Curd. What a word. It seems to me it’s slightly absurd. But not completely, from what I’ve heard. I listened and saw and then I was lured into making my no sugar version of curd.
I like to experiment with food. I suppose I could say I play with food sort of like I play with words. I try not to sugar coat any of it. But it’s a bigger deal for me to keep the sugar out of my foods. (It spoils my moods. Literally and figuratively.)
I’m not a big fan of substitutes with processed foods. When I say I avoid gluten, it’s not to partake of the multitudes of high priced and not always yummy gluten free options on the market. I’m really saying I avoid processed grains, but sometimes it’s just easier to say I avoid gluten. It gets rid of a lot of things I prefer not to eat.
A little aside about avoiding gluten. I had a sandwich for lunch last week. It was on whole grain bread (not gluten free) with meat and avocado and greens. One of the side dishes was a delicious quinoa salad with no sugar added. I avoided the whole grain tortillas that were available but enjoyed the fresh blueberries. I assessed the meal and the situation and chose to eat the bread. It worked for me and it was very tasty. But it’s not something I will have often. I’m not going to call it a treat. It was lunch. The treat was the people I was eating with!
Okay. Back to the curd. I spent three weeks away from home recently. The last week was in Washington with family. The main reason I went was an invitation to an aunt and uncle’s sixtieth wedding anniversary. I enjoyed my time with that branch of the family tree and then went to spend some time with a cousin and some friends. (Well, the cousin is a friend, too!)
This particular cousin has a standard breakfast of Greek yogurt cheese (she makes it with a special strainer) and lemon curd (she makes this also). Her description was to imagine eating cheesecake for breakfast. She knew I wouldn’t eat the lemon curd because of the sugar content, but I thought it sounded like a wonderful breakfast. If a person can handle a little bit of sugar, the protein content of the yogurt cheese and the eggs in the curd would probably go far to offset the effects of the sugar in the curd. But I’m a bit too sensitive to sugar to risk it.
I watched her make lemon curd one evening. It was a simple enough process with attention to a few details. It was enough to set my creative juices going to come up with a no sugar added version. When life gives you lemons make curd? I could hardly wait to get home and find some lemons! I got a yogurt strainer as a gift in the mail. Yesterday, I bought lemons, non-sweetened Greek yogurt and Ataulfo mangos (my sweetener for this project) at Costco.
As a background note, I’ll mention that I started the experimental process by attempting to make tropical fruit curd (I didn’t have any lemons yet) Sunday evening. I used 4 cups, total, of frozen mango, pineapple, and very ripe banana. I thawed them a bit in the microwave before adding 2 tablespoons key lime juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/3 cup coconut oil, and 3 whole eggs. I whirred it all in my food processor to make it smooth before cooking it on low heat in a large saucepan. on my stove. I used a candy thermometer and stirred the mixture often until it reached 170°F. Then I removed the pan from the heat, poured the curd into a quart sized Mason jar, covered it with a plastic lid and put it in the fridge. Well, actually, we sampled it with supper over freshly sliced strawberries. It wasn’t completely smooth (I think that was from the pineapple), but it tasted good. Another side note: this fruit curd is #glutenfree #noaddedsugar #dairyfree. (I thought I’d hash that out.)
Okay. Back from the background. I did my first round of experiments to make no sugar added lemon curd this morning. I think it was a success. Smooth, tart with just enough sweetness, very delicious. I had it with my newly strained Greek yogurt cheese for breakfast. If anyone wants to try my recipe for lemon curd and let me know how it worked for you, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it along. In the interest of full disclosure, it should probably be called mango lemon curd, but I think the dominant flavor is lemon.
And now, using the words of my cousin, “What do you think?”