Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Orange Curd

Pudding-like in consistency, citrus curds are thickened with fresh eggs and cooked over direct heat in a non reactive saucepan.  I've shown you my favorite Lemon Curd used every single year to make a very popular Lemon Curd Cake, however, I haven't explored an Orange Curd on my blog.  The sweet, fragrant and positively delicious flavor of orange is perfect for this type of curd.  Just about any citrus curd can be used to fill a number of layer cakes, tarts or pies.  It can also be used as an accompaniment to a wedge of angel food cake, a slice of pound cake, a most delectable muffin or atop a large Pavlova.  The technique for making this Orange Curd is exactly the same as for lemon curd; they're both absolutely easy.  What is of the utmost importance, though, is that you use very fresh eggs and the juiciest of navel oranges, along with the best unsalted butter.  Let's start cooking!



I like using organic navel oranges with unblemished rinds.  They must feel juicy & heavy, and have a deep orange color.


The Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup strained, freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup strained, freshly squeezed lemon juice (I like Meyer)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
 Yield: approximately 2 cups.


In a non reactive saucepan (I'm using a 3qt. saucier), combine all of your ingredients, except the butter.  Over medium heat, begin whisking the ingredients and switch to a wooden spoon (I like using one exclusively for this purpose only) as soon as the mixture begins to heat up.  Stir constantly all around the pan and watch it closely.  Don't walk away from this or you will curdle the curd. 


The mixture will gradually thicken as you cook & stir it.  Any curd is ready as soon the back of the wooden spoon can be thickly coated.  Remove it from the heat when it looks like the picture above.  Don't be alarmed if you see a bit of cooked egg white or egg (sometimes it's inevitable), because the curd gets strained.

Depending on your flame, the entire cooking process will take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.


Strain the delicious orange curd through a fine mesh sieve set over a heatproof bowl.  The zest and any bits of cooked egg will be left behind.  Don't forget to scrape the bottom of your strainer!


One tablespoon at a time, add the butter and stir to combine until it melts.  At this point, you want to refrigerate the curd.  What I love to do is set this bowl over a bowl of ice water, stirring from time to time, until it cools down to room temperature.  Have a taste.  Delicious, don't you think?


As soon as it cools to room temperature, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd, making sure you cover the edges well.  It's imperative to do this in order to prevent any skin from forming on top.  Now you can chill the orange curd until you're ready to use it.

Note: orange curd can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for about 1 week. 


Eaten with a spoon, Orange Curd is guiltily luxurious.



To be perfectly honest with you, I much prefer making any curd or custard the day before I plan on using it.  Having this Orange Curd thoroughly chilled makes it easier to work with; if you must use it the same day, just leave it over the bowl of ice water until it's very cold.  Most layer cakes benefit from having such a filling (think yellow cakes, white butter cakes, chocolate cakes or jelly rolls), so I encourage you to give this recipe a try the next time you want to make a dessert extra special.  I hope you make it soon, because I know you're going to love it.  Bon Appetit!

2 comments:

  1. You absolutely read my mind today! I had an order for lemon bars (try the recipe by John Baricelli-it's to die for) and I was wondering what they would be like if I made them with fresh oranges instead. The inside of the bars are like a curd after they are baked so I guess I could just substitute as you suggested. Thanks for inspiring me to step outside the box! Yummm....

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  2. Yes, John Baricelli's Citrus Bars are to die for! I love all of his recipes. Enjoy!

    ~David

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