Fruit curds are not strictly speaking a preserve, although you’ll find lemon curd on the shop shelf next to the jams. Whatever, curds are delicious and versatile. They make a great filling for tarts and cakes as well as thickly spread on bread and butter.
Because of the lightly cooked eggs in them, there are health implications and home made curds are probably best avoided by pregnant ladies, babies, younger children and the elderly or anyone who is at particular risk from salmonella. It is a very small risk, but nonetheless a risk.
Eggs to be used should be fresh, but not newly laid (about two days old is ideal) and have deep-coloured yolks, especially for lemon curd. The butter should be unsalted.
Unlike jams which set, curds just become thicker as they cool. Don’t worry if it seems a little runny when you pot up but if at the end of the cooking time, the curd seems very thin, add another egg yolk and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
Fruit curds are generally made from citrus fruits, predominantly lemon, but it’s worth trying out other fruits, such as gooseberries, quince, apricots and cooking apples.
The same equipment as for jam making is necessary with the addition of a double saucepan or a heatproof- bowl placed over a pan of hot water.
Do remember that the curd will thicken as it cools and will also shrink, thus filling right to the top of the jar is important.
Curds will last about 3 months if kept in a refrigerator, 6 weeks in a cool, dark place and only about a week once they are opened.
Making Fruit Curds
- Wash the fruit and, if using citrus fruit, remove very thin strips of rind and extract the juice.
- In the case of citrus fruit place the rind, juice, butter and sugar in the top part of a double saucepan or heatproof-bowl over a hot pan of water on low heat.
- For other fruits, follow as per the recipe. Dice the fruit and steam in a minimal amount of water and mush to a pulp. Transfer to the top part of a double saucepan or heatproof-bowl over a hot pan of water on low heat before adding the butter and sugar.
- Stir until the butter and sugar has dissolved.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and then strain into the mixture to avoid getting any lumps or egg white into the curd.
- Simmer gently, stirring to prevent it sticking to the pan or bowl until the curd coats the back of a spoon.
- If, at the end of the cooking time, the curd seems very thin, add another egg yolk and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
- Pot immediately into clean, hot, sterilized small jars right to the top and put a circle of waxed paper, waxed side down over the curd.
- Wipe the jars clean and cover.
- Leave to cool and then label with contents and date.
- Store preferably in a refrigerator. If not in a cool, dark place.
Recipes For Fruit Cheeses & Butters
- Quince Cheese Recipe
- Gooseberry Butter Recipe
- Black Currant Butter Recipe
- Damson Cheese Recipe
- Cranberry Cheese Recipe
- Spiced Apple Butter Recipe
More on Preserves
- Fruit Butters & Cheeses
- How to Make Your Own Ketchups & Sauces
- Pickles – How to Make Pickles
- Relishes – How to Make Relishes at Home