I want to bring up two things I’ve taken issue with over the past week: dating, and the word curd. I don’t like either of them, and have no solutions to propose, but let’s discuss.
Topic one: dating. I loathe dating. Sure, it has always been laced with thrill and misery, but I propose that my fellow generation’s way of approaching dating is fundamentally different from that of my parents, grandparents or grandparents. Men and women are pretty much on the same level now, thank goodness. With equality, however, comes massive ambiguity.
These days men are no longer obligated to make the first move, and I am told that they often are too intimidated to try. This is unfortunate because I don’t have the guts to try, either. Official dates are rare and most often, I find myself confused at the proposed prospect of hanging out. Just what does he mean, let’s hang out?
In my experience, these repeat undefined casual dating experiences don’t turn into relationships of substance. Rather, they tend to blow up in a poof of smoke that leaves me with a black cloud overhead and bleak hopes for finding a mate. From nothing to nothing, I find myself, once again, mourning The Thing That Never Was and wondering, why do I care? Does it really matter? Top that off with exes smattered over my Facebook feed and I can’t help but feel like I’m truly cursed. Cue Extraordinary Machine, extra-large glasses of wine and snuggles with my sweet dog, my ever-present and loyal companion.
Second topic of discussion: the word curd. It’s not a sexy word, and I assure you that this curd is very much so (not unlike the tall, broad-shouldered boy who has me all fired up and writing about the throes of dating). It’s silky smooth and tart, infused with puckery citrus flavor that is mellowed by sweet honey.
The technique I use here skips the straining step required in most curd recipes. Straining is a pain and it’s wasteful, so why bother if you don’t have to? Thanks to some magical chemical interactions between butter, eggs and natural sugars, you’ll be blessed with perfectly smooth curd from the second you take the pot off the burner. I made two batches of curd right after another, the first with Meyer lemons and the second with blood oranges.
Which of the curds do I prefer? I like the tartness of the blood orange; Meyer lemons are a little too sweet here. The zing of the blood orange curd keeps me coming back for more.
I really hope you’ll give this recipe a try because if I can do it, you can do it. Twenty minutes of standing in the kitchen, juicing, zesting, mixing and stirring produce deliciously sweet-and-sour spreads that you’ll enjoy on all kinds of sweet treats. Cheery jars of curd beckon every morning when I open the refrigerator for breakfast, and I can’t resist the temptation to mix it with a big dollop of Greek yogurt and serve it on top of a slice of home-cooked molasses bread. I also love it swirled into my oatmeal, whether steel cut or old fashioned, again with Greek yogurt.
You’ll find more serving suggestions in the notes below, so hurry and get some beautiful organic citrus before citrus season ends! Locals, you can find the supplies at Native Roots Market. The owners kindly provided the citrus fruits and local honey for this recipe (thanks Sara!).
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup honey
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup fresh blood orange or lemon juice (about 4-6 blood oranges or 6-8 lemons). Be sure to zest the citrus before juicing it!
- 1 tablespoon finely grated blood orange or lemon zest
- In a medium bowl, cream the butter and honey until fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs slowly.
- Pour in the fresh citrus juice, and pour the mixture into a medium-sized, non-reactive saucepan.
- Cook over moderate (medium-low) heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture has thickened and becomes jelly-like, which took about 5 to 7 minutes for me. This happens in a flash so pay attention! You really want to let it teeter on the edge of boiling, but pull the pan off the stove before it gets to a rolling boil. It’s done when your finger leaves a clear path on the back of a wooden spoon (be careful, it’s hot!).
- Immediately remove from heat and stir in the citrus zest. No straining required!
- Pour the curd into a glass jar(s) and let it cool completely before you screw on the lid(s). Store the curd in the refrigerator.
- Adapted from Green Market Baking Book and Fine Cooking's foolproof method for lemon curd.
- Yields 2 cups of curd.
- Since you're using citrus zest, it really is best to buy organic citrus fruits. I also recommend buying fresh, organic eggs (always). They taste better!
- Wondering what to do with those extra egg whites? These macaroons (my favorite cookies!) will use up three of them!
- Fine Cooking says that curd freezes well, so you can save extra for later! They say that it does not freeze solid so it's easy to scoop out what you need.
- Suggested uses for citrus curds: Serve on honey or molasses bread, buttered toast, scones, pound cake, gingerbread, shortbread, or molasses cookies, either on its own or with a dollop of whipped cream, crème fraiche, cream cheese, vanilla ice cream or Greek yogurt (as shown). It also makes a great filling for tarts, crêpes, stuffed French toast and sandwich cookies! It would be a lovely addition to a berry parfait as well. The options are limitless!