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Orange Curd

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

Orange curd, as a word, sounds quite disgusting to American ears because they just think of cheese if they don’t know what lemon/orange curd is. The traditional recipe is made by slowly cooking the egg and lemon or orange mixture in a bowl over a pan of hot water until it cooks to a custard. That is such a pain to do and you really need to stand watching and stirring the mix the whole time. I have made my curd this way for many years, very easily in the microwave with a few very straightforward precautions. Please don’t rush making the curd by using high power or continuous long periods of cooking. You will only end up with orange scrambled eggs.

For lemon curd I use whole lemons, juice and zest. For orange curd I use frozen concentrated undiluted orange juice for more intense flavor plus zest of a large orange. I've found that you can't rely on whole oranges being sweet or full of juice. I use the grater known as a microplane for grating the orange peel. It is virtually impossible to grate the bitter white pith with this style of grater and you never grate your knuckles with this grater.

Note that different orange juice concentrate and different oranges zested can alter final taste.

You can top your favorite veggies or orange-inspired dishes with this recipe. Or, you can make Orange Vinaigrette with leftover orange juice concentrate, like in this recipe.

Makes about 2 ½ cups, 2x12 oz./350ml jam jars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz., 240ml) orange juice undiluted concentrate – I've always used frozen Tropicana, thawed. 
  • zest (rind) of 1 large orange – without the zest of an orange, I thought it wasn't an intense enough orange flavor but still excellent.
  • 1 cup sugar (8 oz., 225g)
  • 4 oz. (112g, ½ cup) unsalted butter
  • 3 large/standard eggs, at room temperature, otherwise the mix will take longer to cook.

Directions:

Cooking times will vary depending on power of microwave. Go slowly the first time, but never cook the curd at more than 30% power once the eggs are added. With the higher power microwaves available, I make mine at only 10% power once eggs are added.

  1. Grate orange rind finely into a 4 cup glass jug that has straightish sides so the mixture cooks evenly.  I use a pyrex/corning/anchor hocking 4 cup/1 liter glass measuring jug.
  2. Add orange juice concentrate and sugar.
  3. Microwave on high until sugar is melted – about 3-4 minutes (again careful with times with higher power microwave). Check, stir and stop once sugar is melted. Be careful - you can burn yourself with the hot sugar.
  4. Add butter and stir until melted. I find that adding the butter and stirring until melted, cools the mix enough so that the eggs aren’t cooked to scrambled eggs when you add them.
  5. Beat each egg individually and add to the orange mix one at a time with the immersion blender running as you add the egg. Use an immersion blender to totally blend in the egg so that no strands of egg are left visible. The blender also chops the orange rind much finer. If you use an immersion blender there is no need to strain the orange curd after cooking, which many old recipes directed you to do.
  6. Microwave for 33 seconds at 10% power. Stop and whisk quickly with a hand held small stainless steel whisk. Continue to microwave for 33 seconds at a time, still at 10% power, whisking well after each additional cooking. My microwave took 4 sessions of 33 seconds at 10% power.
  7. Microwave until you can see mixture has changed i.e. visibly looks cooked like a thicker sauce. Stir mix with metal spoon, and draw a line down the middle of the back of the spoon with your finger. You should see a clear line showing down center of spoon with the orange curd staying put on either side of line you drew with your finger. On an instant read thermometer you can get the curd to reach 160° without curdling. 160° is the temperature at which salmonella is killed if salmonella is present in the egg. The sauce will not become solid like hard butter as it cools, but is spreadable, like soft, room temperature butter or home made set jello pudding on cooling.
  8. Pour into clean jam jars that have been filled with boiling water and emptied to dry thoroughly just before you want them, or else clean margarine tubs, washed in dishwasher. Store in fridge where it will last about 4 weeks. It will also freeze successfully. Mix 50/50 with whipped cream for an instant dessert or use to fill cakes, etc. Serve on toasted muffins, bagels, etc.

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