On Father’s Day, I told Bill Beaucoup that I love him very much and that I’m glad he’s my dad. He responded with an eye roll and “whatever.” It was pretty touching. Despite his lack of sentimentality, I gave him a jar of rhubarb curd made with love. Hear that, Bill Beaucoup? YOU ATE LOVE.
Here’s the thing about rhubarb curd: when you read reviews of online recipes, some people comment that it isn’t overly tart. I’d like to tell you why I believe this is the case. When making curds, you often utilize juice drawn from fruit – most commonly, citrus. For example, to make a lemon curd, you juice lemons. For a lime curd, you juice limes. Have you ever tried to squeeze the juice out of a stalk of rhubarb? It’s tough milking. For this recipe, you cook the rhubarb in water, allowing it to steep, and that water then becomes the juice you utilize for the curd. Thus, you get a light, rhubarby flavour without tang or tartness. It is subtle, be warned. Some recipes puree rhubarb stalks and use the the pulp to create strong flavour, but I wanted a classic, silky-smooth curd with zero pulp, so I didn’t go that route.
Some reviewers also complain about the colour of rhubarb curd made with this method. They are disappointed when it isn’t brilliant pink, and looks almost identical to its lemon cousin. At baking school we talked a lot about the appearance of food – that we eat first with our eyes,* and will need to trick them on occasion. The colour of this curd will depend on your rhubarb, and will always lean toward yellow with the addition of eggs and butter. If you want a slightly pinker curd, add a speck of food colouring to the mix during cooking – I did. Bill Beaucoup’s curd looked like baby poop before I added some curd appeal. Just the teeny-tinest speck of colour will do wonders, so go easy on the stuff.
I added some lemon juice to this curd. Not much – just enough to brighten the flavour. The result is soft, sweet and a little buttery on the tongue. Close your eyes and you will taste the essence of rhubarb – just a whisper. More than that, you’ll find it is custardy and perfect served over strawberries. You could also use it in tarts or turnovers, slather it over scones or pancakes, or serve atop crusty meringues.
Alternatively, you could pack it into a jar and give it to someone who will run away when you try to give him a hug.
*Please do not put curd in your eyes.
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recipe: from The Kitchn, with only tiny adjustments
Yields about 2 cups.
- juice from 1/2 lemon (about 1/8 cup), freshly squeezed (not bottled)
- 8 ounces chopped, fresh rhubarb (1 inch pieces)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 4 ounces butter, cut into small cubes
Mise en place – begin by getting organized. Read through the entire recipe before beginning. Measure out all of your ingredients. You will need a kitchen thermometer.
Place the lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
Place rhubarb in a small saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes until the rhubarb is soft and breaks down – the juice will become pink. Pour the contents of the pot through a mesh strainer, collecting the rhubarb juice in a bowl/container. Add the strained rhubarb juice to the awaiting lemon juice, until the total liquid quantity is 2/3 cup. Allow the juice to cool.
Whisk together the sugar and eggs in a small saucepan. Slowly whisk in the 2/3 cup rhubarb-lemon juice – if your juice is still slightly warm, be sure to whisk constantly so the eggs don’t scramble. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the sides and bottom of the pot, until temperature reaches 170°F.
Remove from heat and stir in the butter a few cubes at a time, allowing each addition to fully incorporate before adding the next. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and let cool completely.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.