I enjoy looking for a new gift-giving idea when the holiday season rolls around. Making a special food gift is always at the top of my list. In past years, I have given my favorite caramel snack mix, hot fudge sauce, spiced nuts, pumpkin and banana bread, fudge, caramels and peanut brittle. When I saw the recipe for Tangerine Curd being developed in the Test Kitchens for our 2013 Holiday Recipe Brochure, “Wrap Up the Holidays,” I knew I had found my gift for this year.
Lemon curd is a favorite of mine that I use for filling mini-tarts, spreading on shortbread cookies or scones, and mixing with whipped cream to serve over fresh berries and pound cake. Tangerine Curd can be used in all of the same ways you use lemon curd. It is slightly sweeter than lemon curd, and has a wonderful refreshing flavor. Making Tangerine Curd for holiday gifts makes the most of this citrus fruit during its peak season of November and December. I also love that you can substitute any citrus juice and zest for the tangerine juice and zest. I can hardly wait to try blood orange and grapefruit curd, too.
Just one word of caution: once made, the curd will need to be refrigerated and must be used within two weeks. I plan to include a recipe card and some serving ideas with my cute little jars of curd. If I get really ambitious, I might even make some scones or shortbread cookies to go along with the curd.
Making Tangerine Curd might sound intimidating, but it’s really quite simple. It just requires following the recipe steps carefully and using a thermometer to make sure the eggs are cooked. I always start by getting out all the ingredients and equipment I will need. A juicer really helps, and a grater of some sort is required to freshly grate tangerine zest. I could not find fresh tangerines in the stores, so I used oranges instead. The curd is good, but I plan to use tangerines when I make it during the holiday season.
Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and lightly beat. Set the bowl of yolks aside.
Be sure to grate the zest before squeezing the juice. When grating, try to only grate the colored portion of the fruit’s skin. The white portion, the pith, can be bitter.
Now squeeze the juice. I used this handy juicer but have also just squeezed citrus fruit with my hand. Letting the fruit warm up at room temperature for about 15 to 30 minutes makes juicing easier.
I needed 4 small oranges to get ¾ cup of juice. I would suggest buying about 5-7 tangerines so you know you have enough. Eating any leftovers will be a nice little treat!
Pour the juice into a 1 ½-quart saucepan. Add the sugar,
and the zest.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until the mixture comes to a boil and is slightly thickened. This will take about four to five minutes. The mixture will look bubbly.
Remove the pan from the heat. Pour a small amount of the warm juice mixture into the beaten egg yolks, beating constantly with a wire whisk. You want to do this slowly and whisk the entire time so that the hot mixture doesn’t cook the egg. Keep adding small amounts of the warm juice mixture while beating until about half of the juice mixture is combined with the egg yolks.
Now add this egg and juice mixture back into the remaining warm juice mixture in the saucepan. Whisk the two mixtures together.
Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture reaches 165°F and is thickened. This will take about four to five minutes. Using a thermometer will ensure that the eggs are safely cooked.
Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the butter pieces....
and whisk in the butter until it has all melted.
Pour the curd into jars for gift giving. The recipe makes about 1 ¾ cups of Tangerine Curd so fits into two 8-oz jars or four 4-oz. jars or whatever size jars you’d like. -Attractive little jars are available everywhere, but these are from a local craft store. Small canning jars would work as well. Leave the lids off and place the curd-filled jars in the refrigerator to cool (about two hours).
Once cool, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Adding ribbon or a gift card makes them more festive.
This Tangerine Curd is ready for gift-giving! Just add a note with the recipe, serving suggestions, a reminder that it should be stored in the fridge, and the date by which it should be used. Saving a little for you might be a good idea, too.
Enjoy! I’d love to hear what you think of the recipe, so please come back and leave me a note.