Orange Curd

I’ve had more than one friend turn up their nose at the word “curd.” Is it like curds and whey, they ask,  or like cheese curds? Oh no, I say – it is a delicious creation that’s kind of a cross between preserves and pudding. I’ve made lemon curd, lime curd, and blood orange curd in the past, sometimes using whole eggs and other times just egg yolks. I find that yolk-only curds tend to be tangier, while whole-egg curds have a lighter flavor and texture.

Fruit curds are a great way to use leftover egg yolks from meringues and macarons, and are actually a wonderful complement to such treats. This orange curd, made with Valencia oranges and just a hint of lemon juice, tastes a bit like an orange cream popsicle. I suspect it will get added to a cake for our Easter dessert tomorrow, but we’ll see.

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 teaspoons cornstarch
  • zest from 3 Valencia oranges
  • 3/4 cup Valencia orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 12 tablespoons butter

Preparation

Lightly beat egg yolks and pass them through a fine sieve to remove the albumin. Set aside in a medium bowl close to the stove for easy access; thoroughly wash your sieve and place it nearby for a second straining once the curd has cooked.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, and orange zest until completely combined. Add butter and cook on medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

Working quickly, pour about half of the hot lemon mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper. Pour egg mixture back into the pan and cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

Pour mixture through your sieve to remove the zest; press waxed paper (or plastic wrap) onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Once curd is completely cooled, place in an airtight container. According to various food safety websites and other food blogs, fruit curd made with egg yolks only (not whole eggs) should last in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

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