- Food & Drink
It’s the third week of January and I am still crazy for citrus. I think it’s down to the excitement at work. Every year there is general rejoicing when the blood oranges arrive, but this time we’ve gone even more mad for vitamin C. There are kumquats and Seville oranges by the box. Sweetie grapefruits, which have a sherbet flesh that’s sprightly in salads and would make a fine ceviche (written down in my book of ‘things to try’). And there are bergamots.
They’re described as bergamot lemons, and they’re sometimes written up as oranges, but they’re bergamots. Squat yellow-green citrus fruits that have a touch of lemony sharpness, a dash of orangey fruitiness and a lot of nana’s perfume about them. There’s a taste of Yardley in bergamots. A fragrance that reminds me of pastel bottles of talcum powder and flower patterned paper liners in mahogany chests of drawers.
I ordered a stack of them and had a play. There’s a jar of squashed bergamot soaking in brine in my wardrobe (we’ll see in a month if they’re any good). In my fridge are two jars of bergamot curd, as milky yellow as a winter sun and the flavour of bath cubes.
I’ve been stung before with curd recipes, when I’ve swapped one citrus fruit for another and ended up with buttery, eggy fruit juice that won’t thicken (this may be down to my inability to do maths or understand ratios). So I had a scout round for bergamot curd recipes to see what everyone else did, and found this recipe on the Natoora blog. They half and halfed their curd, using a mix of bergamot and swish Amalfi lemons. The lemon’s sharpness would cut through the bergamots more floral aspects, but I wanted full on bath salts so I went 100% bergamot.
The reason I used granulated sugar rather than caster? I had a bag of it in my cupboard and I was buggered if I was going to go out and buy slightly finer sugar when I could use up what I had. It worked fine.
Makes approximately 800g
100g salted butter
250g granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 Finely grate the zest from the bergamots and juice them. Place the zest and juice in a heatproof bowl. Chop in the butter. Add the sugar.
2 Half fill a saucepan with water and bring it to the boil. Rest the bowl in the pan, making sure there is a good inch or so between the bowl and the water. Turn the heat right down. Stir the mixture for around 5 minutes till the butter has melted.
3 Whisk the eggs and egg yolk together. Add them to the bowl. Heat and whisk till the curd thickens – about 30 minutes. Ladle the curd into sterilised jars. It will keep in the fridge for up to a month.