Did you hear about the cottage cheese diet?

All you do is eat your curds and weigh.

HA.

‘Tis the season for diet consciousness, eh?

Sorry to say, but this is not a diet friendly recipe.

What is it? Cranberry curd. I love making various fruit curds. To date, I’ve made two kinds of curd: lemon and mandarin orange curd. And now, adding to my repertoire, cranberry curd. A fruit curd is a wonderful creamy spread that is used for filling cakes, eating with scones, and as an alternative for jam. It is sweet, a little tart, and oh so smooth. It is usually made with citrus-y fruits, but can also be made with berries. Any fruit it is made with is wonderfully tasty.

I first had lemon curd in England. Is there any better place to have curd? I was having High Tea in a very posh London hotel with my mom, 2 of my friends, and some others one rainy afternoon. We had dressed up in these lovely summer dresses and made the 10 minute trek, all for a classic British experience: I’m talking tiny sandwiches, delicate china cups, waiters who pull out your chair for you and place your napkin in your lap…

tea 1

Pictured: Out of place Americans in England.
Not Pictured: The fact that it is maybe 50 degrees.

(Keep in mind this picture is from 2007…hoh man. We were SO CUTE.)

In stereotypical English fashion, it was pouring rain. I should also mention that it was the end of June–we mistakenly thought it would be warm. It was not.

After being seated in what looked to me like the grandest of ballrooms, we placed our order and waited for our silver tray of traditional tea accompaniments.  We were not disappointed. It was a silver tray, brought out by a white gloved waiter. Super serious.

We each took our crumpets and scones and what have you. I noticed a little pot of vibrant yellow. I took it out and spooned a little on my plate. The rest, as they say, is history.

My mom had loved lemon curd even before our trip, but it’s not all that common a treat in the US. I don’t know if I’ve seen it outside of the few traditional tea shops I’ve been to. So, I decided to whip up a batch with a winter fruit–cranberries. The wonderful tart of the berries mixes with the creamy smooth texture of the egg yolks and the sugar.

This stuff is deadly. It’s amazing mixed with Greek yogurt, on waffles or pancakes, in crepes, over ice cream, as a filling for cookies or pie, or cake, or simply on its own. I hope you make a batch up so you can experience it too. Or hit me up and come on over for some. I’ll make tea.

Cranberry Curd
Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

Ingredients

curd 1

4 cups fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup orange juice
zest of 1 fresh orange
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch of coarse salt
3 large egg yolks plus 1 large whole egg

Method

  1. Place cranberries, water, and orange juice in a saucepan, cover, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst, about 35 minutes.
    curd 2
  2. Remove from heat and press the mixture through a fine sieve, scraping back of sieve to get all the pulp (you should have about 1 3/4 cups), and discard solids.curd 4
  3. Cook the pulp in a pan with butter, sugar, zest and salt over medium heat, stirring, until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved, about 7 minutes.
  4. Whisk together egg yolks and egg in a medium bowl, then whisk in cranberry mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  5. Return mixture to pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes.
    curd 5
  6. Pass this mixture through a sieve into a bowl (you should have about 3 cups) and press plastic wrap directly on surface of curd to cover to prevent a skin from forming.
  7. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes. Enjoy.
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