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lime curd -- zest or no?

I've just made some lime curd. I strained it, and now it calls for stirring in 1 T of zest. But won't it be weird to have little bits in the curd? Isn't curd supposed to be smooth?

But I don't want to sacrifice flavor...

Would love your thoughts!

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  1. Do it.

    Trust me. It's good.

    And, no, it won't detract from the mouthfeel of the custard.

    1. I don't usually add the zest because I'm not a fan of the gritty bits -- I like my curd to be smooth. It seems like most recipes call for zest though. I assume it's partly for the flavour and partly for the pretty, speckled appearance. While adding the zest does add a bit more flavour, I've found that the quality of the juice is way more important than the zest itself. For me, the smooth consistency is worth sacrificing that small amount of flavour. If I use good, fresh juice, my curd always comes out great, without the gritty bits.

      1. I'm another vote to use the zest -- you just can't get the essential oils from the juice, and there's a whole lotta flavor in them oils.

        1. Well, the score is 1-1!

          I think I will do 2 batches, one with and one without and do a taste-testing here at home!

          Thanks so much.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jessinEC

            nah, you're up to 2:1

            But yes, do your own test.

            1. re: jessinEC

              You could also try grating the zest in larger pieces and then straining it out. That way you can get the oils and also the smoothness.

              1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                As far as my training that is the way to make Citrus curds.
                The zest is added before the cooking and strained out before cooling. Not only do you get the flavor of the zest but also eliminates any bits of Chalaza or scrambled egg(lets hope not) that may be.

            2. I am not obsessed with zest like the rest of the western world, so I say no. Also citrus can be waxed and sprayed so if you do zest, scrub first.

              I would rather have dark chocolate grated on my curd.

              1 Reply
              1. re: CCSPRINGS

                if I'm making curd, I buy bio, untreated lemons, then I wash them under running water - no wax, no chemicals.

              2. I was VERY lucky to have my sister-in-law's home grown limes! So, no sprays and super local! The verdict was -- couldn't tell the difference. I wonder if the zesty one will continue to develop in flavor; maybe tomorrow there will be a difference. Next time, I think I will add it first and strain it out. Seems like the best solution.

                6 Replies
                1. re: jessinEC

                  Ooh, homegrown limes -- you are very lucky indeed! I'm lucky enough to have been surrounded by lemon and orange and grapefruit trees ripe for the picking for the last few months, but I've only ever found one lime tree and it was small and in someone's yard. The few fallen limes I picked off the ground were amazing though. Completely different from the ones you get in stores. I bet your curd is amazing too. I'm so jealous of your SIL's tree. I would kill to know someone with a lime tree.

                  1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                    well, then, I won't tell you my address :)

                    seriously, I'm in the Bay Area CA. I was amazed a lime tree would grow here!

                    by my SIL is an amazing gardener.

                    1. re: jessinEC

                      Just planted 2 limes trees, and everyday I'm encouraging it to start producing already! Have PLENTY of Meyer lemons, Satsumas, peaches, Valencia oranges, but can't wait for the new lime, apricot and pomegrante to bloom.

                      1. re: pine time

                        Limes, apricots AND pomegranates? Now I'm even more jealous.

                      2. re: jessinEC

                        Wow -- I'm in the Central Valley and assumed I'd have to go south to find limes. I had no idea they would grow in the Bay Area.

                    2. re: jessinEC

                      i always use zest in curds, but add it when the liquid is still hot. this works better at releasing the oils.

                    3. I'm also in the zest boat ... love it.

                      1. I make a lot of curds, and I like them smooth--but I always include the zest. It cooks with the curd, and then I strain it out--a couple extra minutes, but worth it to me.
                        I have a friend who uses the same recipe I use, and she doesn't bother to strain the zest. Still delicious.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                          Can you share the recipe ? Please :)

                          1. re: scunge

                            Sure, it is from Ottolenghi. I settled on it as my favorite after trying many others. It is in metric, so I weigh the sugar and butter. But I also eyeball it sometimes, when I'm making it often--it's very forgiving. And it halves easily.

                            Put the following ingredients--except for roughly half the butter, which gets whisked in at the end--into a heavy-bottomed saucepan:

                            200ml lemon juice

                            grated zest from 4-6 lemons (about what you'll need)

                            200g superfine sugar* (I make mine by whizzing regular sugar in a grinder or food processor) 4 whole eggs + 4 egg yolks

                            180g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, divided roughly in half and half reserved

                            Over medium heat, whisk constantly. Reduce heat if mixture starts to stick. When the mixture beigins to boil and large bubbles start coming to the surface (maybe 10 minutes or so), whisk vigorously for another minute or two. Then remove pan from heat and whisk in remaining butter.

                            Strain mixture if you like. Cover the surface w/cling wrap, and refrigerate until set--at least six hours.

                            *If using Meyer lemons, I use 25% less sugar.

                            This freezes very well.

                            (Attaching a photo of a small jar from the freezer.)

                        2. I always add zest to my curds too, but I do strain through a chinois at the end of the cooking time, so it's a smooth curd, wether it's lemon, lime, grapefruit, etc...
                          I like to rub the zest with the sugar before I put everything else in the pot. Rubbing these two together helps to release the oils, and gives you a very bright flavor.
                          Kind of like rubbing the sugar cube with the orange rind for Suzette....