During these cold winter months, when the juicy peaches and plump berries of summer are but a distant memory, this is the season to savor citrus.
Thick, citrus-flavored “curd” can be used as fillings for layer cakes or cake rolls, or combined with whipped cream for fluffy frostings. The addition of egg yolks along with whole eggs gives the curd a particularly rich flavor.
Choose fruits that feel firm and are heavy for their size, a sign of juiciness. They will be even juicier if brought to room temperature or warmed slightly before squeezing. Try microwaving them on medium power for 15 to 20 seconds.
Freezing tip: Place the chilled curd in an airtight container, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd and cover tightly. Freeze for up to 1 month. There is no need to thaw before using.
3 or 4 lemons, 4 or 5 limes, or 2 to 3 oranges, preferably organic
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
|Zest the fruit
Wash the fruit. With a rasp grater positioned over a bowl, carefully draw the fruit across the grater, removing just the colored portion of the peel, called the zest. Take care not to remove the white pith below, as it is bitter. Measure out 2 teaspoons zest and set aside.
|Juice the fruit
Cut the fruit in half crosswise. Using a citrus reamer or a citrus press held over a bowl, juice each half. Pour the juice through a fine-mesh sieve held over a measuring cup or bowl to remove the pulp and seeds. Measure out 1/2 cup juice and set aside.
|Add the butter
Cut the butter into 12 equal pieces and add them to the mixture without stirring. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat until the water is barely simmering.
|Check the consistency
To test the consistency of the citrus curd, pull the spoon or spatula out of the mixture and draw your finger across the back; a trail should remain that does not fill in immediately. (You can also test the curd with an instant-read thermometer; it should register 165 degrees F when it’s inserted into the mixture.)