A good citrus curd is a food that’s both proper (think English high tea) and sensual at the same time. To make a fruit curd recipe even sexier, Chef Diane Scalia incorporates the aphrodisiacs of sweet strawberry and basil into this pink grapefruit curd recipe. The resulting fruit butter is sweet, creamy, tangy, slightly exotic and most definitely unforgettable.
Grapefruit curd ingredients
Although fruit curds are impressive, they really require very few ingredients.
- First there’s the citrus – in this case, pink or ruby red grapefruit. (Using pink grapefruit along with strawberry helps to give this curd its unique, blush pink color.) Be sure to clean the rind before using, as you will incorporate some of the zest into the recipe. And you may want a juicer, as you want to make sure to get as much fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice out of the fruit.
- Many curd recipes use both whole eggs and additional egg yolks. This one keeps it simple by using only whole eggs, no separating is necessary.
- You won’t be using the whole strawberries. You’re going to need a sieve to mash them and press out the juice, leaving the pulp and seeds behind. (This can be saved to use in healthy fruit smoothies.)
- This recipe does require fresh basil leaves. If you aren’t growing your own plant, you can buy it by the bunch in the produce section of the grocery store. (Basil is a great windowsill plant, by the way. And it has so many uses in the kitchen.)
- The trick to getting a smooth curd is using cold butter. Once you’ve cubed the butter, put it back in the refrigerator to keep it nice and cold until you’re ready to use it. Make sure you use unsalted butter for this curd recipe.
Can you substitute lemons with grapefruit to make a fruit curd?
Grapefruit provides the same acidity and bitterness as lemons. It makes a great substitute for lemons in a traditional curd recipe. You can use it in a 1 to 1 ratio. However, the resulting curd will have a slightly more mellow flavor than you get from using lemons.
In this recipe, grapefruit is purposely used to make a less sour curd, which is better for showcasing the more subtle flavors of basil and strawberry.
In addition to the sieve you’ll need to mash the strawberries mentioned above, you’ll need the sieve again – or a second sieve – to strain the curd. (You strain the cooked curd to remove any tiny bits of egg that may have accidentally scrambled during the cooking process. And for this curd, you’ll also want to strain out the basil pieces, to keep the final curd nice and smooth.)
But the most important piece of equipment you need to be successful at making curds is a non-reactive double boiler or a metal bowl that fits into a saucepan without touching the bottom. (If you use a reactive metal like aluminum, it can give the curd a metallic taste.)
Curds cook over indirect heat, so in order to slowly and gently whisk together your ingredients, the cooking vessel, either saucepan or bowl, must sit above simmering water on your stovetop.
If the water is touching the bowl, it will make the ingredients too hot and you may end up scrambling the eggs. You also run the danger of the mixture breaking when you add the butter.
So in order to have success in making a curd, make sure you have the right equipment and go low and slow. (Never turn the heat on your burner above medium.)
How to serve this sexy pink grapefruit curd
There are so many uses for a great curd!
For this sweet and slightly herbal curd, Chef Diane recommends spreading it on toast or crackers or using it as a dip for shortbread cookies. She says it is also a fantastic spread on Belgian “Speculoos” cookies.
This delicious grapefruit fruit butter can be incorporated into many dessert recipes. It can also work as a filling for a vanilla layer cake or the filling of a grapefruit curd tart. You can even use it as a topping for ice cream.
In addition, pink grapefruit curd with basil is a nice accompaniment to a cheeseboard. Of course, you can also serve it with a fresh batch of scones for a proper English tea.
The secret ingredient to a romantic breakfast
But our favorite use for this pink fruit curd recipe is for romance. Use it for a romantic breakfast in bed as a topping for waffles or filling for crepes. Or just dip your fingers in the jar and let your lover lick it off!
Pink Grapefruit Curd with hint of Strawberry and Basil
- 4 ripe strawberries hulled, cut into quarters
- finely grated zest and fresh-squeezed juice from 1 large pink grapefruit approx 1/2 - 3/4 cup juice
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves torn by hand into tiny pieces
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter (4 oz) cut into small pieces
- Over a small bowl, press strawberry pieces through a fine sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to yield about 1/4 cup or more of juice; use remainder of berries in sieve in a smoothie!
- Place strawberry juice, grapefruit zest and juice, basil leaves, sugar, and eggs in metal bowl, whisk all ingredients to combine well, then add butter pieces.
- Over simmering water in medium saucepan, place bowl (double-boiler fashion).
- Whisking constantly, cook until thickened and smooth, and instant-read thermometer registers 160F, about 5-7 minutes. Do not overcook as eggs will begin to coddle!
- Remove bowl from heat immediately, and strain with fine sieve set into another (preferably glass) bowl. (Cool the curd immediately to prevent bacteria from forming.)
- Serve warm or place waxed paper directly over curd and allow to cool/chill completely. May keep refrigerated for up to one week.
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