Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Little Curd To Mend A Wound

It's funny where you find inspiration.  It might be a memory of a loved one, a picture on your wall, a song on the radio, a sunny day....or a sad little Christmas tree naked in your front yard.  I know that this sounds strange but I found myself this weekend feeling very sad, since we took all evidence of Christmas out of our house.

Down came all the decorations, the ornaments, and the Christmas tree, and I'm always traumatized by the sight of it sitting in the front yard waiting for a swift burial.  So how does one mend this post-holiday wound?  With curd, and in this case blood orange curd.  I am a very big fan of classic lemon curd....how can you go wrong with that much melted butter?  And while I know I should be focusing on cooking waist friendly dishes like everyone else, I just can't help myself.   Especially when I know that all I needed was the healing power of luscious melted butter and citrus, lopped over a shortbread crust......a perfect companion for a nice cup of tea on a wintry sad day. 

So since I just so happened to have left over blood oranges from my blood orange champagne cocktails, I figured why not give it a go, shake up classic lemon curd with the yummy floral citrus flavor of blood oranges.  But I have to say that I did give it a moment's pause, because curds can be somewhat labor intensive and well I don't know if my fragile emotional state could handle lumpy curd so I decided to do an adaptation of a recipe I found in Fine Cooking, which is ridiculously easy, although the initial steps in this recipe results in an off-putting curdled nasty looking concoction.  However, after this curdled mess is heated the butter melts into an amazing velvety smooth curd.  In the end my mission was achieved, and the curd was the perfect bandage for my emotional wound, and helped me say goodbye to my Christmas tree friend.

Blood Orange Curd Tart

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Curd: Adapted from the recipe
Lemon Curd For Scottish Shortbread by Elinor Klivans in Fine Cooking Magazine.
For the curd simply follow the recipe in the link but substitute in the following:

2/3 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice for the lemon juice
1 tablespoon blood orange zest for the lemon zest
3 whole eggs instead of 2

1-1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment mix butter and sugar until smooth.  Add vanilla and mix until combined.  Add the flour, salt, and almonds and mix until the dough starts to come together. 

 Press dough into a 9-inch tart pan and chill for 30 minutes.  Once the crust has chilled poke crust with a fork and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. 

Remove crust from oven and cool completely.  While the crust is cooling make the curd according to the recipe provided in the link.  Pour the hot curd into the crust and allow the curd to set at room temperature.  When the curd is set the tart is ready to serve.  You can also chill the tart until serving.

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