Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mandarin Orange Curd

Family Grays Anatomy bonding night. There is no question that this experiment in curd was inspired by Grandma Yan's Lemon Curd, a drop dead winner if there ever was one.  Confession: It was equally, if not more inspired, by the fact that it was already 6PM and there was nothing in the crock on this fifth day of unrelenting wind and rain.  No crock plans had been made, pantry supplies were low, and the cook is tired. Auntie EQ had some aging Mandarin oranges lying around, Gray's would be over by 10 PM, so this became tonight's dessert plan by default.  Announcements were made by this Vegetarian Slow Cooker that a new curd would be started. Silently, Auntie EQ got up, reached into the freezer for her stash of rice flour, and started working on a new batch of Scottish shortbread.  The unspoken symbiotic bond between us grows stronger each day.  Keep in mind that culinary inspiration such as this is usually not based on considered and informed flavor profiles. Let's hope for the best and expect the worst.

Winner, Loser or Meh 

The flavor was mild, light, barely present orange.  I doubt this would happen with an orange like a Valencia.  Mandarin oranges are very mild as it is. It also curdled slightly (see photo and edges of the Pyrex) so the instructions to whisk once after an hour will need to be modified and it should be whisked every 15 minutes.  Uncle Meat & Potatoes liked this better than the Lemon Curd, claiming it was less sweet.  It had the exact same amount of sugar as the Lemon Curd, so I am not sure what he was tasting.  The rest of us like the Lemon Curd best.  This experiment needs work.


I used a 5 1/2-6 quart crock for this

  • Juice and zest of 4 Mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 Tbls butter
  • 4 eggs
Turn crock heat to high. Pour enough very hot tap water into the crock to go 2/3 up the outside of an empty 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup (or similar heat safe bowl). Put orange juice, zest, butter, and sugar into the 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup (or other heat safe bowl) and set it inside the hot water filled crock. Cover the crock with its lid and cook for about 30 minutes, until the butter and sugar have melted and dissolved. Stir the orange mixture well. In a bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add a few tablespoons of the orange mixture to the beaten eggs while stirring vigorously to temper the eggs before adding to the orange mixture in the crock. Then, slowly pour the egg mixture into the orange mixture in the Pyrex while whisking the contents of the Pyrex. When everything is well blended, cover the Pyrex with foil. Cover the crock with its lid and reduce temperature to low. Cook for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, whisking after about an hour. Towards the end of the cooking time, whisk well and test to see if it is done. It is done when the orange curd coats the back of a spoon. Makes about 3 cups. This will keep for about 3 weeks, covered in the fridge.

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