Do you know what it is like to have an uncontrollable obsession? To have something reign over your thoughts for every moment of your waking existence? For me, this past week, my obsession has been blood oranges.
Have you ever had a blood orange? They are the better, more exciting version of the standard citrus. Their scent is more complex, their flavor is sweet and seductive, and they have this exquisite forbidden appeal to them. And, for the past week, I have been dreaming of preserving their flavor and smell with a perfect, vibrant blood orange curd.
Just look at those beauties. I imagined they would make a rich, crimson spread. It would be the envy of everything in my refrigerator. And even though some internet research suggested that my curd would not be so vibrant and beautiful, I persevered. I would take a slightly duller curd even if it meant that I could have this fruit whenever I wanted it.
So I made the curd. And somewhere in the process, things went horribly, disastrously wrong. Because this curd is by far the most disgusting-looking thing I have ever made and put in my body, and it is hopefully the ugliest thing that I will ever post on this blog. Don’t let other recipes fool you like they did me. The oranges do not lose their color in the cooking process. The problem with the color is the yellow egg mixing with the ruby orange juice. I thought that combining the red and yellow together might make a pleasing shade of orange. Right? Though it turns out that color mixing apparently doesn’t work the same way in the kitchen, because my curd came out as a hideous brown sludge.
Thankfully, it still tastes pretty alright. To make up for my ugly recipe, I also candied some orange slices. Topping your toasts with them like I did will make your breakfast sweet, but it will also give you a delicious and pretty meal– who likes to have to compromise?
Blood Orange Curd
Adapted from my mother’s lemon curd recipe.
Juice from 4 blood oranges (about 1 1/4 cups)
Zest from 3 blood oranges
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
In a double-boiler or bagno maria, combine the sugar, zest, and orange juice and stir over heat until the sugar melts. Then add the butter. When all the butter has been incorporated, add the eggs slowly, stirring constantly to avoid letting them scramble. Continue to stir over the heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. The liquid will still be runny but will thicken upon cooling. Pour the curd into a glass jar to cool and then refrigerate. The curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Candied Blood Orange Slices
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 blood orange, sliced thinly
Combine the water and sugar in a large skillet and bring to a boil to dissolve all the sugar. Add the orange slices, being careful to not overcrowd them– they should all float in the simple syrup in a single layer. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook the slices, turning occasionally, until the white pith is translucent and soft.
The original recipe says to cool the slices in the simple syrup, but I found that this made the slices gooey. Instead, I would recommend cooling them on a wire rack so that the extra syrup drips off them.