I have a new, french press coffee pot. I’m very excited. Mostly because I can make the best damned cup of coffee I’ve ever had with this baby.
I’m largely a tea drinker, but sometimes, especially in the winter, I just need that rich, dark cup of coffee. And for me, there is something about the smell of coffee and the smell of citrus that just go so well together. It may be Pavlovian, since winter is the time of year I ingest both more regularly.
Last week blood oranges showed up in my local market. A little pricey, I spurlged and got four of these small oranges and squirreled them away so my family didn’t mistake them for the regular every day oranges.
Looking at them, they don’t look so special. They are small compared to most of the pumped up oranges on the market these days. Some of them hint at what’s inside, with a blush of burgundy on the rind. But cut one open and bam!
Rich, juicy, pomegranate red flesh is staring back at you. These are Moro Blood Oranges, just one of several varieties and the most common. Apparently, they are also the least interesting, flavor-wise, of the blood orange varieties. They are still very good, and I have no basis of comparison. They are sweet and tart, and zest from their skin is highly aromatic.
I poked at these for a few days, knowing that I wanted to make something special from them. I already had several jars of orange marmalade, and since we don’t use *that* much marmalade in my house, decided against making more. Instead I turned to the Food in Jars cook book. If you don’t know Food in Jars, you should. Marisa knows her stuff, and a recipe of hers is golden; I haven’t had one fail me yet. I decided to do a riff on citrus curd, using her basic recipe for meyer lemon curd only subbing in my blood oranges. The recipe in her book is slightly different from the recipe on her blog. I prefer the book version, but both are good.
Unlike regular jams and jellies, fruit curds don’t rely on pectin to set up, so you can easily double or even triple this recipe without any trouble. This makes a small batch, just enough to share if you are so inclined. Or it can be waterbath canned safely. Curds don’t have the same shelf life as other preserves because they start to separate and the texture gets weird. Use canned curds within 3-4 months. In the fridge, fruit curds last several weeks from a spoilage stand point…. they rarely last that long from an eating stand point around here.
Blood Orange Curd
Adapted from Food In Jars by Marisa McClellan
Makes 2 half pint jars
1/4 cup blood orange zest (about 4 small oranges)
1 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1/2 cup blood orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut in to cubes
1. If canning, prepare a boiling water bath and two half pint jars, lids and rings.
2. Combine zest and sugar in a bowl, rubbing the zest in to the sugar until fully combined. Set aside.
3. Add two inches of water to the lower pan of a double boiler (if you don’t have a double boiler, a heat proof mixing bowl fitted in to a sauce pan will work. Just make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water in the lower pan when it is set in place.). Bring water to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, with the top part of the pan (or bowl) off of the stove, whisk together the egg yolks and whole eggs. Whisk in the zest and sugar combination. Stir in the orange and lemon juice until everything is well blended.
4. Add butter and set the pan/bowl on top of the double boiler pan of simmering water. Using a silicon spatula, stir continually while the curd is cooking. Keep the lower pot simmering, but not at a roiling boil, adjusting the heat as necessary. The cooking curd should never be bubbling.
5. The curd will thicken slowly over the course of 10-15 minutes. Keep stirring to prevent too many bits of egg cooking on their own. When it is done, it will coat the back of your spatula without running and be about the consistency of sour cream.
6. Remove the top pan from the heat and pour through a sieve in to a large measuring cup with a spout. Straining the curd will remove the zest (it imparted its flavor during cooking, promise) and any bits of eggs that may have cooked in the curd.
7. Pour in to sterilized jars, leaving slightly more than 1/2″ head space. Apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes. When the time is up, turn off the heat and let sit in the water for 5-10 minutes before removing. This will help prevent the curd from bubbling out of the jars. If not processing, pour the curd in to a sterilized glass jar and allow to cool before capping and putting in the fridge.
Much of the colour of the blood oranges is lost in this curd, but there is rosier hue to this curd than other orange curds I’ve made. Curds like this are great on toast or other pastries, or spooned in to small puff pastry shells and served with tea to company. Just try to resist eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon. Or not. I won’t tell if you won’t.
This post is for the All Four Burners January Can It Up! Citrus round up.