Citrus Fruit and the loveliness of Curds

Zeb Bakes Marmalade with Meyer LemonsI have made two lots of marmalade, started on 1st January which seems a long time ago now and then I moved on to the Seville Oranges when they arrived in the shops. Then I got bored with chopping peel and I cut my finger (poor little me!) so used up the remaining Meyer lemons and Sevilles in the house, which were getting a little ripe to make divine fruit curds which are now in the fridge.  We love lemon curd and we love Seville Orange curd too now!

That is my red chilli plant in the kitchen still fruiting away in case you were wondering.

Zeb Bakes Lemon Shred MarmaladeDid I tell you about the Meyer lemons, fabled for their sweetness and aroma, a fruit well known to Americans, but one I had never seen here.  Gloria Nicols went shopping in Bristol and tweeted that she had found them at Tescos so we went off to find them and we did! I got some for a friend too who lives in a food desert in the East of England where their Tescos don’t stock such delights and gave her some as well at Christmas, the exchange of food being a great excuse for a get together!( along with smoked bacon ribs from Cockermouth, a Northern delicacy rarely seen in the South. But I am guessing it will become trendy one of these days to nibble on boiled bones once again… mark my words… but I digress)

The lemons are indeed quite different from Sicilian or Greek lemons, they have a delightful aroma of clementine and what I imagine is a laid back Californian sort of way about them, the sort of lemons that rollerblade and don’t moan about the weather.

I made luscious lemon curd with them two times. The second time I reduced the sugar as the first batch was a bit sweet for our tastes.

Lemon Curd by Zeb Bakes

Meyer Lemon Curd

  • Four ripe Meyer Lemons, finely zested and juice squeezed out. If you mash the remains gently in a sieve you can get a little thick extra goodness out of the pulp.
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 125 grams of unsalted butter, softened and chopped into small pieces
  • 250 grams of sugar

Note: if using regular sour lemons or bitter Sevilles you might need more like 300 – 325 grams of sugar, but it is all to taste, best thing is to dissolve it all first and have a taste and take a view before you start the final cooking part. You might find you get away with a lot less sugar or you might be able to use half and half, I am not sure.

3 – 4  seven oz jars, washed and put in a warm oven to sterilize them. Lids in saucepan of boiling water on the hob. (I got three jars out of the above quantity and a ramekin over)

In a bain marie, or a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, put all the zest, juice, butter, sugar and beaten eggs together and stir until the butter and sugar is all dissolved. If you don’t want any stringy bits in your curd, then it is probably a good idea to sieve the eggs first. I forgot and just hoiked out the stringy bit when I saw it lurking in there.

Keep the heat low, a gentle simmer, not a fast boil.  If it is too hot you might get a scrambled egg effect. Stir continuously and watch the colours change gently in the pan. You might get a little foam as the eggs start to cook, turn the heat down, if necessary remove the bowl from the pan and allow it to cool down a bit. The most important thing is to keep stirring and be patient. The curd is ready when it coats the back of your spoon like a thin custard or single cream. It will thicken up more once it has cooled.

Boil up your funnel and ladle and put it into your jars and screw the lids on tightly. Books vary in saying how long it keeps from a month to three months. We try and eat it within a month but Brian remembers his Gran making it and keeping it in the larder for several months.

For the Seville Orange Curd I followed the same procedure as above, (I had six oranges left)  used more sugar (325g)  as the juice was more sour.

There was more juice so it took longer to set off and gave us four jars as opposed to three. I didn’t use more butter though or more eggs. Some recipes suggest adding cream or extra egg yolks, I think it is just one of those things that you can be fairly relaxed about. Keep the temperature low and stir constantly and you should be fine. Or try Celia’s microwave method which she blogged about here.

Gibassiers by Zeb Bakes

You can eat the curds just as they are with a spoon. You can spread it on toast, on teacakes, use it in pastry tarts, to sandwich cakes together, dip your Gibassiers in it for complete luxury and just enjoy it. It’s the sort of thing I make once a year and eat and give away and then it’s gone till next time. Though now I think about it, there is no reason not to make it more often…

There was a cake with a delicate lemon glaze for a while in the kitchen too. I liked these lemons and hope that we continue to import them into the UK.

CrackLemonGlazedcake

51 thoughts on “Citrus Fruit and the loveliness of Curds

  1. josordoni

    I love the look of these curds and lemon drizzle loaf.. I have only ever made curd once, it is one of those things I just never got round to doing. But I must, it would be lovely as the filling in a Victoria sponge too..

  2. heidi

    Lemon Curd!!
    I made it once- but then people started giving me jars as gifts and one can only eat so much!
    (Actually, one could eat a lot more if one wasn’t diabetic- but I digress….)
    I think I will make it in the spring- like a very sweet Spring Tonic to reward oneself for making it through the winter! Thanks for the recipe, Joanna.
    That cake with a lemon glaze- now that I would make now. Or maybe tomorrow. I have a recipe somewhere for just such a cake- although I think mine has lemon thyme in it as well.
    Off to search…
    Wonderful post!
    Hope you are keeping warm!


    Heidi I can’t seem to get the reply to sit below your comment, I think because Allison has replied to yours rather than start a new comment or something and I am not feeling very techy this morning. So I will put it in here instead:

    I think it would be worth experimenting to see if one can make lower sugar versions, I will try with some regular lemons at some point. I know what you mean about too many jars Heidi. These ones are half size. I am increasingly making smaller quantities of preserves so as not to swamp either myself or the people I give them to. The cake is a pound type cake, but the glaze is from a Raymond Blanc method where you brush melted apricot jam over the cake while warm, then when dryish brush lemon sugar syrup over and return to oven to dry to a hard thin coat.

    1. chocveg

      Hi Joanna, lovely sunny post for the dull days! I made one lot of seville marmalade without peel, it is amazing! (NO choppinbg!) Just waiting for 2nd lot of oranges from Riverford tomorrow, but I also saw them in Waitrose, so good they are about a bit more! I must also have another go at Gibassiers for a practice! n Just did potato & celariac mash bread, and bread sticks this week, as I hadn’t been well, and not much energy to do exciting things!
      Hope you are keeping well, Allison

      1. Joanna Post author

        Sorry you are not well, hope you feel better soon Allison. I had celeriac mash fir supper last night, a bread sounds like a great idea, how much did you put in? Tell me more…. I use less peel than I used to or I pare the skins thinly and make shred like here. I like a little peel but not too much and not too chunky.

  3. drfugawe

    In an earlier life, I lived in Florida and I’m reminded of the times we’d hike into the ‘wilds’ and come across wild citrus trees, which usually noted a spot where the early settlers had made a homestead – the fruit was knobby, rough, and very ugly – I later learned that it was descended from the citrus brought over by the early Spaniards -probably Sevilles- (citrus seed will easily sprout and naturalize in the right environment). They were incredibly sour and bitter, astringent too – but they made wonderful marmalade. It was a fascinating history connection, and made one think about how quickly time does pass.

    BTW, I made a choc frangipane tart last week some dinner guests – it was wonderful, and we’ll make it often now! Thanks for posting about it.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Pleased the tart went down well Doc!
      Sour fruits make wonderful preserves, I looked up Sevilles for someone to see if they grew them in the States and I see they do grow them commercially. It must be wonderful to find wild citrus trees.

    1. Le Petit Potager

      The most planted backyard citrus in Australia and New Zealand……..its not suitable for commercial use because of the thin skin it doesn’t store or ship well.

    2. Joanna Post author

      Brydie, I don’t know the answer to that but Le Petit P has thoughts as you see. They were twice the price of the ususl lemons. We have lemons from all over here, the Med, Iraly, Greece, Spain, Middle East, Africa, they vary a lot. One of those fruits I would miss terribly if I had to give them up.

      @ Le Petit P, I bought these before Christmas and stored in fridge, they ripened when I took them out and I used the last up last week, so they kept for a month, but they do have much more delicate skin you are right, it goes soft and flat and changes colour to a warmer orangy shade.

  4. Choclette

    I’ve not tried Meyer lemons, but have heard they are very good. Your jars look lovely, especially the curd with the jolly red top. I’m really excited at the idea of Seville orange curd, I bet that works well with the sourness. But now I’m thinking blood orange curd, what an amazing colour that would be. I now have a quest to see if I can find blood oranges.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Choclette, I did a little test yesterday just for you ! and melted 70% choc half and half by weight into some Seville curd, and it seems to work, after a few hours it had set to a ganache/truffley consistency, tastes of very upmarket jaffa cake, very rich and strong.

      There are blood oranges around but some only have little red speckles inside, I love them too!

  5. Marmaduke Scarlet

    These are heavenly . . . sigh! I want some meyer lemons . . . and since I don’t live in a foodie wilderness I am about to start a quest!

  6. Ann

    Love your painting Joanna – looks more like the Mediterranean than cold England in Feb!
    We do have Meyer lemons here but I have an ordinary tree in the garden so I have never used them. Curd + Gibassier = sheer inspiration!

    1. Joanna Post author

      That was New Year’s Day sunshine and my doodle with Paper on the iPad. Thanks for liking it. Hope you are going to make a little curd if you have your own lemons, what a luxury. I would love my own lemons :)

  7. hotlyspiced

    Sorry to hear about your finger! Making marmalade does take a lot of chopping. I keep reading on American blogs all about Meyer lemons but I’m quite sure I’ve never seen them here. I really would like to try them xx

      1. Le Petit Potager

        Joanna, I’ll let you know when the Meyer lemons and blood oranges are ripe so you can come and pick your own……….hope you don’t mind a long trip.

        1. Joanna Post author

          I couldn’t wait ! And the oranges are in season in Europe so I had Sicilian blood oranges for dessert tonight with a little triple sec, seville curd, yoghurt and toasted almonds.

  8. icemaiden1964

    luscious! I feel I live too far east for our Tesco stores to get those lemons, but I will look! Riverford have come up with a pickled lemon kit now. Yay for zestiness.

    1. Joanna Post author

      In theory they should all be able to stock them, so maybe worth asking anyway and if enough people ask they will get, but they are more expensive. I don’t know if they are still coming into the stores. I haven’t tried pickling lemons, is that when you pack them with salt? I keep meaning to have a go! Absolutely yay for zestiness!

      1. icemaiden1964

        Seems to be a bag of lemons, some spices and some instructions, but without the salt. I have made them before, but didn’t really use them afterwards, but maybe will try again. Riverford have sold out!

  9. sallybr

    Loved the drawing! So beautiful!

    I am also very fond of these lemons, although my only experience with making lemon curd from scratch was close to a disaster. Everything looks lovely… beautiful post!

  10. Liz

    What luscious lemony treats! I find it interesting that many people are blogging about Myer lemons. We have plenty of them in our area of Australia but they’re usually second choice to the ‘normal’ lemona (Eurekas or Lisbons). I must try the Seville orange curd since I usually think normal orange curd a bit to sweet.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Liz! Sounds like you have lots of wonderful fruit to choose from at home. The seville curd has a definite bite to it after the initial sweetness. Worth a try :)

  11. Sincerely, Emily

    Hi Joanna. It has been a long time since I made lemon curd – Oh YUM! But I am more drooling over the pound cake. It looks so moist, dense and delicious. Hope your fingers is healing well – nothing like some lemon juice to clean out the cut – YIKES. I did that while chopping hot peppers this last summer, oweeee, but now infection, dang it burned though. enough gore. Beautiful curd, beautiful everything.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am all healed up thanks, citrus juice in a cut lets you know you are aliive, doesn’t it? A hot pepper cut, ewww…. xx

  12. timethief

    Thanks Joanna. Citrus flavors are my favorites. We do make marmalade but not curd and now this post is on my list of recipes to try.

  13. Jan

    I really like your drawing – it looks like a water colour painting. Seville oranges are hard to track down in Brisbane and we only get them it seems during August. I love the marmalade they make but I think Seville curd sounds absolutely delicious. Some time ago I came across a Pam-the-jam YouTube clip where she was making marmalade by first juicing the fruit and then shredding the peel and the lazy Mrs T inside me sat up and took notice (I hope my grandmother is not looking over my shoulder – she made exquisite, golden, fine shred marmalade with no shortcuts). Actually it did look like yours.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Jan, I can imagine that is a challenge, we only get the Sevilles here for the equivalent short season in our winter. You can freeze the oranges whole, if you have space, or juice and freeze the juice. I did that one year and made the marmalade in the middle of summer. I have used Pam’s method a couple of times, I like it. The app for the doodles (Paper 53) has different brushes, and you just paint away with your finger or a stylus. Makes a change from photos once in a while :)

  14. gourmetgetaway

    Looks absolutely delicious! I have never tried the fabled Meyer Lemon or the Key Lime, two things that I would love to get my hands on for cooking.

  15. lovinghomemade

    Great post, love your characterisation of Californian lemons! Had no idea you could get those here but will look out for them. Have been meaning to make lemon curd for ages and you have inspired me!

    1. Joanna Post author

      It is one of those easy if you get the temperature right techniques, too hot or you stiop stirring and the eggs do the scrambled egg thing. Give it a try :)

  16. thefoodsage

    From one lemon curd fan to another … love your work! What a gorgeous illustration to go with your post, too. And i’m very inspired by the exchange of food that you did with your friend at Christmas … what a lovely thought, and i practice i hope to emulate next year (or any other special occasion that comes along!)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thank you, what a nice thing to say. I am almost more excited by ingredients thsn recipes and even though all sorts of foods are available that were unheard of when I was growing up, I still find it fun, maybe it is the hunter-gatherer instinct subverted to modern times? Though I do like trying to grow some of our food as well.

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