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A sweet pair for Valentine’s Day – blood orange and mixed berry-vanilla curds

Sometimes, friends, the best laid plans …

I had a lovely idea for you for Valentine’s Day.  Fluffy angel food cake with a sweet little pair of fruit curds – tangy, creamy, sweet, and romantic. One blood orange, one mixed berries and vanilla. Some whipped cream, some chocolate shavings, some berries. A flirty dessert for your Valentine that won’t weigh you down like some sort of chocolate extravaganza.

Blood_oranges_2

But then my angel food cake testing went a little awry. Tasty, certainly, but a little too sticky the first time, and a little too clumpy the next. A work in progress.

But I’m still going to give you those curd recipes, and know that you can use them on just about anything. Maybe you have an angel food cake recipe that you like. Or maybe you should make a pavlova (another good way to use up all those egg whites left behind by these curds). Shortbread would be great here too. Or vanilla bean pound cake. Or just fingers.

It is Valentine’s Day, after all. 

Curds

This is flirting food, by the way. A dollop on a sweetheart’s nose. Food to feed each other, maybe by hand But nothing to weigh you down. Just a little romance, with hints of springtime and berries and citrus.

And so easy to make! The same basic recipe with different zests and juices to flavor. They’re very easy to make ahead, as well – they’ll keep in the fridge for at least a week or two, which means you could make them right now.

Angel_food_cake

A quick warning, though – these curds use up quite a few egg yolks. I’ve made them with a smaller number of whole eggs, but I find that the texture just isn’t as lovely.  If you don’t want to use up quite so many egg yolks, each one of these curds is fantastic on its own. Also, keep in mind there are some great ways to use up those leftover egg whites. These macaroons are particularly great, and meringue cookies or a pavlova would be a great pairing with curd. Or an angel food cake, which uses about a dozen egg whites and was actually what left me with the yolks that sent me on this curd adventure in the first place.

Blood orange curd

  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • Zest of 2 blood oranges (about 2 tsp.)
  • 1/2 cup blood orange juice
  • 10 Tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

- Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and zest in a medium pot (3-4 quart) until very light in color.

- Add the juice and butter and cook over medium heat, whisking fairly often until the butter is melted. Begin whisking constantly, making sure you’re scraping against the bottom of the pot, until the mixture thickens and begins to simmer. At this point it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

- Strain the custard through a mesh sieve into a bowl. Let cool, stirring once or twice, until it reaches room temperature. Pour into a jar or other covered container, placing plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd so it doesn’t form a skin. Serve chilled or room temperature. Keeps covered in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Mixed-berry curd with vanilla

  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 4 tsp.)
  • 1/2 cup juice from about 3 cups of thawed frozen berries (or 1/2 cup berry juice, no sugar added)
  • 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 10 Tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

- Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and zest in a medium pot (3-4 quart) until very light in color.

- Add the juice, butter, and vanilla and cook over medium heat, whisking fairly often until the butter is melted. Begin whisking constantly, making sure you’re scraping against the bottom of the pot, until the mixture thickens and begins to simmer. At this point it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

- Strain the custard through a mesh sieve into a bowl. Let cool, stirring once or twice, until it reaches room temperature. Pour into a jar or other covered container, placing plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd so it doesn’t form a skin. Serve chilled or room temperature. Keeps covered in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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  1. It sure sounds like you had fun with this. I wish I could have been there.

    February 10, 2012
    • I flirted with myself while I made and ate them. Sorry you missed it, husband.

      February 10, 2012

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