While doing my weekly shop I spotted bags of Navel and Seville oranges amongst the usual simply named ‘oranges.’ This made me realise that it must be marmalade making season already! Each year in January, when these special marmalade oranges are available, my mother and grandmother make colossal batches of homemade marmalade. I love the smell and process of boiling the oranges, cutting them, stirring in the sugar, boiling and jarring. Nothing beats the flavour of my mum’s homemade marmalade, shop bought just doesn’t compare and is never allowed to enter my parents/my house.
Marmalade making is a traditional I would love to continue myself, only I don’t eat a lot of marmalade, and one jar (provided my mum) will last me for several months. Now I’m not living at home, seeing the Navel and Seville oranges in the shops made me nostalgic for home, and the fabulous zesty aroma of a pan of warm simmering marmalade.
I bought a bag of Navel oranges and decided to make orange curd rather than marmalade with them. This way I still got the wonderful sweet orange aroma wafting through the kitchen without the need to make jars and jars of jam, as curd can be made in small batches quite easily.
Stirring the slowly thickening bowl of orange curd was quite relaxing and made me feel very nostalgic. Once jarred and cooled and I ate my first spoonful on toast, as a nod to marmalade. It was fresh and zesty, with a bitter-sweet intense orange flavour. Noticeably different to marmalade, being creamier and richer, but the lingering flavour was definitely reminiscent of marmalade. I think it would be brilliant paired with a dark chocolate cake.
Do you like marmalade? Do you ever make your own?
Zest & juice of 2 large Navel or Seville oranges
170g caster sugar
55g unsalted butter
Place two small clean glass jars and their lids on a baking tray and place into the oven. Heat to 130C and leave while you make the curd.
Finely zest the oranges into a large glass bowl. Squeeze the juice form the oranges and add to the zest in the bowl along with the sugar.
Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has turned from cloudy to clear. (You can sieve the zest out at this stage if you don’t want it in the finished curd, but it adds a lot of extra flavour).
Cut the butter into small cubes and gently stir into the zesty syrup with a spatula until melted and combined.
Lightly beat the eggs and then pour into the orange mixture through a sieve to remove any oogly bits, mixing all the time to prevent the egg curdling into scrambled eggs.
Keep mixing gently for 15-20 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Do not be melted to walk away or turn the heat up to speed up the process, it will scramble the eggs.
Once the mixture starts to thicken, keep stirring until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula. You should be able to run your finger down the spatula, leaving a mark without the curd flowing back over it.
Remove your jars from the oven and immediately fill to the rim with the hot curd. Screw the lids on the jars tightly, using rubber gloves to prevent burning your hands.
Leave to jars to cool on the side – the lids will suddenly ‘pop’ as the vacuum is created, ensuring a sealed and sterile jar.
Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Makes 1½ - 2 jars of curd