When citrus season is upon us, I swoon for Meyer lemons, Bearss limes, and even candy-sweet Kishu mandarins, but none excites me more than grapefruit. White, pink, ruby red -- they're all my favorites.
Though grapefruit's natural bitterness makes it a natural for marmalade, I think it adds a very special touch to another traditional preserve, fruit curd. Lemon curd is the most common, but grapefruit curd is like lemon curd on steroids, intensely sweet with enough bitterness to give it some muscle.
This recipe is adapted from a Meyer lemon curd recipe in Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan. The grapefruit I used were pink, and on the sweet side, so I added a dash of Campari. This bitter liqueur is a natural complement to grapefruit, with a balanced bittersweet flavor that seems to bring out the flavors of grapefruit. It also added a rosy hue, hinting at the pink fruit I started with. Since the pH levels of grapefruit are variable, I do not recommend this recipe for water-bath canning.
Making curd is easy, but does take care. Stir the mixture constantly while on the heat, lest you run the risk of the eggs curdling, or at least becoming grainy. Unlike jam and jelly recipes, cards can be scaled, but keep in mind that higher volume will require longer cooking time for the curd to set, which in turn again requires more care not to curdle.
The final curd will be bright, sweet, with a bracing bitter edge. It's delicious on scones, ice cream, or as a filling layer in cakes.
- 4 medium grapefruit
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 ounce Campari (optional)
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Prepare a double boiler, or make one with a bowl large enough to sit over a pot of boiling water without touching the surface of the water. Have two clean half-pint jars ready.
Zest the grapefruit with a zester or very fine grater. Set aside. Cut the zested grapefruit in half, and juice, straining out any pulp. Measure 1/2 cup of the juice, and reserve the rest for another use.
Mix the grapefruit zest and sugar, rubbing together with your fingers until fragrant and the sugar feels like moist sand. Set aside.
Put about 2" of water in the bottom of the double boiler or pot, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Bubbles should just break the surface; do not boil. In the top or bowl, off the heat, combine the eggs and yolks, and whisk until fully combined. Add the zest-sugar combination, and whisk until fully dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly. Add the 1/2 cup of grapefruit juice and the Campari, if using, and whisk until combined.
Put the top on the double boiler, and add the cubed butter. Use a silicon spatula to stir the mixture. Stir continuously until the butter melts and incorporates, and the mixture thickens about 10 minutes. You'll know it's beginning to thicken when it coats the back of the spatula. When it reaches the density of sour cream, it's ready.
Pour the curd into the clean jars. Allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate and use within three weeks, or freeze up to 6 months.