How to Make Grape Curd
Have you noticed an abundance of curd recipes on the blog lately?
This is the culmination of a big project I started a while back.
I’d had a bit of an epiphany on making fruit curds, and the use of lemon juice.
You see, many non-lemon curds end up runny - they don’t set up properly, as they lack the acid level that lemons have.
You need enough acid to react with the proteins in the egg yolks, to ensure a nice, thick product. Without that, you end up with a runny curd.
Generally speaking, non-lemon curd means either accepting a runnier curd, or supplementing the focus fruit with some lemon juice.
Two problems with that:
1. The intended fruit flavour is diluted with the flavour from the lemon.
2. The acid that the lemon juice brings is diluted with the base fruit ... so it still doesn't set up quite as thick as lemon curd.
What if - instead of supplementing with lemon juice - I brought in additional acid in the form of citric acid?
It worked beautifully!
So, obviously, I had to test the limits, play with it, and turn out a bunch of different fruit curds - 12 in total!
Grape curd is one of the easiest curds to come out of that marathon curd making adventure.
It’s got a nice flavour - not as in-your-face as some of my other curds, but a really nice curd.
It’s also even easier to make than lemon curd is, as you don’t need to juice or zest anything!
Like lemon curd, it also requires some specifics with regards to ingredients, equipment, and technique... so let's get to it!
Uses for Grape Curd
Beyond a “just eat it with a spoon, straight from the jar”, there are many, many different uses for grape curd!
Here are a few ideas for you:
- On the breakfast table. Spread it on toast, Biscuits, scones, etc. Spoon it over waffles or pancakes (especially good when topped with berries!)
- Grape curd is also a great option for Butterfly Cupcakes, either instead of or in addition to frosting. When “in addition to”, I’ll spoon some curd in the cavity, then pipe frosting over it.
- Use as a topping for Pavlova. I like to do the layer of whipped cream, then the curd, and finally the fruit topping. You can even mix some into the whipped cream to flavour it. Alternately, it’s great as an offering on a Pavlova Dessert Board.
- Spoon it over ice cream, Cheesecake, or crepes.
- We like to drizzle it over yogurt that’s been topped with my Porter’s Yogurt and Ice Cream Topping.
- You can also make layered parfaits with curd and yogurt, or curd and cottage cheese.
* When filling layered cakes with curd, it’s best to pipe a ring of frosting around the outer perimeter of the layer being filled, then fill the inside of that border with the curd.
This gives some stability to the filling layer, and will prevent the curd from oozing out.
Tips for Making Grape Curd
Grape Curd Ingredients
Most of the ingredients are super simple: Grape juice*, sugar, eggs, and butter.
We are super spoiled, living in Ontario’s fruit belt... so we like to make this with freshly pressed local grape juice, when possible.
That said, the off-the-shelf grape juice works almost as well!
Use basic white granulated sugar for the best taste.
Also, for the best shelf life, use nice fresh eggs.
One last ingredient, the one that’s key to making a great grape curd?
Citric acid is the “secret” ingredient to providing enough acid for the curd to set up, without diluting the flavour of the curd.
Finally - as an optional ingredient - I like to use a little food colouring.
This curd ends up turning out pale, and kind of pink.
I like my grape foods to be purple, so this definitely benefits from a little colour correction!
* Some day, I’m going to play around with this recipe, and use frozen grape concentrate, aiming for a bolder grape flavour.
It’s going to mean messing with the sugar levels, and I just wasn’t in the mood for that, during my Big Curd Odyssey. LOL.
Grape Curd Equipment
You don’t need a ton of equipment to make curd, but each piece you do need is important. Here’s the rundown:
Heavy Bottomed Pot OR Double Boiler
Personally, I prefer using a heavy bottomed pot, but a double boiler is the traditional way to do this... more on that in a bit!
A Silicone Whisk
Yes, wire whisks are great in general... but they can react with the acid in your grape curd, and make it taste metallic.
I like to avoid that whole thing, and just use a silicone whisk.
When making curd, I use the smallest whisk in my Set of 3 Silicone Whisks.
I just find that the smaller one is best to keep everything moving, and prevent clumps.
That said, any brand of silicone whisk should do just fine.
For both proper thickening AND food safety reasons, I like to use a thermometer when making fruit curds.
You can use any thermometer that will accurate read a temperature of 165 F.
Personally, I like to use a Infrared Cooking Thermometer. It's quick, easy, and no-mess!
While you’re “supposed” to cook this over a double boiler - and I did in the photos - I’ll be honest... I never do.
I like to cook grape curd over low, direct heat. I whisk it constantly, and it’s ready in just minutes - so much less fussy.
If you’re not cooking it over higher heat and you keep an eye on it / keep whisking, you’re not going to end up with clumps.
I like to use a heavy bottomed pot, for the best heat distribution.
You’ll find that when you start out, there will be a lot of foaming. As you approach the right temperature, that foaming will subside - that’s when you should really start keeping an eye on the temperature, to avoid overcooking it.
Finally, just know that the curd will thicken more as it cools, so don’t be so worried if it’s not as thick as you’d like.
If you followed the recipe, did the spoon trick (more on that later), and your curd reached 165F, it’ll thicken!
How Long Does Grape Curd Last?
Depending on who you ask, homemade grape curd will last up to a month or two in the fridge. (ALWAYS refrigerate your curd!)
Personally, I find it’s best to use it up within 2 weeks, for the best flavour.
Can I Freeze Grape Curd?
Yes! It’ll keep for about 6 months in the freezer, and you can freeze it right in a canning jar.
Freeze your curd as fresh as possible - ie, don’t wait til it’s about to go bad.
When you want to use it, let it defrost in the fridge for a day or two before use.
Once the grape curd is thawed, you’ll want to use it within a week or two.
How to Make Grape Curd
Full recipe follows, but let's start with the pictorial overview!
In a small pot, whisk together egg yolks, large egg, and sugar until well combined.
Add the grape juice and the citric acid, whisk until well combined.
Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens.
It should be able to coat the back of a spoon and retain a clear trail when a finger is dragged across the back of the spoon.
Ideally, you want the mixture to reach 165F - I use an infrared surface thermometer for this.
Once the mixture is thick/hot enough, transfer to a bowl. Add the pieces of butter, whisking until well incorporated.
Once all of the butter has melted in and been fully incorporated into the curd, add some food colouring, if you like. We do, because pink grape curd doesn't seem right!
Transfer grape curd to your storage container and chill for at least 1 hour before use.
More Fruit Curd Recipes
Looking for more fun fruit curd recipes to dress up your breakfasts, brunches, or desserts? I've got you covered!
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Easy Grape Curd
- ⅓ cup Granulated Sugar
- 3 Large Egg Yolks
- 1 Large Egg
- ½ cup Concord grape juice
- 1 ¼ teaspoon Citric Acid
- 6 tablespoon Salted Butter Chilled and cut into pieces.
- In a small pot, whisk together egg yolks, large egg, and sugar until well combined. Add the grape juice and the citric acid, whisk until well combined.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens. It should be able to coat the back of a spoon and retain a clear trail when a finger is dragged across the back of the spoon. Ideally, you want the mixture to reach 165F - I use an infrared surface thermometer for this.
- Once mixture is thick / hot enough, transfer to a bowl. Add the pieces of butter, whisking until well incorporated.
- Once all of the butter has melted in and been fully incorporated into the curd, transfer grape curd to your storage container and chill for at least 1 hour before use.