There are few things in life that I find comfortably stable. It comes, then, at no surprise to people when I tell them about the 8-odd times I moved around during my childhood, or that I routinely sign up for at least 19 or 20 courses every term before settling on a schedule I deem acceptable, or that I’m still trying to sort out the direction my life is going to take this time next year after I’ve graduated.
(For the record, I’m pretty sure that this time next year, I still won’t have an answer.)
But I find myself at ease when I consider some things that never change. The assurance of the sun rising in the morning, no matter how many philosophy courses attempt to persuade me otherwise; that 90+ degree weather is utterly atrocious, and more often than not will lead me to refuse leaving my apartment; that when it comes to good music to listen to on long, solitary drives, no school is better than old school.
And, of course, that my mum’s love of fruit curd brooks no argument.
Mum’s always been an enormous fan of fruit curd. I discovered this love quite early on, after my first attempt at making it on my own. I recall setting the jar in the fridge, full to the brim with lemon curd for a cake I’d be baking in a few days. Not more than half a week later, with cake layers cooling on wire racks on the counter, I reached for the jar, twisted it open, and was met with a noticeable amount of missing curd with wonderfully smooth, spoon-sized impressions littering the surface.
Well, okay then.
From then on, I realized I’d always have to account for some quantity of collateral damage to accompany any curd I brought home.
But, you know, it makes her happy, so I oblige.
Adapted from Kaitlyn in the Kitchen
Yields about one heaping cup of curd
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup mango nectar (flesh of about 3 mangos, pureed)
- 4 egg yolks
- juice and zest from one lime
- 1 stick butter, cut into tablespoons
In a medium saucepan, whisk sugar and cornstarch until blended. Whisk in the mango nectar, egg yolks, lime juice, and zest, and cook over medium flame until thickened, 5-6 mins. Remove pan from the heat.
Whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Pour the curd into a glass jar or bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
I’ve always found that fruit curd is the most perfect addition to a layer cake you could conceive. In fact, almost any layer cake I bake, which admittedly is a rare occurrence, will have some sort of tangy, colorful, utterly delicious curd stacked in-between.
Lemon is the most common curd of choice for its versatility, but on mum’s birthday, I wanted to try something a bit different. I went with a coconut cake for the occasion, and figured that mango would be the ideal, tropical accompaniment. The original recipe didn’t call for lime juice, but I love a tangier curd, and mango and lime are such a sublime combination that I couldn’t resist. A modification well-made, in my opinion.
You could really do anything with this curd. Use it in layer cakes, as fillings for cupcakes or mini tart shells, or, if you’re like my mother, straight out of the jar with no shame and an enormous spoon.
To my knowledge, I did manage to keep her from the jar until I had finished with the cake, but I’m pretty certain it’s been licked clean at this point.
Oh, well. I suppose some things never change.