I didn’t even know this was a thing.
I was shopping online for The Kid’s birthday present, and I got distracted looking for this awesome pear/vanilla jam I bought from Whole Foods. It was an intensely flavored spread that made me feel like my morning toast was actually a piece of birthday cake in disguise.
Unfortunately, they no longer carry it, and I never took note of the brand, which means I can’t look for it by name. So, every once in a while I’ll fall down the Google rabbit hole for a few hours searching for something which may not even exist anymore.
During the hunt, I discovered that Dickinson’s, a Smucker’s-owned company that makes lemon and lime curds, also makes vanilla curd.
Vanilla Curd?!? Stop and let that sink in a moment. Vanilla.Curd.
And thus I discovered vanilla curd was a thing. I decided to purchase some.
But here there be roadblocks. #1-It’s not sold in any stores within a 50-mile radius. #2-I can order it, but only by the case. #3-The cases start at $30.00. #4-Shipping for something I don’t even know if I’ll enjoy is an average of $12.87.
Look, I just bought a pair of sandals that I had to return because they gave me blisters, I can’t have two massive shopping fails in one week, my pride just won’t stand for it. I took the shoes back to Marshalls, but I can’t return internet curd just because I don’t like it.
But then my search-engine-softened brain had a thought: Gee whiz, I can cook. Maybe there’s some type of home machine that fits onto my lap and can connect to the whole wide world to find a recipe?
By gum, there is, and I found one (and then tweaked it some).
Debbie’s vanilla curd
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 vanilla beans, halved, split and scraped
1 cup water
Large pinch of salt
2 egg yolks, beaten
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a medium pan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla beans and caviar. Add water and cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until thickened.
In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Whisking constantly, very slowly pour about a cup of the hot sugar mixture into egg yolks; add egg yolk mixture back to hot sugar mixture, whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, or until thickened.
Remove from heat. Discard vanilla beans; whisk butter into hot curd. Stir in vanilla extract. Let cool; spoon curd into airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
This stuff tastes like vanilla did when you were a kid, and your taste buds were new. Think drinking milkshakes in the back seat or Hunt’s Snack Pack with the metal pull-off lid that all the grown-ups said would cut your tongue when you licked it (but it never did). It tastes like what vanilla smells like. It tastes like warm happiness.
The texture is like lemon curd or creamed honey. It’s slow moving and very spreadable.
What to put it on?
Well, my spoon worked awesomely. But seriously, I’d put in on cakes, or cookies. You could drizzle it on ice cream or fruit, or stir it into some hot milk, with a dusting of nutmeg.
As for me, I had a schmear on my English muffin.
And totally felt like I was back in the lunchroom at Central Elementary.
Thanks for your time.