Friday, February 13, 2015

Honeyed Blood Orange Curd

When I lay my baby girl down on her changing table she breaks into a fit of giggles and many times the giggles turn into a full on hearty, belly laugh that doesn't stop until we're done.  I can't imagine for the life of me what is so funny about diaper changes, truly.  But whatever she imagines causes this moment of pure joy that is so infectious, no matter what my mood is I can't help but join in the merriment.  It's such pure and unadulterated happiness, so simple and sweet with nothing held back.  Those are the moments that make my Mama heart sing.

It got me thinking about moments like that in my own life.  There are plenty of memories from my childhood and silliness with my sister, unforgettable moments with my best friend from high school and my college roommates, sledding (zooming!) down a 7km Swiss road with my then 4 year old son in the blindingly fresh snow.  But what I've come to realize, sadly, is that the scales are tipped in favor of childhood.  As we get older there are fewer and fewer instances of that sort of joy.  We are either too busy to notice the moments that could spark the laughter or are too self conscious to let ourselves go the way a small child would. 

So I've vowed to myself to join in with my my sweet girl when she gets giggly.  I want to tip the scale back in the other direction.  Because joy shouldn't be limited by age. 

Honeyed Blood Orange Curd
Makes about 1 pint
For the printable recipe, click here.

This curd is really quite lovely, sweet without being overly cloying.  It's not quite as tart as a lemon curd because the blood orange is a beautifully fragrant and sweet citrus.  I hold back on the sweetener (honey in this case) to keep the orange flavor at the forefront and keep the curd from getting too sweet.  It makes a great spread for biscuits and scones, a dip for berries (if you can find any quality ones in the same season as the oranges) and fills pastries beautifully.  In this case, I made small pavlovas (a sort of flat-ish meringue) that I filled with a scoop of curd.  The result was a taste that brought me back to the days of running after the ice cream truck on a hot summer afternoon as a kid.  Talk about joy!  The curd and pavlova combination is a sophisticated dessert that is unfussy and easy to make and reminiscent of a cloud-like creamsicle.  Childhood joy for an adult palate- perfect.  The meringue recipe is not mine, so I will simply give you the link (though I use lemon juice in place of the vinegar and add a smidge more vanilla) to the recipe from The Kitchn.  Any way you use it, this blood orange curd is quite something else.

Zest of 1 blood orange
1 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (3-4 oranges)
1/4 cup mild flavored honey (this is a perfect time to use orange or citrus blossom honey)
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
4 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1/8 tsp fine sea salt

In a small saucepan, bring the orange juice to a simmer over medium heat.  Continue to simmer the juice until it has reduced by half.  Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Add the zest, honey, eggs, egg yolks, butter and salt to the saucepan and whisk to combine.  Place the pan over medium low heat.  Cook, stirring continuously with a heat proof spatula until the curd begins to thicken.  Take care to get into the corners of the pot with the spatula.  The curd is ready to ready to remove from the heat when it is thick and glossy and coats the spatula.  Remove from the heat and cool completely.  Refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use.

The curd will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

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