Yuzu Curd

I found yuzus at the farmers market last week.   It was so exciting, like finding buried pirate treasure underneath the lettuce and carrots.

I’d never actually had yuzu before, but I knew I wanted them: fancy restaurants use them in all kinds of stuff, plus, they’re citrus fruit (I can’t get enough), and I love saying the name- yuzu. Yuzu.  yuzuuuuuu.  Shae from Hitchhiking to Heaven has a pet pigeon named yuzu, and now when I think about yuzus, I also think about pretty white birds.  Positive all around.

I know some people are reading this and thinking “what the hell is a yuzu?”

The short answer: It’s a citrus fruit that originates from China.

Why do people care so much?

Well, they’re tart and very fragrant, which means that they’re going to lend themselves very well to all kinds of cooking applications.  If you hold one up and smell it, the fruit has this amazing scent of ripe, juicy citrus that reminded me of tangerines or mandarin oranges.  If you slice it open, you’ll see the fruit is filled with seeds and has very little juice.  The flavor of the juice is very tart, like lemon or grapefruit juice, but with this really subtle hint of muskiness.

I desperately want to make marmalade with these.  I know it would be amazing, what with the tart flavor and fragrant rinds (they remind me, visually, of smallish seville oranges),  but I only got my hands on a couple of them, and they were so expensive.  I racked my brain thinking of ways to preserve them that were even better than marmalade, and realized…

curd!

While marmalade is just fruit and sugar, curd takes citrus preserving to a whole new level, adding butter and eggs to make this buttery, silky, luscious spread.   Lemon curd tastes like the filling of a lemon merengue pie.  I don’t know if there’s such a thing as yuzu merengue pie, but if there is, I bet it tastes a lot like the curd I made.

If I were some kind of advanced level food blogger, I’d bake something ridiculous to go with my yuzu curd.  Chocolate cupcakes with yuzu curd filling and merengue icing, or something.   I don’t even have my camera, though. (It’s getting cleaned at Camera Heaven in San Francisco, because taking action shots of flour with an expensive camera means you need to go have professionals take care of it).  Maybe one day, when I have my camera back and I’m cooking for a special occasion, I’ll actually bake those cupcakes.  A vanilla pound cake would also be good, or croissants.  Fancy baked goods (that I never really eat) aside, my favorite real-life way to eat citrus curd is to mix a little bit into some plain yogurt and granola.  It’s heavenly, and you can have a healthy breakfast that tastes like something decadent.

Yuzu Curd

Makes: 4 1/2 pint jars

Cook Time: about 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. yuzu zest, from 10 or 11 yuzus:  If you don’t get a full half-cup of zest from the yuzu, fill in the missing amount with other citrus zest
  • 1 cup citrus juice: Use as much yuzu juice as you have, and fill in the gap with lemon or grapefruit juice.  The ten small yuzu that I had made only about 1/8 c. of juice and I used lemon juice to supplement the rest.
  • 3/4 unsalted butter, sliced into small pieces
  • 4 whole eggs, beaten until they are light and frothy
  • 7 egg yolks

Mix together the yuzu zest and sugar in a bowl and let it sit for 20 minutes.  Wash four jars (or other containers suitable for the freezer) in hot, soapy water.  In a heavy duty, thick-bottomed pot,* combine all of the ingredients, including the sugar/zest mixture.  Turn the heat to very low and start whisking everything together.  The butter will start to melt; keep whisking.  Once the butter is melted all the way and the mixture is smooth, turn the heat to medium.  Keep whisking.  Don’t stop, not for just anything, or the eggs will curdle and the texture will be off.**  It will take a few minutes, but eventually the curd will start to thicken.  Keep whisking.  When it reaches the consistency of a thick pudding, it’s ready.  Pull the pot off the heat.

Ladle the curd into jars, leaving 1/2″ or so headspace.  Attach lids.  Don’t water bath process this, just put it in the fridge or freezer.  I have no idea if this recipe is acidic enough for canning, but I don’t care because we eat it so fast.  The jars last for a week or so in the fridge.

*I use my jam pot for making citrus curd too.  The thick bottom makes sure you can control the temperature well, which is very important in this recipe.  Some people might use a double-boiler, but I’ve found that as long as you have a good pot and don’t stop whisking, it turns out just fine.

**I actually dropped my cell phone into the pot of curd during the whole whisking process, and my whole value system was tested in the blink of an eye.  Functional cell phone or yuzu curd? I chose yuzu curd. I yanked my cell phone out of the pot and threw it on the counter, covered with butter and eggs.  I did not stop whisking.  No more process pictures of curd, thank you very much.

For a curd recipe that’s safe for canning, go to this post which I did last winter, grapefruit-scented lemon curd. 

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3 responses to “Yuzu Curd

  1. I have been searching for a good yuzu curd EVERYWHERE! we have great markets here and they have everything but I don’t always now how to do what i want. Ty ty ty for posting this!

  2. Cell phone in the yuzu curd. That is a first and brought tears to my eyes. Hilarious. The curd sounds delicious as well!

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