Extremely rich and rather time-consuming to make, orange curd, like lemon curd, is something of a luxury. It is tempting to make it in large batches, on the principle that, since it takes so long to make, it is worth making plenty of it. It is a temptation to be resisted unless you plan to give lots away or use some of it immediately in Seville orange ice cream. The reason for this is that the curd does not keep long, no more than four weeks and preferably less. Since it contains raw eggs, it should be kept in the refrigerator. Do not let all this put you off making it. Seville oranges are such a rare treat that they deserve being made the most of. I pot my curd in
Grate the zest from the oranges, and put to one side. Rub the sugar lumps over the oranges to extract the rest of the oil and flavour, and put in a bowl set over hot water, together with the rest of the sugar. Halve the oranges, and squeeze the juice into the sugar. Add the pieces of butter, and stir until the sugar has almost dissolved and you have a uniform mixture. Gradually beat in the eggs, and continue to cook over hot water until the mixture thickens.
This will take anything up to 40 minutes. The process should not be hurried, as you risk the mixture curdling. After about 25 minutes, stir in the orange zest. I do not like to add it earlier since it takes on a somewhat mar malady quality from long cooking, and I like to preserve the sharp, unique, fresh flavour of the bitter orange. The mixture should lightly coat the back of a spoon before you remove it from the heat. Do not worry if it looks pourable rather than spreadable. The mixture thickens as it cools. Pour into small, clean jars, allow to cool slightly, and then seal, label and refrigerate.
You can use the curd to make a number of easy yet luxurious chilled or iced puddings, such as soufflés, parfaits and ice creams.
© 2000 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.