Earlier this week, a friend ordered four jars of lemon and 8 jars of orange curd and 1 1/2 dozen pumpkin scones. She’s putting together holiday baskets for her neighbors. Tonight, after getting truffle makings together, I turned my attention to the citrus.
Nearly 12 years ago, I was wandering around midtown when I spied oranges hanging from a tree. Until that moment, I had no idea that oranges and lemons came into season during winter. Sure, I’d gotten an orange in my stocking every year as a kid, but I’d thought citrus was rare in winter. Shrugs shoulders. I went to HS and college in Ohio where nothing truly grows in winter except Burl Ives’ items like holy and ivy and mistletoe.
I thought about this tonight as I scrubbed the lemons(meyers) and oranges (valencia and mandarin) harvested from friends’ fruit trees. The difference in scent alone between store-bought lemons and fresh-picked is night and day.
For the orange curd, I placed the peels into the food processor with a cup or so of sugar and gave it a few spins. Then, I toss the mixture into a pyrex bowl set atop a pot of simmering water, added six eggs and four egg yolks (beaten), 1/2 c. fresh squeezed orange juice, 2 TBSP. fresh squeezed lemon juice, and a dash of salt. Once I’d whisked these together, I began adding pats of butter (1/2 c.). I set the timer and began whisking here and there until the mixture could coat the back of a spoon (about 15 minutes).
I choose to use a double boiler set up because citrus curd is basically sugar, acid, fat, and protein. I find the curd has an overly eggy taste when cooked over direct heat. It takes longer using this method, but I prefer the resulting texture and taste more.
I prepped and filled 12 half-pint Mason jars. As the valencia and mandarin rinds have such a lovely taste, I did not strain the curd prior to placing it into jars.
I repeated the process for the lemon curd but omitted the orange juice in lieu of lemon and I strained the curd prior to placing into the jars. Here’s the final product, all ready to be picked up tomorrow!
A lot of folks ask me where I get the energy to work all day and then come home and fill orders. Well, honestly, my friends. I was feeling a wee bit tired and honestly, a little weary tonight. I put a post up on Facebook inviting locals over to keep me company. My friend Mr. H showed up with my two most favorite treats—local Guthner’s eggnog and RUM!! His wife was home figuring out a new TV system, so he came over with a craft project and hung out. Mostly, I gave him help here and there with his project and we made each other laugh. Full belly laughs that left me smiling ear to ear. Baking and sweet-treat making would be lonely business without them coming by and keeping me company. Thanks to each of you who have wandered over these last few months.
That’s how I do it.
I love my neighborhood. I love my friends. They make this town and this little house home.