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As Orange as it Gets

Jan 19, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose

I have a cousin, Peggy Samson, who flies to Spain every year to bring back Seville oranges to her home in London to make orange marmalade. If you live in the U.S., however, all you have to do is order from a Ca. company owned by Eric and Kim Christensen and appropriately named “Ripe to You”! www.ripetoyou.com or call 559-626-7917. These oranges are available now and will only be in season for about 2 months but they will keep refrigerated for several weeks.

Seville orange are also known as bitter oranges because they have an acidity level of about that of lemon. They offer the true orange flavor of a sourball candy and will give you the consistency of a perfect lemon curd, unlike that of other oranges which don’t thicken adequately. Don’t use the zest for the curd, however, as unless it is sweetened with tons of sugar as in a marmalade, it is undesirably bitter. Best to use naval oranges for the zest in the curd.

Note: weigh the yolks or measure them as you need the full amount to achieve the best texture.

Seville Orange Curd

Makes:  1  1/4 cups/12.25 ounces/350 grams








naval orange zest (finely grated rind)

4 teaspoons, loosely packed


8 grams

4 large egg yolks

1/4 cup
(2 fluid ounces)

2.6 ounces

74 grams


3/4 cup

5.2 ounces

150 grams

Seville orange juice, freshly squeezed and strained (about  3 Seville oranges)

6  1/2 tablespoons
(3.2 fluid ounces)

3.5 ounces

100 grams

unsalted butter, cut into pieces or softened

4 tablespoons
(1/2 stick)

2 ounces

57 grams


a pinch



Have ready near the range a strainer, suspended over a medium bowl containing the orange  zest.

In a heavy saucepan, beat the yolks and sugar until well blended. Stir in the orange juice, butter and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until thickened and resembling hollandaise sauce, which thickly coats a wooden spoon but is still liquid enough to pour. The mixture will change from translucent to opaque and begin to take on an orange color on the back of a wooden spoon. It must not be allowed to come to the boil or it will curdle. Whenever steam appears, remove the pan briefly from the heat, stirring constantly, to keep the mixture from boiling. When the curd has thickened, and will pool thickly on the surface, pour it at once into the strainer. Press with the back of a spoon until only the coarse residue remains. Discard the residue (or enjoy it as a treat--it tastes great). Stir gently to mix in the zest sitting in the bowl and allow the curd to cool.

Store refrigerated in airtight jar or container, 3 weeks. (Longer storage dulls the fresh citrus flavor.)

To Use Juice Oranges in Place of Seville:
grease a 4 cup heat-proof glass measure and add 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice. Microwave on high power, watching carefully toward the end, until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Use only 1/2 cup/3.5 ounces/100 grams of sugar.


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and here they are! oranges from the first Hawaiian tree and others. ours are close to 50% sweeter than the ones from California..... so inspiring i am considering adding a signature Grand Marnier Wedding Cake to my catalog!



oranges are not in season in July, but Ken is going to visit the several farms to find the 2 cups or so of fresh orange juice needed for my next wedding cake i am testing from Rose's upcoming book! here is a beautiful poster of citrus fruit, what do you think can be used instead of "plain" orange juice for the Grand Marnier Chocolate Chip cake?


in my search for fresh orange juice, i've just contacted Ken Love, executive director for the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers. what a nice guy, he has dedicated 25 plus years supporting local farmers and has a very informative website www.hawaiifruit.net


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both great responses. wasn't able to get to a computer sooner. i'm wondering if you used the concentrated orange technique by the way. that really helps to thicken regular juice oranges.



You can also follow the directions for the lemon curd tart and put everything in the oven for a bit for the curd to reset. I also wonder if you cooked it to a high enough temp when you first made it? Personally, I also prefer the cream filing hector suggests.


ann, yes, it is normally too runny for a tart filling. I would turn it into a curd cream filling. Use The Pie and Pastry Bible recipe, excellent one from the Mango Passion Tart. This filling is made with gelatin and whipped cream. I love it, is much more mild and tender and sliceable than using pure curd.

save a little curd and you can use as glaze after the curd cream filling has set in the refrigerator. THAT would be as orange as it gets!


I made orange curd two days ago and it has not thickened enough to fill the tart shell for which I made it (which is why I am on your website reading up on remedies). Is there a way to thicken it using either corn starch or gelatin?


I want to report, that I've just made passion curd with the new technique posted by Rose. Incorporate the butter onto the yolk/sugar mix prior to adding the juice.

The residue was zero, and the curd was thicker than usual, as the residue solids are now part of the curd!

That bad part is that I have less to lick clean!


I think the flavor of the Bergamot and Seville juice is very similar--sour. But the biggest flavor difference is in the peel...the essential oils are very strong, distinctive and aromatic, it is what is used to flavor Earl Grey tea. So if you use Bergamot zest in your curd, there is a big flavor difference. You should definitely try it. I first tasted Bergamot in an Italian dark chocolate bar, and I've been wanting to use it in my cooking ever since, but couldn't find a source for the food-grade oil. Now that I've candied the peel, I think it will be really tasty dipped in chocolate. If you try the Bergamot curd, Rose, let us know what you think! I'm sure you could improve my recipe...


thanks amanda. i've never tried bergamot oranges. do they offer a very different flavor from the seville?


Thought you might want to know I have been experimenting to get a good Bergamot orange curd, with the case that I bought along with my Sevilles. My third batch turned out well: I substituted Bergamot juice for the Seville juice, and used 8 grams of chopped blanched Bergamot peel instead of navel orange zest. This gave it a good Bergamot flavor without being too strong. Yum! One batch I made with a small amount of unblanched Bergamot zest and it was quite overpowering...though tolerable when a thick layer of ganache was added to the dessert! Thanks for alerting me to the existence of the Seville oranges which then led me to the Bergamots!


i'm so thrilled you tried it and that whole foods is getting the oranges--they told me they weren't! when i made it the first time i got about 1/3 cup residue which is how i came up with this great new method!
i've been stirring a tablespoon of the curd into 0% fat total yogurt--my idea of a delicious diet lunch!


I just made the Seville orange curd using the new technique, and I am also happy to report zero residue. I found the oranges at whole foods, and this was my first time working with them. I took a little taste of the juice, and sourball is an understatement! It made my whole mouth pucker up--wow, it really packs a punch. The curd was delicious and the flavor was just as strong as in lemon curd.


I freeze passion fruit curds, the texture remains unchanged, but the flavor dulls.

To solve this, I make the curd with less fruit juice and store frozen. The saved juice is kept frozen, alone. When ready to use, thaw both, and incorporate. This discovery came by accident, Rose's passion fruit curd recipe calls to save some juice uncooked, I was short on juice and weeks after I found more!

I think for curds with zest, like lemon an orange, I would freeze the zest alone and add when ready. Saving a bit of the juice should work, too.

The yolk cells must absorb and trap the fruit flavors, thus dulling taste when stored! Yolks are animal cells, which don't burst when frozen or heated at lower-pre-curd temperature, so when you eat these, the flavor is trapped inside like swallowing a capsule pill.


Wow Rose! Curd with zero residue and it can be frozen, that is definitely "curd news"....


i asked woody to test freezing lemon curd and here are the results: the texture remains unchanged but the flavor becomes more mellow and less zingy. he suggested adding more zest to taste.


i'm so pleased you tried my new technique for the curd because i'm really excited about it! i'm changing it through my manuscript wherever i use curd!
do note that the recipe for lemon curd in the cake bible is low in sugar because the curd is used to add to sweet buttercreams! if i'm making it to use on it's own i add 25 grams (almost 1 ounce) more sugar (that's 2 tablespoons).


Barbara, read this link on the forum, I posted the same question there and got some very good tips and advice. I hope it helps you.



Hector, I finally made the key lime curd and it turned out really well. I used Rose's lemon curd recipe but I didn't decrease the sugar as she suggests in her lime curd version. I don't like curds that are too tart. By the way I followed Rose's instructions re mixing the butter into the eggs and sugar before adding the juice and I got absolutely no residue. Try it the next time you make curd. It was amazing. I couldn't believe I didn't get any residue.

Thank you Rose for another great tip.

"just made another batch and made a noteworthy discovery: if you beat the butter into the eggs and sugar before adding the juice it protects the yolks from curdling at all so you get 0 residue! " This is what she posted above.

I am tempted to freeze a small portion of it to see if it keeps well.


I've been freezing kumquat oranges skins food processed with the juice! as lemon zest alone, none.


Hector, you mentioned above freezing lemon zest. How do you freeze the zest without having dried, tasteless sawdust? I need to know before I harvest all my lemons! Please! and thanks


Thanks Hector. I'll experiment tomorrow.


Rozanne, I haven't, but I have made curds from other citrus. I would add more sugar after the curd is done, if necessary, to taste. Personally, I keep Rose's lemon curd recipe standard, never changing the amount of sugar, and if a citrus is less sweet, then that is the beauty of the nature flavor! I like sour citrus over sweet ones.


Has anyone made curd with key limes? Can I use Rose's lime curd variation in the Cake Bible using key limes? I'm not sure if the sugar needs to be adjusted accordingly b/c of the level of tartness. Are key limes less or more tart than regular limes?


I haven't tried freezing candied peel myself. I can tell you that the drained, mostly-dry candied peel will keep for years in a closed container in the refrigerator, as will the peels that are still stored in syrup. (The sugar in the syrup may crystallize, though.)


seems to me if they're stored in the syrup you could just refrigerate them. the best thing is to try a few different ways to see what is the best for future.


I bought a case of seville oranges to make curd with, and ended up buying a case of bergamot oranges as well. I'm candying the peel, and was wondering how the candied peel might hold up stored in sugar syrup in the freezer? I'm planning on using the peel primarily to put in chocolate truffles, dipped in chocolate, etc. Seems like if I dried them out before freezing them, they might be more susceptible to freezer burn, so why not store them directly in the syrup? Any thoughts?


just made another batch and made a noteworthy discovery: if you beat the butter into the eggs and sugar before adding the juice it protects the yolks from curdling at all so you get 0 residue! i'm so thrilled i had to report this right away to you curd lovers!
also, if you want to store it for several months, pour the hot curd into sterilized canning jars, top with sterilized lids, screw on the caps and turn them upside down for 5 minutes so the air at the top can go through the hot curd. then invert them and they will seal. i still store them in the frig to keep the flavor as bright as possible for as long as possible but a cool cellar or wine cellar would also be good.


thank you for posting i'm going to try that marmalade.


Rose, I love your blog and your curd recipe! I will have to try this one. I'd like to mention that, like Hector, I've successfully frozen passion fruit curd.


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Bravo! Looks delicious...and very clever!


Thank you Barbara. Every where I read re: freezing lemon curd says no, but I feel like you "I want to freeze." Egg curds don't like to freeze.

I have a fertile kumquat lemon tree, and lemon is the favorite flavor for cakes and frostings.

Experiment. I plan to freeze. I will keep some extra juice frozen and mix it up when the curd is thawed. I think, if you manage to run fine thru the food processor 'frozen/thawed' lemon curd, things can't be worse than living without lemon curd at all!

Freezing your own lemon juice is far greater than any store bought thing. You can also freeze lemon zest. So we have options.


Hector, that's a great use for a baking failure. You're very resourceful. It looks wonderful -- no wonder everyone finished it off!

Just made some Meyer lemon curd and I was wondering if it can be frozen -- any reports on this, anyone?

I would dearly love to have Meyer lemon curd even when Meyer lemons are out of season. If people report the curd doesn't freeze well, maybe I could mix up the juice and zest together, and freeze that?


I LOVE your curd recipe, lemon and passion, and can't wait to try it with orange. Lots of local curds are sold here, with tropicals like local lemons, mango, passion, and poha berries. These are excellent when fresh, but 'after a couple weeks stored' these become dull. I just don't know why citrus curd are stocked at grocery store shelves.

I've successfully froze passion curd, the texture was still perfectly creamy. The increased acidity of passion fruit must prevent the egg to separate. To bring dull passion curd to live, add a few drops of fresh or frozen passion or lemon juice.

Made this 'cake truffle for passion' from a failed attempt to make a 'biscuit roulade roll' with White Genoise, the cake deflated when hot rolled. Ran it fine thru the food processor and fold it with 1/3 passion curd with 2/3 Super Stabilized Whipped Cream. Molded and topped with some chocolate cake truffle beads. Took this to my friend's barbeque last night, and it was eaten finish. Best served frozen, the texture was like of ice cream cake.



I've been dying to make an orange curd to add to mousseline buttercream...Next cake: Chocolate Genoise with orange curd mousseline buttercream!


Rose, I was just thinking about making marmelade and here's your post! Thank you!
I have never tried the Seville oranges for curd or marmelade, as they're not available locally. Now I know where to get them. I can tell you that Minneola tangelos and the Texas Ruby Red pink grapefruit make excellent marmelades!



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