Ok I admit it, this is blood orange curd. Purely because they are still available. But you can use ordinary oranges to make it. I had never even tasted a fruit curd up to a couple of years ago and now I love them. I had to resist the temptation to eat this out of the bowl while it was cooking! You could use any curd to make these mini tartlets, lemon being traditional but you could also use grapefruit or this passion fruit curd. I loved this curd but the orange one wins hands down.
All of the recipes I have read for curd have been to cook in saucepan over a low heat. It has NEVER worked for me. Just use a bain marie, it saves a lot of time. Also, oranges and grapefruits need lemon juice to thicken the curd. A fact I discovered after a lot of time and a lot of googling! Don’t worry about the colour of the curd. The colour of the juice from each orange varies wildly but the taste will be the same. I hope I have made enough mistakes that so that you don’t have to!!
And I cheated with the pastry – don’t tell anyone! I used ready made pastry cases, just because I had them to hand. Next time I will make my own because these were a little thick for my liking. If you want to make your own shortcrust I would use this Nigella recipe from the cranberry mince pies.
This makes 8 Individual Meringue Pies, with leftover curd for you to enjoy later.
BLOOD ORANGE CURD – adapted from a Donna Hay recipe. Makes 350ml
- 6 egg yolks (keep 2 of the whites for making the meringue, you can freeze the rest)
- 125ml blood orange juice strained – approx. 2 oranges
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 165g caster sugar
- 90g butter, chopped
- Beat the eggs yolks and sugar together.
- Set up a bain marie by placing a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water – make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Melt the butter in this bowl, and when melted stir in the sugar-egg mixture and the orange and lemon juices, and keep cooking gently, stirring constantly, until thickened.
- It does take some time to thicken but if it is not setting the way you want, squeeze in a little more lemon juice.
- Once the curd has thickened, put into a bowl and cover with cling film or wax paper. Make sure the cling film or paper touches the whole surface of the curd to prevent a skin forming.
- Place in the fridge for at least an hour or until you are ready to use it.
INDIVIDUAL ORANGE MERINGUE PIES
If you are making your own pastry cases preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Roll out the pastry and grease and flour muffin trays or individual tartlet trays. Cut out the pastry and mould into the cases. Pierce the bottom of the pastry and bake in the oven for 10-12 mins. Take out and allow to cool.
For this I use Nigella’s recipe that I use for the pavlova, just halve the amounts. You can leave out the cornflour and vinegar if you want more crunch to the topping. I tried cooking the meringue under the grill and then by baking in the oven. The results from the grill were far superior as I found that the oven dried out the curd a bit.
- 2 egg whites at room temperature
- A tiny pinch of salt
- 125g castor sugar
- 1 tsp cornflour
- ½ tsp white wine vinegar
- A drop of vanilla extract (not essence)
- Beat your egg whites with the pinch of salt with an electric/stand mixer until stiff satiny peaks form. You want the eggs to hold their shape when you take out the whisk.
- Then beat in the sugar a third at a time until the mixture is stiff and shiny. The mixture should be smooth and you should not be able to feel the sugar.
- Sprinkle over the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and fold in lightly.
To assemble the pies:
- Spoon some of the curd into the cooled pastry case.
- Either pipe or spoon the meringue mixture on to the curd. Try to create some peaks to allow more browning on the meringue. I don’t like to make the meringue too thick as I think it overpowers the curd but you can put as much as you like on top.
- Place the pies onto a baking tray and stick them under a medium grill until the meringue has lightly browned. Keep a very close eye on it as it burns very quickly. Trust me!!
- Allow to cool before you serve.