Happy New Year to everyone!!Have you got any NY resolutions in mind? I keep hearing it’s not worth it to have any resolutions which you are probably not going to keep. But still, I do…maybe I am too naive, but it’s worth the try, isn’t it? This year amongst other (which I cannot reveal ;) )I’m definitely going to do my best to work on my time management skills!! Really, I get the feeling that I never get enough time to do the things I want…maybe it’s just too many things I want to do, but still, if that just means prioritising better and discarding those which can be spared, be it!
I would have preferred to start this year recipes with something maybe a bit more…challenging?!? Don’t get me wrong, usually I’m a bit of a minimalist in the sense of keep it simple (but tasty & appealing) but I would have liked to take the time to make (& photograph) something a bit more up to a…promising start (if this makes any sense to you). But, hey, the things I’ve made for this x-mas season, I haven’t had the chance to photograph…so I’m left with a symbol of this past year: (a tasty) but sweet & sour curd! Maybe that’s just life…if it were always so sweet you may not get to appreciate it as much, lucky me that I’m not a fan of overly sweet things!! :) But still, I’m only looking back to learn from the past and to try to improve what’s at hand! So, just to finish off this melancholic tone, I really wish you all health & a positive attitude to make the best out of this new 2011!!!
About the curd…I get saturated with jams and other sweet preserves, usually, but curds are my soft spot! I adore lemon curd & it’s variables (with a touch of verbena, or with lemon thyme, with rosemary, with lemongrass etc.) or raspberry or other citrus curds…but my favourite without a doubt is maracuya!!The only difference in the recipes in case you want to make substitutions? Obviously exchanging one juice for another and adjusting the amount of sugar, less for maracuya, more for lemon (unless it’s meyer…which I’ve still never got the chance to try!!!)…your guide? your personal preference. I warn you that I like to feel the sour notes, so this curd has a quick, but if you like it sweeeeet, just add more sugar. Other than that, don’t miss this recipe, it’s heaven on it’s own, over some sourdough toasts, as a filling of macarons or tartlets, as a sauce for a dark chocolate coulant (that’s how I used it this x-mas)... Just give it a try, it won’t disappoint you!
(enough for one 250g jar)
100g maracuya juice (fresh or frozen)
~80g white sugar
2L eggs (you could use up to 3, for it to thicken a bit more, but 2 works 4 me!)
~90g unsalted butter, room temperature (you can use less or more to adjust the consistency)
pinch of salt
(optional: 2-4g of cornflour for a thicker texture)*
*I’ve been playing around adding a bit of cornflour to thicken the texture reducing butter & keeping eggs to a minimum, so if you like a thicker texture I’d recommend to use no more than 4g for this recipe, to still keep it creamy!.
I usually use fresh maracuya (when my brother comes to visit from Brazil), but otherwise I haven’t tried anything better than Boiron frozen juices. Honestly, there’s not one I’ve tried that has disappointed me! pineapple, blood orange, white peach, raspberry, guava…you name it, they are all sublime! So, if a certain fruit is not available to you and you can get hold of them, don’t hesitate, they are worth their price, not too expensive, I find.
I had frozen a whole maracuya without juicing it just to try… The result? the inside had dried out, so, since I like the feeling of the seeds, I saved some to add to the curd at the end.
Now, for the super easy recipe, you can use either a heavy bottom pan (this helps even distribution of heat to avoid curdling if you use the direct method beat) or a bowl, if you prefer to cook the curd using a bain marie over a pan of boiling water to control the heat better (though this takes longer).
In whichever you choose, beat (that is, mix, not incorporating air in) the sugar (together with the cornflour to avoid lumps, if you choose to use any, I didn’t this time) with one egg at a time to blend completely, then add the juice slowly as you beat in. This avoids that some egg doesn’t completely blend into the other ingredients, and thus coagulates at around 60-65ºC giving you ugly looking lumps…which are no problem, but you’ll have to strain off.
Then, just place over low heat and keep swirling with a spatula to avoid the mixture sticking to the bottom and that it heats up evenly. It will begin to thicken up…If you have a thermometer at around 82-85ºC it will be ready, but otherwise, just remove it from the heat when if you lift up the spatula and run your finger across the line stays well marked. Then, it’s ready.
Strain it through a fine mesh to remove bits & pieces of coagulated egg if you see any…but if you beat in well the eggs with the sugar before adding the liquid, you shouldn’t have!
And when it cools slightly to about 50-60ºC add the butter broken or cut up it small pieces…and whisk it in by hand (beating vigorously to emulsify it) or with an inmersion blender.The more butter you add the thicker the resulting curd, but also the more diluted the flavour (and more fat :S), so decide according to your preferences.
After you whisk in the butter into the warm thickened juice to make the emulsion, if you had them reserved, add the seeds for a crisper contrast to the creamy curd.
Since, it’s butter, it will thicken as it cools…Place in a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge for around 2 weeks or even better freeze what you won’t be using, as it freezes really well.
I got this cute etiquette in a pack with a fantastic book I had asked for in christmas: Christine Ferber’s “leçons de confitures". Haven’t had much time to read it (again) but it’s promising. I’ll let you know with a test recipe!