Is there any better scent than orange blossoms? They remind me of warm winters in Palm Springs, the Santa Ana winds that sweep through southern California, and dinners eaten outside.
I’m a big fan of citrus. A lot of chefs talk about how salt enhances the flavor of a dish and is the single most important seasoning. But a lot of people don’t know that adding salt AND acidity to your dish is a balancing act, and using both properly can bring your cooking to a whole ‘nother level. Salt makes your mouth water, which is why it makes food taste more intense. Acidic things such as citrus juice and vinegar work the same way. For this reason, my mouth craves acidity.
This Cara Cara orange curd was tricky to develop because the traditional curd is lemon, which is already tart and acidic, and combines it with fatty egg yolk and sweet sugar. Due to orange’s natural sweetness, you have to make sure that you are still bringing some acidity to the table in this curd, or you will end up with something pretty overly sweet and not very good. Before you cool the final product, taste it and decide for yourself if you need another tablespoon or two of lemon juice.
I employed a few tricks here. One, I did not strain the curd. If you follow the instructions and whisk the curd constantly when it’s cooking, you won’t have lumps that need to be strained out and you will be able to keep the zest in the final product, which brings a heavy punch of orange-y flavor. Two, starting with 3/4 cup orange juice and reducing it to 1/4 means that you are concentrating the flavor of the juice without watering down the curd. Three, Cara Cara oranges are the best quality orange you can buy at a conventional supermarket. They have a more intense flavor than navel, with a beautiful dark orange flesh and very aromatic zest.
I made this Cara Cara orange curd for a layer cake I made for a Black Lives Matter bake sale I did on Instagram. I paired it with a rich olive oil cake and a sweet, fluffy, vanilla bean frosting. Olive, citrus and vanilla are very happy friends. I also spread a fair bit of this on a biscuit and just ate it like that. I could see this going into a tart or being used in a sundae. Any other ideas? Drop me a comment below.
Jar Source: https://weckjars.com/product/742-mold-jar/
Cara Cara Orange Curd
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 each orange zest
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Place juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and reduce to 1/4 cup. Let cool completely.
- Fill the saucepan with water and bring to a simmer.
- In a large metal nonreactive bowl, combine cooled orange juice, sugar, egg yolks, zest, lemon juice and salt. Whisk until combined. Place the bowl over the simmering water and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and reaches 181F, about 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add butter, whisking until totally melted and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap pressing directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let chill completely.