If you haven’t had fruit curd before or made it yourself, you are in for a treat!
Most well known served with clotted cream on scones, that’s just the start of how to use this flavorful, smooth orange curd recipe!
What is Orange Curd?
It’s a thick, sweet orange flavored spread similar to a custard in texture. Though unlike custard, curd is not eaten on its own.
It’s an English dish used as a spread, topping or filling between cake layers, in pastries or as tart filling.
Orange custard is typically served with scones or bread for breakfast or brunch. It is used the same way you would use jam.
Homemade curd can vary in thickness. If it’s too thin it really can’t be used in all situations.
The recipe below is an old family recipe that includes cornstarch.
This ensures the curd is thick and luscious. It can be used for any purpose.
There is no gelatin in this recipe.
Ways to Use Orange Curd
- Spread on top of waffles or pancakes
- Stir into plain yogurt
- Spread as a layer on top of cheesecake
- Spoon onto muffins, biscuits, croissants, scones or toast instead of jam
- Fold together with whipped topping to fill baked pastry shells or cream puff filling for a quick dessert
- As a filling between cake layers
- As cupcake filling
- Over ice cream
Fruit Curd Recipes
Lemon curd is probably the most well known of the fruit curds. But it’s easy to make with many other fruits.
Here are some favorites:
Recipe Ingredients + Notes
Granulated sugar. Sweetens the curd and helps with thickening and helps keep the curd a beautiful color.
Cornstarch. This ingredient helps thicken the curd. Arrowroot starch can also be substituted. Adding cornstarch is not common to all curd recipes.
In this family recipe we’ve always used it and it allows the curd to be used in any way because it’s nice and thick when chilled.
Freshly squeezed Orange Juice. Squeezing the juice yourself makes all the difference in flavor. Different types of oranges will also change the flavor. Feel free to mix oranges too.
It has taken about 10 oranges to yield the needed 2 cups of juice but this can vary by orange type.
Whole Eggs. Many curd recipes just uses the egg yolks. This family recipe uses whole eggs. They should be at room temperature when starting.
If not, place them in a bowl of warm water to raise their temperature before starting the recipe.
Unsalted Butter. This gives the curd a creamy custard-like consistency. Do not use salted butter.
Orange zest. The zest is the very outer ‘skin’ of the orange. Directly underneath it is the white pith which is very bitter; avoid that.
The oils in the zest have a different flavor than the juice. Using both creates a wonderful flavor. Here is more info about orange zest.
How to Make it – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Combine ingredients.
Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Add the fresh orange juice (photo 1) and whisk to combine. Whisk in eggs (photo 2).
STEP 2. Cook the curd.
Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a low simmer (photo 2).
Continue to stir constantly as the mixture thickens (around 2-3 minutes) (photo 3). It will coat the spoon. Remove from heat.
Add the butter and orange zest. Stir to melt the butter and fully combine.
STEP 3. Chill the orange curd.
Press a piece of plastic wrap on top of the curd (photo 4). Make small holes for venting. This prevents a skin from developing on the top.
Place in the refrigerator until it is fully chilled through (minimum 2 hours) and has thickened.
Recipe FAQs + Pro Tips
Microwave the orange for more juice. Pop the oranges into the microwave for 10 seconds before juicing to yield more juice.
My preferred juicing method is using a hand held juicer.
Zest the oranges before juicing them. This is the easiest way to get zest. Do not remove the bitter white pith directly below the skin.
My all time favorite zester makes zesting a breeze and has a measurement compartment on the back so you know how much zest you have at all time.
Do not use an aluminum pan. Aluminum reacts with the acid in citrus fruits. It can cause any citrus curd to taste metallic and alter the color.
The color of the egg yolks and juice will determine the orange curd color. Most orange curd is a pastel orange. It’s a soft, dainty color. The depth of egg yolk and orange juice color will affect the end curd color.
It may not be the same color every time you make it.
When the curd coats the spoon it’s done. When it begins to thicken it will thicken quickly and coat the spoon. This is the time to remove it and stir in the butter and orange zest.
How do you thicken Orange Curd?
Curd made without cornstarch can often be thin and almost runny. That is not the case with this recipe.
Homemade curd thickens as it chills and does not need to be thickened further.
Storing Orange Curd
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
How to freeze Curd
Allow the curd to fully chill in the refrigerator.
Place in a freezer-safe airtight sealed container with 1/2-inch space above the top of the curd for expansion.
Freeze up to 1 year. Thaw in the refrigerator.