Lemon curd is one of those products where I’m unable to eat the commercial stuff, but adore a good homemade version. Sharp, tangy and sweet all at the same time, it’s fabulous spread on hot buttered toast, as an alternative to jam on scones and as a cake filling or topping. It even works beautifully baked into cakes.
|Chocolate Roasted Rhubarb Pavlova with Rhubarb Curd|
Last weekend my mother turned up with a lovely bunch of rhubarb from her garden. Rhubarb used to flourish on our allotment and we had a big glut every year. Since moving down to our plot on the field, however, rhubarb has persistently refused to grow and I really miss it. One of the things I used to make was rhubarb curd and I had a sudden yearning to make some again. However, as this was back in pre-blog days, I couldn’t remember exactly how I made it or what recipe I used, so I cobbled something together with a little help from Belleau Kitchen. My yearning was partially stimulated by a desire to make chocolate meringues and top them with rhubarb curd in a grand vision I had for chocolate and rhubarb pavlovas. For the chocolate meringues, I again did my own thing using the Riverford Farm Cook Book as my initial inspiration.
This is what I did to make:
- Separated 3 large duck eggs and whisked the whites in a large clean bowl until foamy, reserving the yolks for the curd.
- Added a pinch of cream of tarter and whisked until soft peaks had formed.
- Added 200g vanilla sugar (golden caster) a spoonful at a time, whisking in between each one.
- Sieved in 3 teaspoons of arrowroot (I generally use this instead of cornflour as it has similar properties and is said to be beneficial).
- Sieved in 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder and whisked until stiff peaks had formed.
- Spooned the mixture onto lined baking trays to form eight circles, leaving plenty of space in between each one (just as well I did as the meringues virtually doubled in size).
- Formed into nest shapes. leaving a large indentation in the middle.
- Sprinkled a little cocoa powder over each one.
- Baked at 150C for 10 minutes, then at 125C for a further hour. Switched off the oven and left the meringues inside until cold.
Meanwhile I made:
Rhubarb & Elderflower Curd
|Rhubarb & Elderflower Curd|
- Chopped 400g of already trimmed rhubarb stalks into chunks.
- Put them in a pan with 2 tbsp elderflower cordial and simmered until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Used a stick blender to puree.
- Mixed the 3 egg yolks in a bowl with 100g vanilla sugar (golden caster).
- Placed over a pan of simmering water and stirred – I didn’t want it so hot that I got scrambled eggs.
- Added the hot rhubarb puree and continued to stir.
- After about 10 minutes of regular (but not continuous) stirring, added 50g unsalted butter.
- Stirred for another 5 minutes or so, until the mixture had thickened.
- Poured into sterilised jars & sealed.
|Rhubarb Roasted with Elderflower Cordial|
- Cut 200g of already trimmed rhubarb sticks into finger sized lengths.
- Cut this into batons lengthways.
- Placed in an ovenproof dish together with 1 tbsp elderflower cordial.
- Sprinkled with 1 tbsp of vanilla sugar (golden caster).
- Roasted at 200C for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb was soft but still held its shape.
Mini Chocolate and Rhubarb Pavlovas
- Spooned a tbsp of rhubarb curd onto a meringue.
- Topped with a teaspoon of clotted cream.
- Decorated with fingers of roasted rhubarb in what was meant to be an arty, chefy sort of way.
|Chocolate & Rhubarb Pavlova|
Mini Pavlovas is something of a misnomer; they actually ended up being rather large. The grand vision I had didn’t exactly come to pass, but goodness gracious, the pavlovas were scrummy. The combination of zingy rhubarb curd with chocolate meringues complemented each other perfectly. The contrasting textures of smooth and crunchy added to the overall enjoyment. The rhubarb curd was delicious in it’s own right and I was really pleased with the lovely orange colour it turned into; I was thinking it might just come out as a rather unlovely muddy brown.
I am sending this off to Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays where anything submitted must be made entirely from scratch.
As rhubarb is still in season, I am also entering this into Simple and in Season with Ren Behan.
The rhubarb was home grown, making this summery dessert inexpensive, so fitting nicely into the Credit Crunch Munch remit with Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours. This month’s event is hosted by Anneli of Delicieux.
The inclusion of elderflower cordial, made with my own fair hands, using foraged elderflowers means I am also entering these to Herbs on Saturday with Karen over at Lavender and Lovage.
These mini Pavlovas are perfect for al fresco eating in the lovely weather we are currently experiencing. I am thus submitting these to a new monthly blogging challenge from Delicieux and Chez Foti, Four Seasons Food. This month’s theme is Picnic food and Outdoor Nibbles.
I forgot to check what the letter is for Alpha Bakes this month, but have just done so and fortuitously it is R. So I am entering my R for Rhubarb to The More Than Occasional Baker who is hosting this month. Caroline Makes hosts alternately.
Having seen some lovely looking raspberry curd over at the HungryHinny back along, I was determined to make some as soon as possible and as it happened just in time to use in cakes for my birthday tea. I had some rose sugar just waiting to be used and some local raspberries – raspberries and rose are a heavenly combination.
This is what I did to make the raspberry & rose curd:
- Squished 200g of raspberries in a bowl & placed this over a pan of simmering water.
- Added 150g rose sugar – complete with rose petals.
- Grated in the zest of an organic lemon.
- Squeezed in the lemon juice.
- Blitzed with a stick blender.
- Added 60g unsalted butter and stirred until melted.
- Whisked in 2 duck eggs (equivalent to 2 large hens eggs).
- Stirred over the heat for a good twenty minutes until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Sieved mixture and poured into two sterilised jars.
- used rose sugar rather than cardamom sugar in the cake batter.
- creamed the butter & sugar then beat in the melted white chocolate.
- substituting the curd for raspberry rather than apricot, both in the batter and the mascarpone topping.
- swirled the curd through the batter rather than layering it in the middle.
Finally, I was getting to go to my very first Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) event. Cornwall CCC started up a few months ago, but as it held mostly during week days or if in the evenings has been quite some distance away, I hadn’t been able to get to any earlier ones. I was ridiculously excited; this was an opportunity to meet other cake bakers and talk cake for two hours. It was also a fine excuse to eat lots of cake – how good is that? I was a little nervous, I didn’t know anyone else who was going to be there, or at least I thought I didn’t. This meeting was a mid-week morning one and was way down west. I happened to be on leave, however, so it seemed a good opportunity to take part and also visit Heartlands, which had newly opened just a 15 minute walk away from our venue. CT, lured by the promise of a look around the newly created botanical gardens there as well as indulging his love of cake, bravely accompanied me. The venue was Baker Tom‘s newly opened cafe in Pool, half way between Redruth and Camborne.
The cake theme was “fruity”. Having recently made passionfruit curd, I was keen to make a cake using it. After my disaster with the apple & lemon curd cake, I was slightly concerned, but hoped all would be well if I took a bit more care when turning out the cakes. Thus my Passionfruit Curd Cake was born.
This is what I did:
- Creamed 225g unsalted butter with 225g cardamom sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in two large tbsp of passionfruit curd.
- Beat in 1 goose egg.
- Folded in 225 sifted flour (100g wholemeal, 100g white, 25g coconut) with a heaped tsp of baking powder.
- Stirred in 3 tbsp milk.
- Spooned mixture into two 21 cm cake moulds and baked at 180C for 25 minutes.
- Left to cool for a few minutes then turned out onto wire racks.
- Melted 50g white chocolate in a bowl over hot water.
- Creamed 75g unsalted butter with 125g icing sugar until very pale.
- Beat in the cooled chocolate.
- Beat in 2 tbsp passionfruit curd and a couple of teaspoons of orange juice.
- Used this to sandwich the two cakes together.
- Mixed 75g icing sugar with enough juice from a mandarin orange to make a slightly runny icing.
- Spooned this onto the cake and spread it a little to the sides so that some of the icing dripped down the cake in what I like to think is a decorative fashion.
- Decorated the top with the little sugar daffodils and the citrus sprinkles I won recently.
Passionfruit curd is something that has been niggling away at the back of my mind since I saw the post about it on Chocolate Teapot nearly three years ago. This reminded me of the recipe in Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess, which I’d been meaning to make since I bought the over a decade ago ago. You can perhaps see a pattern emerging here – fast is not my middle name! Although both of these recipes sounded good, I preferred a version without seeds as I wanted to use the curd in a cake, so back in March, I finally got around to making what promised to be the best fruit curd ever. I based my version on a recipe I saw over at thepassionatecook.
This is how I did it:
- Cut 3 passionfruit in half and scooped out the flesh.
- Rubbed through a sieve to remove seeds trying to extract as much juice as possible.
- Placed juice in a bowl with 40g cardamom (caster) sugar and 1 duck egg.
- Whisked thoroughly.
- Placed bowl over a pan of simmering water and carried on whisking,
- Added 25g unsalted butter & continued to whisk for about twenty minutes until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
- Poured into a jar.
This was indeed the best fruit curd ever, I loved the colour and I loved the taste. It was so delicious and there was so little of it, I thought it would be rather a waste to use it in a cake, so instead we had it on scones one day and on toast the next. However, when I found out that my first Clandestine Cake Club meeting had a fruit theme, my idea for a passionfruit curd cake began to re-form. So, it wasn’t long after making my first batch of passionfruit curd, that I then made my second.
I have a commission to make the cakes for a friend’s Open House weekend. This feels quite a responsibility and is taking some planning, but it’s also fun as I’ve been given free rein to bake what I like. The only specific request I’ve had are for some of the apple rock cakes I made back in August. I haven’t fully decided what I’m going to do yet, but with an ongoing apple glut, it seemed timely to prepare some apple and lemon curd to be used as filling or topping or both. The idea for this came when browsing through the excellent Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No 2 by Pam Corbin. I followed the spirit of Pam’s recipe but not its exact method or quantities.
This is what I did:
- Peeled, cored and roughly chopped 5 windfall Cornish apples (variety unknown) to give just over 350g flesh.
- Simmered this in a pan with a splash of water until soft then blitzed to a smooth puree with an electric hand blender.
- Put this into a Pyrex bowl and placed over a pan of simmering water. Added 200g cardamom sugar and stirred until the sugar had dissolved.
- Grated in the zest from one organic lemon (reasons for using unwaxed lemons can be found here), then squeezed in the juice.
- Stirred in 80g unsalted butter until it had melted and all was smooth.
- Beat in 2 duck eggs (large hens eggs would have been fine) and whisked until all smooth.
- Gave an occasional whisk over the next 15 minutes until the mixture had thickened.
- Pressed through a sieve. This probably wasn’t necessary as the mixture was perfectly smooth and creamy looking at this point, but I’m a bit particular when it comes to eggs and can’t stand any “bits”.
- Poured into 3 sterilised jars, covered with waxed discs then screwed on the lids.
- Left to cool and stored in the fridge.
This set really well and was buttery, smooth and soft. It was lemony for sure, but with noticeable fruity overtones – delicious. This was sweeter than either the lime & ginger curd or apricot curd I made earlier in the year even though I used less than half the amount of sugar stated in the recipe with 2/3 of the apple. It was also creamier and less sharp so will hopefully make a good stand alone filling for a cake.
Another post which isn’t a chocolate one – yet! It will be used for a future chocolate recipe though. Apricots are the ingredient chosen by Chele for this month’s We Should Cocoa. Don’t you just love the colour of apricots? I certainly do. When I saw a recipe for Apricot Curd over at Home Baked, it seemed like a useful thing to have to hand. Not that I have yet decided what I’m going to make – several ideas are still circulating in my mind. I used a slightly different method to Hannah as I’d heard whisking the lemon juice into the eggs helped to “cook” the eggs, so wanted to do that bit first. I also used a little less sugar as I don’t like things too sweet and the sugar I used was cardamom sugar – an idea I got from hearing about Vanessa Kimbell’s book Prepped.
This is what I did:
- Simmered 4 large stoned and chopped apricots (225g) in a splash of water for about 10 minutes until soft.
- Grated the zest from an organic lemon and squeezed out the juice.
- Whisked this together with 2 duck eggs in a bowl large enough to sit on a pan of simmering water.
- Placed the bowl on the pan and whisked in 200g cardamom sugar.
- Added the apricots and continued to whisk.
- Whisked occasionally until the mixture was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Strained through a sieve (there were a few hard threads in the apricots which would have given an unpleasant texture).
- Poured into 3 small sterilised jars.
I know this isn’t strictly about chocolate. Actually this isn’t about chocolate at all, but it did come about because of our We Should Cocoa chocolate challenge and it will be featuring in a couple of chocolate recipes to come. The lime challenge gave me so many ideas and as ususal with these things, my list of recipes to make has grown even longer. Phil from As Strong As Soup made lime curd as part of his entry and Chele over at Chocolate Teapot has also recently made it. I so liked the idea of making lime curd that I was determined to do so and worry about what to do with it afterwards. In the end I adapted a recipe for Lime and Ginger Curd that I found in one of the books I’d borrowed from the library, Seasonal Preserves by Joanna Farrow.
- Grated the zest of three well scrubbed limes and blended in a food processor with 150g granulated sugar. The theory behind this was to make the sugar green and give some colour to the final product. It did make the sugar a lovely pastel green, but as you can see from the pictures did not make much of a difference to the curd. An unnecessary step which I wouldn’t bother repeating if I made this again.
- Put the sugar in a bowl and placed over a pan of gently simmering water with the juice squeezed from the three limes. Stirred until the sugar had dissolved.
- Added 25gz grated ginger (washed but not peeled) and 50g unsalted butter. Left until butter had melted.
- Whisked in 2 duck eggs then stirred the mixture for rather longer than the 15 minutes stated in the book – about 25 mins, until it had thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
- Poured mixture through a sieve, pressing the contents through with a spoon to remove all lumps and bits of grated ginger.
- Poured into sterilised jars. Left to cool then stored in the fridge.