The Daily Spud

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Red And Berried

Redcurrants

Currants, of the red variety

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.

Redcurrant 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.

redcurrant curd

You’ll need:
  • 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.
The Steps:
  • 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.
The Variations:
  • 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.
The Results:
  • Around 750g of curd

24 Comments

  1. Oh yes! I love this idea! I love love love currants but can never figure out a good way to use them, except as decoration on tarts and such. And goooseberry curd! Seriously loving it. If there wasn’t a giant ocean between us I’d invite you over and ask you to bring your gooseberry curd and I’d make you gooseberry margaritas and we’d be in berry heaven. :)

  2. Oooh, next time I find myself with a glut of currants, I’ll be making this, but I’m sure it would be great with almost any berry. Love the colour!

  3. I have never really thought of curds beyond lemon. This proves I need to expand my thought process. GREG

  4. I love the sound of the currant curd and the color is gorgeous, Not sure about the name curd, it has other connotations for me, but yummy sounding regardless.

  5. What a lovely plant and dish here! Hubby would love for me to get a hold of that plant, but once I tried to bring back a lobster vine, and I had some problems with customs :) My eyelashes were not even long enough to tickle his fancy…the vine still blossoms without me, now along side something else I long for…darn it!

  6. Looks like you’re making the most of those redcurrants!

  7. Oh my, the color on that curd is simply gorgeous, Spud! It looks so inviting, I’m tempted to dip a spoon into my screen!

  8. I love the vibrant color of them. Mmmm…Looks really delicious.

  9. The colors of both berries and curd are so vivid! I’ve never had gooseberries before (at least, not that I’m aware) while I’ve tasted currants in a drink (Ribena). I’m woefully lacking in certain berry experiences – I’d love to have a spoonful (or two or many) of this!

  10. Daily Spud

    Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Megan: gooseberry margaritas – oh now that’s an invite I’d love to take up – damn that pesky Atlantic for getting in the way!

    kickpleat: I reckon you can try it with anything that has an acidic tang and it’s particularly nice when you serve it along with some fresh berries

    Sippity Sup: well, you never seem to hear much about curd beyond the regular lemon curd – guess I’m here to change all that :)

    OysterCulture: I agree with you on the name curd, perhaps we could work on coming up with something more appealing

    Chef E: ah, yes, it would, unfortunately, be a bit tricky to get currant plants past customs…

    Caroline: absolutely!

    Diva: go for it :)

    jenn: yep, the colour is indeed fab!

    Tangled Noodle: so when are you coming over, then?

  11. ooh, that looks great! such a pretty color and i love curd.

  12. MMMMMM?…you did an amazing job!!!!! I love thepicture of your excellent curd!!! Must taste divine!!!

  13. Great color to that curd. It’s beautiful. You can do so much with that. Perhaps a little tart?? :)

  14. Wow, such a nice color…unfortunately I cannot find fresh red current locally.

  15. I’ve never eaten a fresh currant – only dried! This looks so delicious, so bright and fresh!

  16. I’ve only seen this in Europe! But SO gorgeous! I can’t get over that brilliant color!

  17. Daily Spud

    Friday, July 24, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    rita: thanks – am loving the colour myself!

    Sophie: ah thanks, it does taste pretty good, I’d have to say

    Duo Dishes: perhaps a little tart, indeed – some crust, some curd, some berries, some cream – oh hell, yeah!

    Juliana: thanks for stopping by! I’m lucky to have them growing in the garden, they are indeed not the easiest of things to come by

    Reeni: oh I love them – we always had currant bushes when I was growing up, so they’re part of summer for me

    sophia: why thanks and yep, you’re certainly more likely to come across currants in Europe than in the US

  18. Fabulous! I just picked some red currants today. Decided to make muffins, but obviously there’ll be a lot left over and this sounds like a splendid idea.

  19. Oh, Spud! It turned out beautifully! Those berries are absolutely gorgeous. Hooray for thick curds:)

  20. What a great idea! I’m craving a crepe topped with your curd now!

  21. I usually make lemon curd. This one is very original. I love the way this fruit look on camera. Very colorful!

  22. Daily Spud

    Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Kat: Welcome! Muffins with redcurrants sound excellent but it’s worth giving the curd a try too.

    Jenni: hooray indeed! Thick curds are the way of the future.

    French Cooking: oh yes, this would be lovely on a crepe – do feel free to whip one up :)

    jackie: thanks for dropping by! I actually haven’t made lemon curd (which probably makes me pretty unusual as far as curd-making experience goes) but I will get to it :)

  23. This is the prettiest blog post I’ve seen in months! How gorgeous is that curd? I don’t come across red currants all that often… and I’ve never used them in anything. If I get a good bounty, I’ll be trying this out!

  24. Daily Spud

    Monday, August 3, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Thanks! Do try them out if you can find them – they’re lovely in this but also in jams or just as frozen berries added to ice cream or in cakes or… well, in lots of things :)

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