As I mentioned previously, I was generously given an enormous quantity of limes this winter and have been working my way through them by making Key Lime Pies, lime pudding, lime marmalade, various pickled lime things, and lime curd. Citrus curds in general are one of those things that almost everyone likes, but that are often seen as too much trouble – with double boilers, and whisking for hours, and lumps – not to mention the huge numbers of egg yolks and limes/lemons etc.
So, I had the lime supply solved, and lots of lovely eggs from my friend’s chickens (hence the rather unlikely colour), all I needed was to solve the double boiler and lumps problems! Or rather Molly (via a couple of other sources) did, and I pinched the idea. The amazing idea that makes this an easy five minute job is using a stick blender to whiz up the eggs, juice and sugar first, which means you can then whisk in a saucepan over a direct flame and it will thicken perfectly in a few minutes! I was pretty dubious about this, having always been nervous about making anything thickened with eggs over direct heat, but I’ve made it four times now to perfect results every time. I’ve also made fabulous Meyer lemon curd, and blood orange is next, but first the recipe…
makes approx 4 cups but feel free to halve if you’re paying $1.50 a lime!
- 1 c lime juice (approx 8 limes but depends on size)
- 6 whole eggs
- 6 yolks
- 1 c sugar
- 120g salted butter
- 3-4 Tbs lime zest depending your taste (you won’t need to zest all the limes)
- pinch salt
If you want the curd to keep for a while, sterilise four 240ml jars (or whatever size you have that totals about 4 c). See the process I follow here.
Zest the limes until you get 3-4 Tbs. Juice them and measure 1 c juice (microwaving for 10s or rolling on the bench helps to get more juice). Have the butter at room temperature and cut roughly into chunks.
Add the juice, eggs, yolks, sugar, zest and salt to a medium saucepan, and whisk briefly to combine. Then, the important step, use a stick blender to thoroughly mix until the egg is completely broken down – the mixture will be slightly frothy.
Heat the saucepan over medium heat whisking regularly. If you like living dangerously (or you accidentally, I don’t know, do something like having the stove on high and walking away!) then I’ve found continuous, rapid whisking will thicken it in about 2 min. If you’d prefer the less terrifying approach, keep over medium heat, whisking more often as it heats, and whisking constantly once the edges starts thickening. I’ve shown the three stages with the mixture blended, thickened, then with the butter beaten in, above.
Once thickened, turn off the heat and whisk in the butter a couple of chunks at a time. When smooth, pour into the hot jars and seal. Most recipes recommend curd will keep for a few months sealed, and a couple of weeks on the fridge once opened – though finishing it quickly enough is not usually a problem! If you don’t like the idea of room temperature storage then don’t worry, it also freezes and defrosts very well.
[Edit 22/8/14: I made a half batch of this with the juice and zest of two blood oranges, and actually found it too sweet to eat plain i.e. with toast or scones. It is, however, sublime swirled through plain yoghurt so it’s certainly not going to waste!]
[Edit 2/9/15: I have now also made this recipe very successfully with passionfruit – substituting passionfruit pulp for the lime juice. I made a half batch using half a cup of pulp, from about six passionfruit. I don’t strain the seeds, but note that when the curds is cooked the seeds tend to fall to the bottom, so if you prefer, you can leave most of them behind when pouring into jars.]