it’s expected that it was made much earlier than that) but they are very more-ish, easy to make and have many uses.
Fruit curds are highly adaptable. This recipe could be used to make an orange tart (just fill a pre-baked pastry case with the curd and let cool/set in the case), spoon onto pancakes or crumpets, add a dollop onto ice cream, layer it on top of your muesli or even use it as a base for a sauce to go with duck. I have written this recipe up as I have included orange curd in a custard tart recipe that I’ve made and will write up soon.
I devised a basic recipe for curd many years ago and apply it to many different fruits: please try my other curd recipes: a traditional lemon curd, a pomegranate plum and strawberry curd which is especially unusual and delicious and a hedgerow fruits curd).
In a happy coincidence (and totally unplanned) this recipe makes around 500ml – I only know this as it almost fills a half litre Kilner jar to the top.
To sterilize jar(s) for the orange curd, either pop them in a hot oven for 10 minutes 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. There are extra tips on sterilising jars within my lemon curd recipe.
Because oranges vary in their sweetness, take the amount of caster sugar (250g) as a guide. It is typically correct, but if you think the batch of oranges you have is particularly sweet I’d suggest just putting in 200g to start off with, then taste test. Equally in the ingredients notes I’ve said make sure you have some extra caster sugar to hand in case you need to add more, if the oranges are a little more acidic.
- Sterilised jars (not needed if you are to eat the curd straightaway or are filling a pastry case with it)
- Fine sieve or strainer
- Citrus juicer/squeezer (I favour a simple wooden one)
- Bowl or large jug to juice the oranges into
- Measuring jug (to at least 200ml)
- Oranges – 4 large (ie Seville, Navel) or about 6 smaller ones – you need around 200ml of juice in total. Alternatively you can just used a good shop-bought orange juice
- Large eggs – 2 whole and 2 yolks
- Caster sugar – 250g (plus have a bit extra to hand in case you need to add more)
- Unsalted butter at room temperature and chopped into small cubes – 115g
As I’ve mentioned previously in other recipes, curds are made similarly to custards except they contain fruit juices/purées instead of milk or cream. You do not need a sugar thermometer for curds.
- Zest two oranges and keep this aside in case you need to add the zest for added taste later (it will be difficult to zest oranges that have been cut and juiced, so do this now in case)
- Juice the oranges over a sieve into a bowl or jug (some small pieces of flesh are good but you should strain larger pieces out and remove all traces of any white pith)
- Measure out the juice as you work your way through the oranges – you may or may not need all of them to make 200ml
- Whisk the eggs together in the saucepan
- Put the saucepan over a medium heat (on a small burner or plate) and then add the rest of the ingredients
- Start to whisk – this doesn’t need to be very vigorous but do ensure you’re reaching all parts of the pan and don’t stop whisking or it will scramble
- Once the ingredients are melted together you can turn the heat up to medium-high
- Keep whisking all the while: it doesn’t take long, but you have to stay with it
- Once it’s thickened, turn off the heat and keep lightly whisking for another few minutes while it cools a little, just to ensure it thickens enough
- Taste it at this stage – if it is sharp, add a tablespoon more sugar, whisk it in and taste again. Repeat as necessary. If it needs a little more vigour, add the zest from earlier and stir it in for a little more piquancy
- Once you’re satisfied with the level of sweetness/tartness and it is thick enough (it should have the consistency of a very thick custard) pour it into a bowl or tart case for immediate use or a sterilised jar if you think you won’t use this within the next day or so
- Leave somewhere cool to chill and set