Monday, 26 October 2015

The Apple Diaries 2015 - Bramley Lemon Curd

Apologies for not adding to this blog for ages; I have been doing a bit more apple cooking, but I'm now totally out of jars so can't manage any more preserving for now, and we are feeling rather puddinged-out, so no more appley puds...  for a little while anyway!  Both of Delia's Pork and Apple dishes (blogged about earlier this Autumn) have made a reappearance recently, and I have stewed pans full of apples, nothing added, simply to use as apple sauce with roast pork meals in the coming months.  These are frozen, awaiting a time when we can no longer simply pop outside to grab an apple or two from the tree.  I also keep a bowl of unsweetened stewed apple in the fridge which I am eating for breakfast with granola and Greek Yoghurt.

Having said that I have now run out of jars, I used my final few for a slightly unusual preserve that I have been dying to try ever since I saw it in one of my favourite books ,the wonderful 'Preserves'  by Pam Corbin (a River Cottage Handbook):  Bramley Lemon Curd.  You might think nothing could beat a traditional lemon curd, but I agree with Pam Corbin that this is actually even nicer - she describes it as 'like eating apples and custard: softly sweet, tangy and quite, quite delicious'.  Irresistable.

Bramley Lemon Curd

450g Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons (you need 100ml juice)
125g unsalted butter
450g granulated sugar
4-5 large eggs (you need 200ml beaten egg)

Put the chopped apple into a  pan with 100ml water and the lemon zest.  Cook gently  until soft and fluffy, then either beat to a smooth puree with a wooden spoon or rub through a nylon sieve (I went with the beating option, and didn't worry that it wasn't perfectly smooth).

Put the butter, sugar, lemon juice and apple puree into a double boiler or heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (I like to live dangerously so just threw them all into a saucepan over a low heat and made sure to stir constantly!).

As soon as the butter is melted and the mixture is hot and glossy, pour in the eggs through a sieve (or don't bother with sieving them; I don't) and whisk with a balloon whisk.  If the fruit puree is too hot when the beaten eggs is added the egg will 'split'.   If you want to guard against this you can use a sugar thermometer - the mix should be no hotter than 55-60C when the egg is added.  If the curd does split, take the pan off the heat and whisk  vigorously until smooth.

Stir the mixture over a gentle heat, scraping down the sides of the bowl every few minutes, until thick and creamy.  This will take 9-10 minutes (in my experience this is a conservative estimate, mine takes at least 15, so don't panic!); the temperature should reach 82-84C on a sugar thermometer.  Immediately pour into warm sterilised jars and seal.  Use within 4 weeks (again, a conservative figure, I think it's OK for a  bit longer than this, but your call); once opened, keep in the fridge.

The recipe says this makes  5 225g jars, but I used jars of a variety of sizes and got 3 jars of the size pictured below (a Bonne Maman jar) and 1 slightly smaller one.  2 have been given as gifts and the other 2 are mine, all mine!