Raspberry Curd

21 Jul

Pure Raspberry TasteThese last few weeks, I seem to be inspired by my conversations with people online. Articles, notes, photographs, comments … all these things make me think of different foods and ideas. And of course, eating – Nathalie’s Gourmet Studio last night was a veritable treasure trove of inspiration, and reading about other people’s favourite meals makes me think of different connections and ideas. I was chatting with my dear friend, Floating Lemons, and she mentioned that she was hoping for raspberries picked from her garden. I dreamed of raspberries that night! They are such a perfectly gorgeous fruit – and most of the time, they need no adornment. Well, may be a little cream, but thats totally optional. At the same time, I was reading Tamasin Day-Lewis’ cookbook, Kitchen Classics, and in it, she had a raspberry curd tart…

It looked so dramatic and so gorgeous, but what really intrigued me was the raspberry curd. When I first encountered lemon curd, I could not imagine the alchemy needed to produce this tart sweet creamy fondant. It was like lemon candy, but softer; jam, but creamier; pudding, but clearer. Fruit curd was always one of those things that terrified me – I was sure I would try and cook it and it would turn into an almighty mess, coating me and my kitchen with drippy gloopy failure. Well, I stand here before you to tell you that fruit curd is unspeakably easy to make. It does take effort, dont get me wrong, but the benefit outweighs the pain. Home made fruit curd trumps anything you can get in the markets – especially if you are vigilant and use all organic ingredients.

Making fruit curd is, for me, a deep and intense meditation on the fruit. It is extremely relaxing because you really need to focus only on the ingredients in front of you, and how they come together to create something so different, yet so essentially the same as their individual parts. Butter, eggs, egg yolks, fine sugar and fruit. Thats it. Whisk it constantly over a low, slow heat and watch magic happen – literally. It will come together and thicken, and deepen in flavour, but it wont over cook as long as you keep the heat low and slow. You will come away with a thick jammy (but not jam) mix, that literally trembles when you serve it so delicate it is, that is the esesnce of the ripe fresh fruit.

I have made loads of different curds, but this one feels very exotic in a way. May be someone in Europe would feel the same about a pineapple curd, but the deep fuchsia colour and the bright raspberry taste make this unique and special to me.

I have made this two ways – in a tart a la Tamasin Day-Lewis, and rippled into a warm rice pudding. The first is rather dramatic and stark, but pretty sensational. The second is comforting and yet sophisticated all at the same time. However, dont be constrained. Use it as a spread for breakfast, stir it into yogurt, or eat it by the spoonful for the sheer joy of it. Its a wonderful present too. People are astonished that you can make it, but they are also so pleased with something so out of the ordinary.

This recipe makes about 3 1/2 cups of finished raspberry curd. If you want to keep it or give it away, please follow jam bottling protocols. I used all mine up, so there wasnt much to save but there was a whole lot to savour 😉 I will give the recipes for the tart and the rice pudding separately.

  • 450 g / 1 lb fresh raspberries (about 1 1/2 cups after sieving)
  • 2 eggs + 3 egg yolks (I use organic for this)
  • 1 cup superfine brown sugar (see below)
  • 1 cup / 8 tbsp butter

I use an immersion blender in two places in this recipe. It makes things very easy, and it also enables you to liquidise and refine in your cooking bowls, rather than have to transfer from a blender or food processor. It simplifies things, but if you dont have one, use a blender or processor and adjust accordingly.

In a bowl, using an immersion blender, liquidise the raspberries. They should be pretty much a thick bright pinky red puree – no berry or flesh left whole.

Over the top of another bowl, place a sieve. I use a nylon sieve that sits on top of the bowl – this is very useful for jobs like this because it will take a lot of liquid all at once. Pour out the raspberries into the sieve, and using a spatula or wooden spoon, coax the juice and flesh through the sieve into the second bowl. This can take a while, and I usually like to do it slowly and thoughtfully. Its part of the process 😉

Once the sieve holds nothing more than tons of raspberry seeds, lift it off the bowl, and using your spatula, scrape the thick juices that cling to the bottom of the sieve. Measure off your pureed fruit and you should get about 1 1/2 – 2 cups. Set aside.

Whisk your eggs, egg yolks and sugar together.  I use light brown organic sugar in this recipe, but I was concerned about its fineness. I used the immersion blender to pulverise the sugar so that it was super-fine (not quite powder, but no large granules either). If you have super-fine sugar, skip this bit but its quite fun! If you do grind it fine, then just add the sugar to the eggs and whisk well. You want a light yellow thick ribbony mixture.

Prepare a bain marie (water bath) on your stove top. I have already written about how I dont use double boilers. A medium sized saucepan, filled about 1/3rd with boiling water, and a large metal bowl set atop, do it for me. If you have a double boiler, go for it! Basically, you never want the mixture to boil. You want to keep it at a very low heat for at least 15 – 20 minutes.

In your metal bowl, set over the saucepan, melt the butter. Once the butter is completely melted, whisk in the egg mixture and the raspberry puree. And now, just keep whisking. It may take you 10 minutes or longer (it usually takes me about 20 minutes of constant whisking) but eventually, this very syrupy thin concoction of butter, eggs, sugar and fruit will start to thicken. For me, this process is all about faith! And bravery to be honest. First time I made it, I was scared I was going to scramble the eggs, but if you keep the temperature very low (the water does not have to be at a boil – a simmer will do), and keep whisking whisking whisking, it will turn out beautifully.

You are looking for a soft whipped cream consistency, so that as you whisk, you see the tracks of your whisk in the curd. When it gets to this point, and it may take a while, your curd is done. Take it off the heat, pour and scrape it into a clean, cool bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let it sit and cool, and solidify, for at least an hour or more and then refrigerate. It will deepen in colour and become thicker, so that it stands up on a spoon.

Bottle, or use in desserts, spread on toast or scones, and delight in the taste of summer.

7 Responses to “Raspberry Curd”

  1. Karolina O'Donoghue July 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh yes!

    • delectableblog July 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

      Youve moved from a tremble to a fully fledged…………………

  2. Mariana July 22, 2010 at 6:54 am #

    Raspberries! Yum! Hopefully I’ll have tons for us to pick (and for you to create wonderful concoctions with!) next summer 🙂

  3. Cathy July 30, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    My curd didn’t get thick. I stirred and cooked over an hour to 165 degrees. Can I re-cook?

    • delectableblog July 21, 2015 at 8:14 pm #

      Yes, you can re-cook. Remember that curd does thicken – let it sit for a while.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Lemon Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream « delectable - August 14, 2010

    […] of the ice creams I will be making is this lemon raspberry ripple ice cream. The raspberry curd has been featured in a previous recipe, and it is the perfect balance to the creamy yet tangy lemon […]

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