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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Passionfruit Curd

    How can I make passionfruit curd thicker, like the consistency of a store bought curd? I make Nigella's Passionfruit version of the Lemon Meringue Cake from Feast. I find that the curd is always very runny. So when I pile up the meringue cake, the top cake tends to slide and the passion fruit curd would just run onto the plate and it's not very pretty though it is extremely yummy. How can I improve on this?

    From the nigella team:

    Nigella's Passion Fruit Curd appears in Feast and also in How To Be A Domestic Goddess. It is possible that the curd is not being cooked for quite long enough for it to thicken fully. The curd is thickned using egg yolks and while you normally have to be quite careful with cooking egg-thickened sauces, fortunately curds are an exception. The acid in the fruit juice acts on the proteins in the egg yolk and means that the yolk can be cooked to a much higher temperature than normal. Even if the curd starts to bubble slightly it should not turn lumpy, providing that you are whisking or stirring constantly, though we would remove the pan from the heat at this point to prevent the mixture from scorching. So once the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon it is worth cooking the curd for a couple of minutes longer as this should thicken the mixture more.

    You could also add an extra egg yolk as this will give a thicker mixture, though again if the curd isn't quite cooked for long enough then the extra yolk will not have so much effect. 

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