Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sophie Grigson's Lime Curd

This is curd recipe number three of four.  And has been made in preparation for the creation of an amazing lime and blueberry cake that I plan to make for Easter Sunday dessert.  That recipe comes from one of the lovely bakey tweeps that I follow on Twitter, @DomesticJules.  More about that next Sunday.

But in preparation, I decided to make my curd in advance as today's recipe.  I'd never tried making curd before this challenge, but it's one of those things that if you are ever in a competition like the Great British Bake Off, you're expected to make the curd from scratch, rather than using shop-bought.  Even if it's the best ever shop-bought in the world (and consequently tastes better than you could ever make it).

The first time I tried making curd, I picked a Nigel Slater recipe.  There's just something about him that made me believe that his recipe would work.  Which it did.  Beautifully.  I used it for filling macarons (which were a less successful recipe attempt), slathered it over Dan Lepard's Easy White Bread and mixed it into creme fraiche for a quick dessert.  Before discovering that actually, it goes mouldy pretty quickly and sadly it got consigned to the bin.

If only it would last until Feb 2015...
Pleased with my first attempt, I decided to give Jamie's Clementine Curd a go.  It sounded like the perfect thing to do something with for Christmas.  Thankfully I never established what I wanted to do with it, because first it went all scrambled eggy, then it wouldn't set and the result was just way too sweet.  Citrus is meant to be suck-your-teeth tart in my world.

So on to lime curd.  I don't know why limes are so much less popular than lemons.  But I love this flavour. As an adult, it's superseded my childhood love of lemon as my favourite citrus fruit.  You will rarely enter my kitchen without being able to find a lime somewhere.  Plus several lime halves in various stages of desiccation in my fridge - yup, I'm a bit slummy sometimes (well I prefer forgetful).

It gets squeezed into many chicken and fish dishes.  My favourite way to cook tuna is with a squeeze of lime and a generous sprinkle of pepper and sea salt.  One of my much-asked for recipes is for my key lime pie.  I love making that as you need to juice about 12 limes and the smell is just amazing.  I rarely drink, but my favourite alcoholic drink is a mojito, closely followed by a margherita.  My shower gel is made from limes.  If I could afford it, my kitchen would have lime green lacquered cupboards.  I love the fresh zingyness of it all.

Having Googled around for recipes, I settled on one by Sophie Grigson.  This seemed to have the highest lime-to-sugar ratio, but I still through an extra one in for good measure as it only specifies the number of limes to juice rather than a liquid volume.  I also like that it makes just a small quantity.  Just enough for the cake and a bit left over for Monday's breakfast so it won't go to waste this time.

Like Slater, Grigson cooks her curd in a bain marie.  When I tried Jamie's recipe, it was cooked directly in a pan and I still wonder if this is why I had trouble with it.  Who knows?  The one difference between Slater and Grigson's methods is that she suggests you sieve the eggs into the pan.  At the start, this seemed like a novel idea as the egg was slowly dripping into the bowl meaning I could keep my stirring pace fast, but not mental without fear of a huge lump of scrambled egg forming.  After five minutes however, the egg dripping stopped and I still had at least half of it in the sieve.  Worried that it had started to cook itself from the steam rising from the pan, I slowly dribbled the rest into the pan from the bowl of the sieve, thus defeating the object of bothering to sieve in the first place.  Definitely an unnecessary, faffy step.

Anyway, the recipe was successful.  It set and I'm left with a sweet, limey, wobbly curd.  It's not as solid as the Slater version, but perfect for using in Jules' recipe.  And best of all, home made and additive free so it has a lovely gentle yellow colour with green flecks from the zest, rather than the quite obviously artificial colour I've seen in shop bought lime curd.  Very excited about making the cake next Sunday now.

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