There are a million and one delicious things in the world. Chocolate. Ripe mangoes. Jennifer Lawrence. But sometimes I think that, as far as simplicity goes, you can't get much better than curd. I'm not talking about the pale, buttery clouds that rise to the surface when you make cheese (the curds of Little Miss Muffet, as they are otherwise known), but that blissfully ambrosial concoction of butter, eggs, sugar and fruit, heated and whisked until glossy, gelatinous and spreadable and then placed in jars where you can admire its beautiful pastel hues.
I've made my own lemon curd twice, both times for this ridiculously good Meyer lemon shortbread tart. My favourite part is when you whisk the cold, cubed butter into the bright yellow yolks and lemon juice at the end, and everything emulsifies and becomes thick, glossy and slightly opaque. This kind never makes it into the jar - it gets poured into a shortbread biscuit crust until set, and then you devour it in thick, tangy, gloriously moreish slices.
I like the idea of making my own curd to eat on toast, but there are so many lovely bought versions out there that I never get round to it. My favourite two are the passionfruit curd made by Cherry Tree Preserves, and the raspberry curd made by the English Heritage company (they're not paying me to say that, by the way - I just absolutely love them. I wish they would pay me to say that though. In unlimited supplies of curd.) I like the standard lemon, but for me passionfruit and raspberry have the edge - I think it's the sharpness coupled with the intense fragrance that both of these fruits have.
Sometimes, spreading a dark pink dollop of raspberry curd onto freshly baked, cake-like soda bread, or smothering a warm crumpet in marigold-yellow passionfruit curd, I genuinely think there is probably nothing tastier in the world. As far as the ratio of simplicity to deliciousness goes, curd surely wins. It has the edge on jam, because it includes butter and eggs, which obviously makes it infinitely more delicious as these are both delicious things.
A couple of years ago, I bought some English Heritage ginger curd at a Christmas market. I remember being captivated by that fiery, ginger tang coupled with the soothing notes of butter and sugar. Unfortunately, given that my jam cupboard (yes, I have such a thing) is always packed with about a million different preserves, I didn't get round to opening it until recently. It is still tasty, but past its best in terms of packing that gingery flavour punch.
What I'm really trying to say, very tangentially, is that my opened jar of ginger curd in the fridge gave me a glorious excuse to make these ginger curd and blueberry breakfast rolls.
The recipe comes from my favourite dessert blog, Pastry Studio. The original involves making your own lemon curd, then spreading this across a piece of enriched dough, sprinkling with blueberries, rolling the dough up tightly into a log and slicing into twelve pieces. These nestle together in a cake tin until risen again, and then you bake them until they become a wonderful, sticky, gooey, homogenous mass of wonderfulness. A bit like cinnamon rolls, but without the cinnamon and using curd instead of the normal butter and sugar filling. I used my ginger curd, smothering this over the dough, and some blueberries from the freezer (a double whammy of using things up - I dream of moments like this).
And oh, oh, they were amazing. The curd melts into the dough in the oven, making everything sweet and sticky, while the blueberries burst and ooze their lovely sweet juice throughout the dough. You can also kid yourself into thinking these are healthy because of the blueberries (although that said, I used spelt flour and the dough doesn't have much sugar in, so they're not atrociously bad for you, and also, WHO CARES. LOOK AT THE PHOTOS. THESE NEED TO BE EATEN REGARDLESS OF ANY HEALTH CONCERNS).
Even better, you can make these the night before so all you have to do in the morning is bake them. Make the dough and give it its first rise the night before. Spread it out, top with the curd and berries, then roll up, slice and put in the tin. Put in a cold place (larder or fridge) overnight. If they haven't quite doubled in size in the morning, leave them in a warm place for 45 minutes or so, then bake. Brunch is ready, and it will be incredible. I mean, it really will.
For the recipe, see Pastry Studio, here. I did everything the same except I used spelt flour instead of plain flour, half a standard-size jar of ginger curd instead of the lemon curd, and I let the sliced buns rise overnight in a cold place instead of for an hour in a warm place. I also left off the glaze - they are very sweet as they are and don't really need it (especially not at breakfast!)