Get a load of those redcurrant berries.
You wouldn’t think it, but beneath those shiny exteriors lurks a tale of survival against the odds.
It starts with a family of redcurrant cuttings, happily taking root in the soil. Then, life as the cuttings know it is turned upside-down (literally) following an unfortunate incident involving some over-zealous and less-than-careful hired garden help. One lone redcurrant stick survives.
As if to prove it is indeed made of sterner stuff, that hardy little cutting has, in subsequent years, laughed in the face of a distinct lack of pruning, general neglect and attack by dastardly aphids, to produce great heaving mounds of berries. Not only that, but it has now become parent to cuttings of its own. Future years look bright for those red and shiny currants.
Meanwhile, the no less red and shiny spoils of this year’s currant harvest are stashed in the freezer, awaiting their final assignments. Do not be fooled by their colour, though – sweet they are not. They are sharp and tangy and usually make good friends with sugar. So, there will be jelly. There will be jam. But first, there will be curd.
It was while I was in the process of scoffing my gooseberry curd, that it occurred to me that tangy redcurrants might play well in curd too.
So, I adapted the gooseberry curd recipe, and, in an attempt to create a thicker curd than the last time out, I used egg yolks instead of whole eggs. I also borrowed Jenni’s method of making curd over direct heat, stirring madly, because she doesn’t like to wait for a double boiler to get hot enough. All of which was aimed at making a batch of curd thicker, quicker. And did it work? Well, see how those berries are sitting and not sinking? Yeah, that’s thick enough.
- 475g redcurrants
- 100ml water
- sugar (for amount, see Steps)
- unsalted butter (for amount, see Steps)
- eggs (for amount, see Steps)
- pinch of salt
You’ll also need:
- A nylon sieve to strain the redcurrant purée.
- Jars and wax discs for sealing up to 750g of curd and a tongs for handling sterilised jars.
- You’ll need to prepare the jars that you’re going to use for the curd. Turn your oven on to 140C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly, and sterilise, either by boiling in water for 10 minutes and then drying in the oven or just by keeping the jars in the oven for at least 30 minutes before using.
- Wash the redcurrants but don’t bother removing the tops and tails.
- Add the redcurrants and water to a large saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the fruit has softened, the berries have burst and the mixture is pulpy (about 10-15 minutes).
- Strain through a nylon sieve, pushing as much of the mixture through as possible, and measure the resulting volume of redcurrant purée – I got about 400ml from this amount.
- The exact quantity of sugar, butter and eggs will depend on the volume of redcurrant purée. For 400ml of redcurrant purée, I used 300g sugar, 6 egg yolks and 75g unsalted butter.
- Place the purée in large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the sugar and salt and stir until melted.
- Whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in a little of the hot redcurrant mixture to heat the eggs. Then add this mixture slowly back into the redcurrant purée, whisking continuously (I actually took the mixture off the heat while I was doing this bit).
- Now, back on the heat, whisk continuously, allowing the mixture to thicken until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. I probably cooked mine for about 20 minutes and it did thicken up nicely. Jenni notes that you want the temp to get up to about 160-162F (about 71C) here. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, the best way to tell is, over direct heat, whisk like crazy the whole time. It will get all foamy and frothy. As it thickens the foam will start to dissipate. When it’s at the right temp, all the foam will magically be gone and it should be thick enough.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.
- Pour into hot, sterilised jars, to within 3mm of the tops. Seal with a wax disc and cover with cellophane covers and/or sterilised lids.
- Once it’s cooled, try mixing curd with some natural yoghurt (about half curd, half yoghurt or adjust either way to your taste) and throw in a handful of fresh or frozen redcurrants for a tangy summer dessert.
- First there was gooseberry curd, then redcurrant, now I’m vaguely wondering about using rhubarb… If I keep this up, I’ll probably have to go and make some traditional lemon curd too.
- Around 750g of curd