Saturday, 20 August 2011

Spiced Damson Curd, and Some Uses.

I bought a small bag of damsons in a flush of seasonal excitability. A lot of the fruit I buy for this reason ends up as flavouring for vodka, but I had the urge to make something more family-friendly. I don't think you can get much more wholesome then homemade preserves, in particular curd, which has a rather old fashioned feel to it. I love making and eating curd, but I'd never made it with damsons before. I hypothesized that they would be tart enough to withstand the process required to turn them into a curd, and went about my usual method, with the addition of some spices. I was rather happy with the result, which was not only tasty, but also a pleasing shade of maroon.

If you make this, or any other preserve, you'll need to sterilise the jar, which you can do by washing in hot soapy water, then drying in a low oven.

*Update 2709/15- this has been the most visited blog post by far, so I wanted to revisit this recipe- it's a lovely way to welcome autumn. Here are some newer photos:
Damsons, before cooking

Damsons, after cooking

Damson purée, eggs, sugar and spices

Finished curd

300 grams damsons
100ml water
150-200 grams caster sugar
3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cloves
100 grams butter, cubed

Put the damsons in a saucepan with the water, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low, clamp on a lid and let them stew for a few minutes till softened, and some of them have split their skins.

Put a sieve over a bowl, and tip in damsons and the accumulated juices. Push the damsons through the sieve with the back of a large spoon, until you are left with just skins and stones in the sieve. Put the sieved juice and damson flesh back in the saucepan with the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and spices. Beat together to make it a uniform consistency.  Over a low heat, stir with a wooden spoon. Once it is heated through, add a cube of butter, stirring all the time until in is melted and mixed in. Continue to add the butter cubes, one by one, until they are all used. Keep cooking and stirring the curd. Once it thickly coats the back of the spoon, it is ready. Pour into your sterilised jar. Once it is cool, keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Now you can either eat it as it is, spread on bread or toast. Or try it on scones, or between the layers of a sponge cake, with some softly whipped cream. Basically wherever you would use jam, substitute curd. My housemate and I had a quick pudding of Greek yogurt with crushed meringue and the curd folded in.

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