As you may recall, I was very excited about making blood orange curd. I envisioned a reddish spread I could put on toast in the morning, or maybe between some cake layers. My hopes began to waver when I thought about it a bit more; simple color theory contradicted my idea of what color the curd would be. Egg yolks, the key component in a curd, are yellow. Dark pink/red juice and yellow egg yolks would make a pinky-orange. Add in sugar and butter, and that color will lighten further to a salmon-pinkish shade. In theory. I forged ahead, using a road map I turn to often when I am approaching something new in the kitchen: Joy of Cooking.
I turned to the recipe for Lemon Curd, figuring I would just substitute the blood orange juice for the lemon juice, but then I discovered there was a recipe on the same page for Orange Curd, and the authors even mentioned that blood oranges were “sensational” in this curd, so I thought, “Okey-Dokey, I’ll make it this way.”
As I read through the recipe before I began cooking, I noticed some significant differences between Lemon Curd and Orange Curd. Both use 1/2 cup of juice, but the Orange Curd uses 2 large eggs plus 4 large yolks to Lemon Curd’s 3 large eggs. Orange Curd requires double the sugar, and almost double the butter. (It also claims both recipes make 1 2/3 cups of curd, and I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around that. But I digress.)
It was then it hit me why the Meyer Lemon Bars may not be working as expected. Stay with me here.
I assumed the difference in recipes had to have something to do with acidity in the juice, and the extra sugar and fat must be to make it set up properly. However, the extra egg yolks and sugar play havoc with the color of the curd as well, leaving me with a spectacularly flavored curd the color of human flesh.
My go-to source really let me down here, which brings me to my main beef with Joy of Cooking – no pictures of the food. There are some line drawings of techniques and diagrams of prime cuts on meat animals, but no photos of finished dishes. I don’t know about you, but I find it helpful to know where I am supposed to end up when I follow a map. Photos of finished dishes let you know whether or not you are on the right track, cooking-wise.
So, of course, I went looking for a better map. I went online. I found a number of Blood Orange Curd recipes, but the one I chose was on a blog called Confections of a Foodie Bride. Click on the name of the blog, and it will open it up for you to the recipe. It’s a fun blog that I will be checking out further.
Here’s the glamour shot of the ingredients. Okay, maybe not so glamorous, actually a little grim-looking.
My curd didn’t come out as shocking pink as hers, more a salmon-pink as I was expecting, but the real revelation was her inclusion of lemon juice to bump up the acidity so it would thicken, rather than using more egg yolks and sugar. The flavor is still spectacular, and the color not so unappetizing.
So back to the Meyer Lemon Bars. I suspect if I include some regular lemon juice with the Meyer lemon juice, I will get better results. Stay tuned. As soon as I lay my hands on some Meyer lemons, I will be experimenting with a new recipe. Come back and see what I come up with. See you soon, here on the Road.