It is true that I love a tart and tangy curd. It is also true that I was obsessed with making curds this past week. And it is true that I’m not going to stop here. I might give it a break until a few different varieties of fruit come into season but stop I will not. How I wish I was on our narrowboat, Patience,  harvesting the autumn fruit ripening on  the endless miles of hedgerows that are the companions of the canals. Maybe next year…

Until recently I had only ever made a lemon curd. My mother made apple curd for apple meringue pies because as a child I hated lemon curd. Impossible to believe! Many years ago my older sister made elderberry curd from a plant in her garden and I remember it being delicious. I’ve always wanted to replicate it.  My younger sister recently made apricot curd from the fruit growing on her beautiful property in McGregor in the Western Cape. But until I read the blog post on fruit curds by Neil of British Food: A History, with his comment that curds don’t just come in lemon yellow, I hadn’t really thought that much about making any other curds.

So I started experimenting  and over the past few months made passion fruit and quince curd. Both exquisite  I have to say.  And then, motivated and inspired by my participation in Scarlet Bennett’s creative challenge, last week turned into a celebration of the versatility of the curd.

On Day 23 I produced a naartjie and passion fruit curd; on Day 24, a pink grapefruit curd; and on Day 27, the week’s pièce de résistance  – beetroot,  citrus and thyme curd.

I’m going to have to hold myself back, I feel an urge to get into the kitchen and try a tarragon, black pepper and orange curd but I have a long to-do list that was rather neglected this week because of all the time devoted to the cooking of curds. Luckily we don’t have any oranges and we have run out of eggs, butter and sugar too. Pity.

Beetroot, citrus and thyme curd

  • 600 ml mixed beetroot and citrus juice. I used 5 small beetroot with their stalks but not the leaves, 3 smallish oranges, 4 clementines, and 3 lemons.
  • Grated rind of an organic lemon
  • A couple of sprigs of thyme – don’t be shy
  • 120 g butter
  • 250 ml granulated sugar
  • 6 large free-range  eggs

Put the mixed juices in a heavy bottomed pot and reduce  to 300 ml as per the instructions on 101 Cookbooks along with the zest and thyme.  Add the butter and sugar to the reduced juice and heat  slowly until it comes to the boil. Remove from the heat, strain and cool for a couple of minutes while you beat the eggs until light and fluffy.  Slowly pour the hot juice mixture into the eggs whisking constantly. Pour back into the pot and cook on a low heat and stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit or 82 degrees Celsius.  Pour into sterilised jars and seal or  into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled for more or less immediate consumption.