This is a recipe for how to make jars of sunshine. It feels kind of strange that Seville oranges are in season during January, when they look and taste (to me at least) like the warmest of July days. A longing for the warmer months is starting to creep up me just now. I can feel it. It always comes about during this part of winter, when the sun is at its most feeble and it seems like a lifetime ago that we were able to set foot outside the front door without a hundred layers on our backs. When I can’t even recall what it feels like to have heat on my skin, and strawberry and peach season seems a million months away.
This curd is my antidote to all that. It’s simple to make (no thermometers needed), and is so incredibly versatile. So far I’ve eaten it with yoghurt and porridge at breakfast time, by the spoonful at lunchtime, and this afternoon I’ll be baking it into a birthday cake for my Mum. I also have some leftover eggwhites in my fridge, which I’m planning on whipping up into a meringue and pairing with the orange curd, whipped cream and crushed ginger biscuits as a wintery take on Eton Mess.
Now let’s make orange curd, and pretend that the sun is just around the corner…
Recipe adapted (barely) from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall for the Guardian.
200ml Seville orange juice. Approximately 6/7 oranges if juiced by hand, fewer if juiced with a machine.
400g granulated sugar
125g unsalted butter
Zest from 1 Seville orange (or from 1 regular orange, for sweeter zest)
2 eggs + 2 extra yolks, beaten
- Place a couple of inches of water in a large saucepan, and set a heatproof bowl over the top of it. The water should not come into contact with the bottom of the bowl. Turn the heat up medium-high.
- Cut up the butter into cubes, and place in the bowl over the heat along with the sugar, orange zest, and juice. Heat gently for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved, the butter has melted, and the mixture is amalgamated and glossy.
- Turn the heat under the pan and bowl down to the lowest setting, and wait a minute or two. (The original recipe didn’t call for this, but it negates the fear of the mixture being too hot and scrambling the eggs, which is never a bad thing). Then pass the beaten eggs through a sieve and into the butter mixture, whisking gently with a balloon whisk as you go. When the eggs have been full incorporated into the butter mixture, turn the heat under the pan back up to medium.
- Heat for a further 15 minutes or so, whilst the mixture thickens. Stir fairly frequently with a wooden spoon, to distribute the heat evenly through the mixture. After about 12-15 minutes, test for ‘doneness’. Dip the spoon into the curd. It should be thick enough that it coats the back of the spoon in a layer a couple of millimetres thick, and there should be a visible channel left in the curd when you run your finger through the mixture on the back of the spoon. It will thicken dramatically as it cools, so don’t fear that it’s still rather loose in texture. (n.b. The original recipe states that a sugar thermometer placed in the curd should reach around 82 degrees at this point.)
- Pour into sterilised jars whilst still warm, and set aside to cool. Refrigerate once opened.
p.s. The photos of the curd in jars were taken whilst it was still fairly warm and fresh off the heat. It had cooled and thickened a little, but is still a pretty good representation of how the curd should look when finished cooking and ready to be put into jars.