Miscellaneous-Sour-Fruit(s) Curd

Originally, I’d planned to make this a straight-up ground-cherry curd, since ground cherries are (a) local, and (b) citrusy. However. Ground cherries are also (c) expensive, and (d) small… and also (e) not that citrusy once they’ve been cooked for ten minutes. So I actually ended up doing a “general mixed fruit curd” using what I had on hand[1].

~*~

Ingredients
½ C butter
6 eggs
2 C granulated sugar
¾ C sour fruit, pureed[1]
½ tsp orange extract (optional – also tequila might work nicely here)
Pinch salt

Directions

1) In 4+ cup saucepan, cook the fruit – possibly with a little vinegar (I used pear cider vinegar, but whatever) until soft and falling apart.

2) Put the fruit through a food-mill (or use one of those immersion-blender things – that’s what I did) and puree until smooth[2].

3) Combine the pureed fruit, in the sauce pan, with the butter and the (optional) orange extract, and allow the butter to melt, on low heat.

4) While the butter is melting, combine the eggs, the sugar, and the pinch of salt in a bowl or – better – in the tall, narrow container that (hopefully) came with the immersion blender, should you be so lucky as to have one.

5) Use the immersion blender (or a hand mixer – use what you’ve got) to blend the eggs and sugar into a well-integrated goo. It should be… not quite the right colour for egg yolk, but still fairly yellow/orange (if you’re using turbinado sugar instead of white-sugar sugar, the colour will be darker than what I’ve described, though probably not by much).

6) Slowly add the egg mixture to the bubbling fruit mixture, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula (I used a silicone one, and it worked just great) to prevent things from sticking to the bottom[3].

7) At this point, you should sterilize your jars. This recipe makes about four cups so that’s one Litre jar OR two pint jars OR four half-pint jars OR eight (roughly[1]) half-cup jars, or some combination of the above that you happen to have on hand. I went for the half-cup jars because I like to give this stuff out as presents, and so the more units the better.

7a) Anyway. At this point, you should sterilize your jars (while continuing to stir the curd, seriously) along with their lids and rings.
I sterilize mine in a boiling-water steam bath (you put them, mouth down, in a frying pan full of water and bring the water to a boil. The steam, which is way hotter than the water, does the sterilizing, and you don’t have to deal with a giant vat of boiling water on your stove. That said, do what you will. You can also clean them in a dish-washer that has a hot-wash/sterilize setting, for example.

8) The curd (which you need to have kept stirring), should be getting nice and thick now. This is when you take it OFF the heat.

9) Using a clean (steam-sterilized) spoon and a wide-mouth funnel, scoop/pour the curd into your jars. Cap them, and then process them upside-down in a boiling-water/steam bath for about 10 minutes[4].

10) Allow the jars to cool on a wire rack. You’ll hear the “plunk” as they seal. (If you don’t hear this, and they don’t seal, you will need to process them again… or just eat a lot of fruit curd over the course of the next couple of weeks and keep the stuff in the fridge).

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So there you have it. Miscellaneous Sour Fruit Curd. You can make this with raspberries, blackberries, cranberries[5], sour cherries, and no few other bits and pieces if you happen to have them on hand.

The curd I made, using raspberries, lemon, and ground cherries is a pale pink colour, flecked with bright red where the raspberry pulp clung to its seeds. If I’d used only ground cherries – with a hint of pear vinegar, most likely – I’d have wound up with a mildly-flavoured curd with a pale yellow colour that was due as much to the egg yolks as the fruit. When I do this with cranberries (did it last year, and it was a big hit with my family), I’ll get a medium/dark pink colour and a sharper taste. It all depends on what you use. Theoretically you could do something utterly luscious using pears or nectarines but… I’d rather cook those down into fruit butters, to be honest.

Anywhoo. Onwards and upwards.

TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] I used ¼ C mashed ground cherries, ¼ C lemon pulp and juice, and ¼ C frozen raspberries. Except that I didn’t actually use an entire quarter-cup of the raspberries and, as such, my yield was more like 3¾ C of curd… than four.

[2] If you want to avoid having seeds in your curd, and are using a fruit like raspberries or service berries, you would do well to strain the pureed fruit through a sieve or a cheesecloth or something. I didn’t and my curd has these bright red flecks where the raspberry pulp clung to the seeds. It depends on the look that you’re going for. Personally, I’ll opt for straining it, next time.

[3] Most curd recipes say that you should do this in a double-boiler. You can if you want to. I get impatient so I just do it right on the heat. In theory, you’ll get a smoother curd if you use the double-boiler method, though.

[4] I tend to process fruit butters and stuff with eggs in it for longer periods than I do jams and pickles. I’m not actually sure if this is necessary, but it makes me feel better. 🙂

[5] Which I’ll be doing in another month or two, fyi.

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