Monday, October 08, 2007

Variations on a Curd (not to be confused with Kurdistan)

The steps and the proportions of juice and sugar remain constant as with lemon curd. What will vary are the amounts of sugar and the final temperature.

My nieghbors who have citrus trees have quickly figured out that if they leave sacks of fruit on my doorstep (or, in the case of the ones who are intimidated by the cactus fence, the gate that has "Desajunes Solos" arched over it, and then the dogs) outside the entrance gate, that there will be marmalades, and citrus curds in the pipeline coming back to them.

I already gave the variations for lime curd at the bottom of the lemon curd recipe, but, in case you missed it, they are to reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup and the final cooking temperature to 185°. The lime curd is something I often substitute for lemon curd in things like blueberry tarts, or kiwi (kiwi tart mmmmmmm!) because it is a far subtler touch. Even though the natural color is a pale pale yellow, it tastes green. Some folks throw a couple drops of green food coloring into the finished product to have their tongue's experience match up with their eyes. I don't, but suit yourself.

Bitter Sevillanas are the oranges that are most used for marmalade. The juice from these oranges also stands up to the cooking process far better than any other. Their resulting curd is vibrant and muscular. The only concession I make to these is because their skin is so thick, and so bitter that I use the zest of the more gentle navel orange or the valencia instead. For a Sevillana curd I use 4 teaspoons navel or valencia zest, and, depending on whether or not I am looking for a more tart or balance out a batch of bitterness, I will vary the amount of sugar between 3/4 cup and 2/3 cup. The temperature for the finish is 185°.

Blood Orange curd. Because the blood orange is a far more delicate flavor to obtain the proper vigor I always start with twice as much juice which I then reduce by half and then cool to room temperature before making the curd. Decrease the sugar by taste to somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 cup. By the reduction process there is already twice as many sugars present in the juice itself, so force yourself to taste this one constantly during the process. A teaspoon of this over a Crème Brúlee is something that must be experienced to understand.

Valencia oranges are a little different. These are superb juicing oranges but it is a far less intense flavor. Start with enough juice to be reduced by three quarters, and use twice as much zest. A little kiss (1/4 teaspoon) of orange oil will added will really punch up the impact flavors of this one. Decrease the sugar from 3/4 cup to somewhere between 1/2 to 2/3 cup. Final temperature is 180°.

Passion Fruit also makes a sublime and vibrant curd. I warn you, it is addictive as crack and might lead you to disgusting excesses of danish pastries and ice cream, or ostentacious slatherings of peach pies.

Use a fresh purée or a commercial (any respectable cake or baker's supply will have decent passion fruit pur&eactue;e or juice available) for this. Use fresh lemon zest as if you were making a lemon curd.

Take 6 tablespoons of passion fruit for the cooking process and after it is finished and strained add in another 4 tablespoons with the zest, into the finished product.

The finish temperature for passion fruit is 190°.

3B's

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Passion Fruit also makes a sublime and vibrant curd.

O

M

G...............................


- oddjob (one of whose favorite drinks is jugo de maracuy√°!)

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you puree passion fruit? Do you strain the seeds out first or just cut open the fruit and put all the insides directly into the blender?

- oddjob

10:44 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

strain, or pick the seeds out before either purée or juicing. or, use a finished juice (be sure to read your label to get a full on passion fruit juice and not a flavored apple juice) or pur&eactue;e.

10:59 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

drat html!

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you ever use fresh fruits rather than purchased purée, and if so do you have a color preference? How wrinkled do you let them get before use?

- oddjob

11:24 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

i found myself holding my breath as i finished reading. geeeezz.

12:08 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i prefer to use the fresh fruit whenever i can. i don't so much go for color and appearance as i concern myself with feel, is it a solid piece of fruit, is it heavy for its mass, is there a wave of good smell from the stem? stuff like that. wrinkles are fine, especially the little spiderwebby guys evenly over the fruit. bruises and mushy spots are death though.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks! In the case of passion fruit different fully ripe colors generally correspond to different species, and I wasn't sure whether there were distinct flavor differences among the spcies that made any difference or not. You answered that question for me.

- oddjob

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

MB,

I like the juxtaposition of the orange with the creme brulee.
I do not understand the death by chocolate routine that so many enjoy. I like sweets that are tart, or not cloyingly sweet, or have some interesting counterpoint.

Much like yourself, methinks.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lisa, in that case if you've never tried passion fruit you are missing out on a taste you will probably seriously love! Passion fruit pulp (you don't eat the seeds, not unlike a pomegranate) has an especially vibrant contrast of sweet & sour!

- oddjob

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Thanks, oddjob. I've always shied away from the ungainly-looking passionfruit, not knowing what to do with it. Guava, too. I will try it on your suggestion.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guava is mild & mostly just straightforwardly sweet, with a lovely, fruity perfume.

- oddjob

10:24 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i get into the chocolate time once our temperatures have fallen. but, don't be afraid of chocolate either. i'm planning on running another truffle contest again when i go into full on holiday production. i promise that the judging criteria will be arbitrary and unfair, also highly susceptible to all forms of corruption.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

ah, NOW you're really doing it.

chocolate! : )

11:58 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

if you want an idea up in the left hand corner do a "search this blog" for both chocolate and for truffles. . .then search for souffle and and few other treats.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

MB,

Please do not think I am an enemy of chocolate. A few rich truffles with a nice liqueur or espresso can transport one.

I simply do not like gloppy, too-sweet chocolate icing on chocolate cake with chocolate bits inside... At some point, it is overkill. I like subtlety.

6:39 PM  

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