Monday, January 23, 2017

Bergamot update

I found things to do with the bergamots (all apart from 1 which went mushy before I got the chance to deal with it). Two went to new homes to be used in gin and tonics (the effect is subtle but pleasing and highly recommended). Two more went into marmalade (the recipe promises that after you reach boiling point it should take about 10 minutes to reach setting point. It doesn't, it takes what feels like an eternity, but was in fact a good hour). They're as bitter as Sarah Randell's book 'Marmalade' told me they would be, but two along with a kilo of Seville oranges has worked well. It's a little more bitter than my usual marmalade but none the worse for that and I'm pleased with the results. Any more would be to much.

Four went into making a curd which was enough to yield three and a half small jars, which is plenty because it doesn't keep for long. I've had bad luck with curds in the past. My first attempt at lemon curd (late one night after a shift waitressing because a guest wanted it for breakfast) was a disaster because the recipe (Sophie Grigson, and I've looked askance at her books ever since) in what I hope was a miss print, omitted the lemon juice from the lemon curd. I didn't know any better. Since than (thanks to Claire MacDonald and her lemon curd pavlova) lemon curd hasn't presented a problem - even if it's a bit of a bore to make. I've tried, and disliked, orange curd, and once made an apple curd which again I really disliked. 

The good news is that bergamots make a great curd. It's a lot like a lemon one, but with an aroma and flavour that suggests something like sherbet. The extra bitterness is discernible, but welcome, and when I took the half jar to work and made people try it the result was really positive (words like delicious were thrown around). It's different enough from anything you can buy to make it worth the effort of making too. 

The recipe is basically the one from Ocado's website but uses the JUICE (turns out this matters, 23 years, I haven't forgotten) and zest of 4 bergamots (the original uses 2, along with 2 Amalfie lemons) 250g of granulated sugar, 100g of butter, 3 eggs and a 4th egg yolk. Heat the butter, sugar, juice and zest until butter and sugar have melted, but don't allow to get to hot. Whisk the eggs and extra yolk together, and add to the mix whisking all the time (now us not the moment to get a sweet citrusy take on scrambled eggs, which is why the temperature shouldn't be to hot), carry on whisking until the mixture thickens to something your happy potting. Pot - in sterilised jars. Opinion about how long it keeps seems to range from a few days to 4 weeks. I'm hoping 4 weeks. 

That leaves me with one lone bergamot, it's destined for more gin and tonics. The final verdict is that they're well worth playing with if you can get your hands on some. 


  1. I've always been a bit scared of curd, but perhaps if I follow a correct recipe... Oh dear. ;-) So happy the bergamots got some love.

  2. It's like making mayonnaise or custard - both of which I find a bit tedious. Worth it sometimes but not all the time. There's a Claire Macdonald recipe for lemon curd pavlova from the eighties that I love with a passion though (the filling is just whipped cream mixed with curd, and maybe some extra curd on top to give it extra lemony lushness) and the bergamot curd would be a lovely substitute.