My family travels to southwest Florida every December to escape the Chicago winter. One of my favorite activities there is shopping at the weekly farmers’ market. Among the fresh fruits and vegetables, unimaginable anywhere else at that time of year, I find all kinds of unusual varieties of citrus, from smoky Rangpur limes to glossy Meyer lemons.
If you cannot get to Florida, most good grocery stores offer a wide variety of citrus fruits in winter months. These colorful and flavorful varieties of citrus are wonderful for baking and preserving. One of my favorite uses is citrus curd. A silky concoction of eggs, butter, sugar, and juice, citrus curd is heaven on pound cake, swirled into yogurt, or as a dip for strawberries. Try it with Meyer lemons or Key limes.
- Yield: 3 (4-ounce) jars
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
- 2 teaspoons zest from the juiced lemons or limes
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into cubes
- Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a medium saucepan until well combined. Add the citrus juice and zest, and stir over medium heat using a wooden spoon.
- Do not allow the curd to boil, or the egg yolks will scramble. Continue to stir and heat the curd over medium-low heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 170°F (75°C), around 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the heat and lower it as necessary to heat the curd without boiling it.
- When the curd has thickened, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the butter until it melts.
- Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. (Do not be tempted to skip this step. It removes any pieces of cooked egg, which would detract from the desired silken texture.)
- Pour the curd into clean 4-ounce jars and refrigerate until ready to use or swap.