Firstly, let me start by saying that “curd” is a horrible word. Like “moist” and “slacks,” it makes me cringe just to think about it. It’s like someone combined “curse” and “turd” and decided that was a perfect name for a delectable dessert. For such a delicious concoction of eggs, butter, sugar and citrus, there should definitely be a better word: “deevine”, perhaps? (as opposed to “divine,” which might offend some). Pink grapefruit deevine? Sun custard, maybe? Or perhaps we should just go with “Downey” as illustrative of all things silkily delicious.
Despite the horrible name, this citrusy fruit custard has a beautifully silken texture, a nice tang, and a purity of fruit flavor. The pink grapefruit is slightly less tart than lemon, allowing you to add a bit less sugar, and makes a nice departure from the classic lemon curd. Unless you have a lemon tree in your living room (and believe me, I’ve been thinking about it), citrus curd is definitely a non-local treat for those of us in the snowbound Northeast, but especially wonderful in February & March when winter is dragging its feet, and the fresh berries of June and July seem eons away.
Adapted from Classic Lemon Curd in The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
- zest (about 1 tbsp) + juice (6 tbsp or 3 and 3/8 oz, from about 1/2 grapefruit) from 1 medium pink grapefruit
- 4 large egg yolks (1/4 cup or 2 and 5/8 oz)
- 10 tbsp (4 and 3/8 oz) sugar
- 4 tbsp (2 oz) butter, cut into pieces
- pinch sea salt
- Place a fine strainer over a medium heat-safe bowl containing the zest. In a small saucepan, beat the yolks and sugar until well blended. Stir in the grapefruit juice, butter and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and becomes opaque (185 degrees F on an accurate thermometer), about 10 minutes. Do not allow curd to boil, as this will curdle the eggs: if steam appears, remove the pan from the heat briefly, stirring constantly to prevent boiling.
- Remove from heat and pour immediately through the strainer. Push the curd through the strainer, gently fold in the zest, and allow the curd to cool.
Yields just over 1 cup.
- Classic Lemon: Same amounts as grapefruit (about 2-3 lemons), but increase the sugar to 3/4 cup (6 oz). The finished temperature is 196 degrees F.
- Lime: Same amounts as grapefruit (about 3 small limes), but decrease the sugar to 1/2 cup (3 and 1/2 oz). The finished temperature is 185 degrees F.
- Lime for canning in a boiling water bath.
- Meyer lemon + shortcake.
- Blood orange + bars.
- Valencia orange + orange mousseline buttercream frosting for a valencia curd filled cake.
- Seville Orange: Replace grapefruit zest with 4 tsp navel orange zest (Seville orange zest is too bitter); juice amount remains the same (about 1 1/2 oranges). Finished temperature is 185 degrees F.
- For the smoothest, most velvelty texture, cook the zest with the curd and strain out prior to cooling.
- For the brightest color, I try to use white sugar in citrus curds, if I have any in the house. For a more complex flavor with a hint of caramel, I use raw sugar.
Refrigerated for up to 3 weeks. Frozen for up to 3 months.