It's hard to think of anything more genteel than a delicate primrose curd
Cooking with Primroses II
March 15th, 2013
by Susan Clark
There's nothing more satisfying than watching a curd slowly start to thicken says Susan Clark...except, perhaps, knowing that your key ingredient was growing in the hedgerow just a few hours earlier.
I've come over all delicate - just like the pallor of this delicious floral curd
Primrose & Cardomom Curd
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This recipe really is a labour of pure love but you will be more than rewarded when you 'dress' the finished jar of primrose curd with its label and whatever cute or fancy fabric you use to decorate the lid. The delicate yellow pallor of this divine curd (much less intense in colour than traditional lemon curd) made me feel like Jane Austen and Mr Darcy must be coming to tea. And that I might even put on a skirt to serve it.
I admit this kitchen adventure was a bit experimental but with a lot of prayer and patience, it worked a treat. To make this curd, I substituted the lemon juice in my usual lemon curd recipe with a primrose & lemon syrup* made first. Not only did it work, I have used the primrose curd since to make one of the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen (or eaten)...more of which in the next and final primrose posting.
These ingredients made just two modest but precious pots; one to keep and one to give away which is another of my baking rituals. But if you have made it before, you will know that curd-making is a real art, so unless you are very confident start small and work up to production for your local Farmers' Market stall.
Remember too, you will need to make your primrose syrup* before making the curd itself. And don't forget to sterilise your jam jars. When I have a small number like this, I use boiling water and a metal spoon in each jar to stop the glass from shattering. If you are making a bigger batch, maybe use the slow bake method of sterilisation in a low temperature oven.
For the Primrose & Lemon syrup
x2 cups of fresh primrose flowers, use the ones that are less perfect and not needed for the decoration of other dishes
Half a lemon; cut this into three chunky sections
Cardmom seeds; split x4 whole cardomon pods and flake the black seeds into the syrup mix
Put all the above ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat for half an hour. Strain the syrup through a fine sieve leaving the lemon slices, black cardomom seeds and pulped primrose flowers behind.
For the Curd
3 large eggs
300g caster sugar
100ml Primrose & Lemon syrup (which you will have already made)
100g unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
Cardomom seeds, split and flake these from x4 whole cardomon pods (optional)
You will also need two smallish recyled jam jars and those waxy seals you can buy from jam-making suppliers to prevent moulds and other nasties from growing in your curd.
In any event, once opened, keep your curd in the fridge.
You will need a small saucepan and a bowl that fits snugly to this pan because you will be cooking your curd over the heat of the steam from the water in the saucepan.
This requires patience, trust and a your full attention. Do not let the curd boil or the mixture will curdle. Lumpy bits of egg in the mix is not what we are aiming for here so shut the kitchen door to all other distractions!
Pour about 2 inches of water into your saucepan, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat so the water just simmers.
Whisk your eggs and the sugar in the bowl you will be placing over the saucepan of water. Add the primrose syrup and the replacement cardomom seeds (remember you have sieved the syrup ones out of the liquor).
Place this bowl over your saucepan of simmering water and stir, continuously, with a small wooden spoon. Add your small cubes of unsalted butter, one at a time, and keep stirring until the mixture thickens.
Test for 'done-ness' by seeing if the curd mix coats the back of the spoon. Once this happens, you have your curd.
Take the bowl off the heat and set aside to cool whilst you sterilise your jam jars.
If you have a jam funnel use it to ladle your curd into your jars. If not, just spoon the mix in as carefully as you can.
Fill each jar with the primrose curd and seal with the jam pot cover.
Leave to cool and once the outside of the jar is cold to the touch, dress the lid with fancy fabric and label as: Primrose & Cardomom Curd...made by me!
Eat! Eat! Eat!
For more on cooking with Primroses, including basic foraging guidelines and a recipe for a stunning Springtime Primrose Meringue Nest, go to:
Susan Clark is Associate Editor for Resurgence & Ecologist. She has written books on Cookery and Natural Health and books that combine the two.
You can follow her @suzresurgence
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