I have always been a fan of fruit curds: they liven up any scone and cake. They are so simple to make and they taste far better than any curds you can buy: even the luxury ones that cost a small fortune at farm shops. This is my recipe for raspberry curd.
Most of the fruit I eat and use in my dishes are from our allotment and while fresh strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants, for example, are great eaten as they are, they make particularly wonderful curds.
You can also make the fruit curd below using frozen fruit, taken straight from the freezer.
My top buttercream tip!
Buttercreams can be very sweet and sickly and I like to make fruity buttercreams by simple adding a fruit curd to the mixture: a few tablespoons, a little at a time, until you get the sharp fruityness coming through.
This is particularly great when making a standard buttercream that is just butter and icing sugar beaten together: the curd lifts it into entirely more pleasurable heights!
The wedding cake below, that I made for the daughter of one of my colleagues, had a little raspberry curd beaten into buttercream: just enough to give a pale pink tinge but a nice fruity tang to proceedings.
Seriously, once you have made a buttercream with fruit curd beaten in it is hard to go back to the “just icing sugar and butter” version!
Freshly made scones with clotted cream (or whipped double cream!) and home-made curd is one of life’s best food pleasures.
The links to two of my favourite scone recipes: a plain, traditional scone (nothing wrong with that!) and an Earl Grey tea scone, bursting with juicy sultanas and the like.
Recipe: raspberry curd (makes 3-4 jars)
- 500g frozen or fresh raspberries
- 300g caster sugar
- 250g unsalted butter, in smallish pieces
- 6 large eggs, beaten
(1) Heat the raspberries in a small pan over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring from time to time just to break them up and help release their juice. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl, pressing to get as much as the wonderful juice as you can.
NB: you only need to heat the raspberries until they break down enough so that they can be easily strained to get all that wonderful juice.
(2) Add the sugar, eggs and butter to the warm raspberry juice, mix well and place over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Stir the mixture well with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and just coats the back of the spoon (the consistency of double cream). Be patient: this can take 20-25 minutes or so, or a little quicker if the raspberry juice was hotter.
NB: instead of cooking gently in a bowl over hot water, you can pop all the ingredients directly into a pan with a low heat along with a couple of teaspoons of cornflour, stirring all the time until the mixture thickens: just be careful that the eggs do not scramble. However, if they do start to scramble, remove from the heat and pass through a sieve and all should be well.
(3) Remove from the heat and pour into sterilised jars – the curd will thicken further as it cools. Keep in the fridge and use within a month.
Different fruit curds
For other curds, simply replace the raspberries with fruit of choice. Some of my favourites are:
- orange curd: the juice of 5 large oranges – no need to heat the juice
- lemon curd: the juice of 6 large lemons – no need to heat the juice
- strawberry curd: use 500g strawberries
- blackcurrant curd: use 500g blackcurrants
- passion fruit curd: about 400ml passion fruit juice (about 15-20 passion fruit; plus seeds if you want the crunch and extra flavour) – no need to heat the juice