Rhubarb curd is a spring favourite! Creamy, tart, and sweet, use it on toast, on ice cream, stir it into yogurt, spread it between cake layers, and so much more.
This post was first published May 5, 2014 and was last updated July 2, 2020.
Everything is turning green, the tree buds are popping, and I can FINALLY make rhubarb curd again! Rhubarb curd is one of my favourite things to eat and I look forward to it all year long.
I feel like rhubarb is an antithesis to our world of instant access. We can order anything we want, any time of year, and have it delivered to our homes within days. But not rhubarb. For rhubarb we must patiently wait.
You can’t buy fresh rhubarb in the summer, fall, or winter. I mean, sure, you can freeze chopped rhubarb in the spring. You can make rhubarb pavlova, rhubarb simple syrup, or maple rhubarb cardamom jam year round if you want. I’d still argue nothing beats fresh cut stalks in shades of bright crimson and green.
What Is Curd?
Curd is a silky smooth dessert spread made with fruit (or fruit juice), eggs, sugar, and butter. Lemon curd is incredibly popular, however you can make curd with many different fruits!
Egg yolks and sugar are tempered with hot, cooked fruit, then simmered on the stove (with butter) to thicken. The result is a creamy preserve, perfect for ice cream, scones, toast, and many other things.
What Does Tempering Mean?
If you were to add hot cooked rhubarb to whisked eggs yolks, chances are good you’d get hot cooked rhubarb with scrambled egg bits. Tempering means we quickly add very small amounts of something hot to something cool in order to raise its temperature.
When making rhubarb curd, about 1/2-cup of hot cooked rhubarb is dribbled gradually, in very small amounts, into the egg yolks and quickly whisked together. When all of the hot rhubarb is whisked into the yolks they are tempered. Tempering the yolks means less of a temperature difference between the remaining pot of rhubarb and the yolks, which reduces the risk of “scrambling”.
- fresh rhubarb
- egg yolks
What To Do If You Don’t Have Rhubarb
Rhubarb grows abundantly here on the East Coast of Canada, however, I know many places don’t have access to it.
A perennial vegetable, rhubarb grows in the spring (at least it does here in Nova Scotia). We only eat the stalks; Eating rhubarb leaves can make you sick. Rhubarb is very, very tart! Most rhubarb recipes include loads of sugar to offset the sourness.
If you don’t have rhubarb where you live, try this recipe with an equal weight of blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries.
Why You Should Use A Scale
I’m a recent scale convert! I’ve owned one for years, however, only recently did I begin using it faithfully. Using a scale has been a game changer for me. My recipes are more accurate and yield more consistent results.
If you have a scale try using it for this recipe! The chances of recipes working perfectly the first time increase when you do. If you don’t have a scale, don’t sweat it – I went for years without using mine – but I seriously get more dependable results when I do.
The Easiest Way To Separate Egg Yolks
This recipe calls for four egg yolks. My favourite way to separate eggs is to crack all four into a bowl at once and then:
- Scoop one of the egg yolks from the bowl with a cupped hand.
- Gently transfer the egg yolk from hand to hand, allowing the egg white to drip down through your fingers, back into the bowl.
- Keep repeating the transfer of the yolk from hand to hand until as much of the egg white as possible has dripped off of the yolk.
- Place the yolk in a separate bowl and repeat with the other three eggs.
You can use leftover egg whites to make French macarons, pavlova, or French meringues. They also freeze beautifully. Keep them in a container with a tight fitting lid in the freezer for up to three months.
Why Do You Use Egg Yolks And Not The Whole Egg?
I use whole eggs in this recipe for Microwave Lemon Curd because it’s fast and easy, however, whole eggs yield a more dense curd. Using only egg yolks makes for a lighter, fluffier curd. I like both versions!
Using A Thermometer
Many recipes tell you to cook fruit curd until it “coats the back of a spoon” but how long is that exactly? After adding the butter, I’ve had the best results cooking rhubarb curd until it reaches a temperature between 170ºF and 180ºF (76ºC and 82ºC). Once you reach this temperature range remove the rhubarb curd from the heat.
Notes & Tips
- To Get The Brightest Colour – For the brightest colour include as many dark pink pieces of rhubarb as possible. If you have mostly green pieces you can add a small piece of peeled beet to the rhubarb, cook it all together, and remove the beet before mashing. You can also stir in a drop or two of red food colouring after you remove the pot from the heat. Rhubarb curd made with mostly green pieces can look almost grey. The rhubarb curd in this post was made without beet or food colouring, using mostly dark reddish-pink end pieces.
- Reduce The Sugar – This recipe makes a curd that is balanced between sweet and tart. If you want to reduce the amount of sugar, please note your curd may cook faster than the recipe indicates, and it may not have the same texture as using the full amount.
- How To Store – This recipe makes about 3 cups of curd. I store mine in jars with lids in the fridge. A batch lasts us roughly a week. I don’t bother with canning. If you prefer, you could double or triple the recipe and put up jars for pantry storage.
- How Long Does Rhubarb Curd Keep – The curd will last, kept in jars with tight fitting lids, in the fridge for up to one week. Ours is always gone before that.
- Eat it straight up with a spoon.
- Dollop it onto Strawberry Baked Oatmeal.
- Use it as a topping for cheesecake.
- Spread it on Blueberry White Chocolate Scones.
- Spoon it over pancakes, waffles, or crepes for breakfast.
- Make homemade donuts and pipe rhubarb curd into the middle.
- Stir it into plain or vanilla Greek yogurt.
- Layer it with sponge cake, fresh fruit, and whipped cream to make a trifle.
- Add a couple of spoonfuls to the top of a dish of ice cream.
More Rhubarb Recipes
Strawberry Rhubarb Bread Pudding Easy to make and doesn’t contain any eggs or milk.
Rhubarb Fool With Cardamom Cream Layers of poached rhubarb and cream make for a show stopping dessert!
Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake With Maple Cinnamon Whipped Cream A perfect afternoon snack or breakfast, with or without cream.
- 3 cups (450g) rhubarb cut into 1/2-inch (15mm) pieces
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (113g) butter, cut into small pieces
- Combine the chopped rhubarb, water, and 1/2 cup (100g) of sugar in a pot. Cook over medium-low heat until the rhubarb is soft, about 13-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the rhubarb is cooking whisk the egg yolks, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup (100g) of sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- When the rhubarb is soft, remove it from the heat, and mash it with a potato masher. Feel free to leave some larger chunks of rhubarb if you like, or mash it as smooth as you can if you prefer.
- Using a measuring cup, scoop out about 1/2 cup (113g) of hot rhubarb from the pot. Whisking quickly the entire time, slowly dribble a tiny amount of hot rhubarb into the egg yolks. Whisk well. Repeat until all of the 1/2 cup of hot rhubarb has been whisked in. Once finished the egg yolks are "tempered".
- Stir the tempered egg yolk mixture into the pot of cooked rhubarb. Add the butter to the pot and stir. Return the pot to the stove and cook the curd over medium-low heat until thick and creamy, and it reaches a temperature between 170ºF and 180ºF (76ºC and 82ºC), about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Spoon into clean jars. Lay the lids on on top of the jars, leaving a small space for stem to escape. Cool the jars of curd on the counter for about 2 to 3 hours. Tighten the lids and store in the fridge for up to one week.
- To Get The Brightest Colour - For the brightest colour include as many dark pink pieces of rhubarb as possible. If you have mostly green pieces you could stir in a drop or two of red food colouring after you remove the pot from the heat. Rhubarb curd made with mostly green pieces can look almost grey. The rhubarb curd in the images in this post was made without food colouring.
- Reduce The Sugar - This recipe makes a curd that is a balance of sweet and tart. If you want to reduce the amount of sugar, please note that your curd may cook faster than the recipe indicates, and may not have the same texture as using the full amount.
- How To Store - This recipe makes about 3 cups of curd. I store mine in jars with lids in the fridge. A batch lasts us roughly a week. I don't bother with canning. If you prefer, you could double or triple the recipe and put up jars for pantry storage.
- How Long Does Rhubarb Curd Keep - The curd will last, kept in jars with tight fitting lids, in the fridge for up to one week. Ours is always gone before that.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 48Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 24mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g
DISCLAIMER - NUTRITIONAL DATA IS PROVIDED BY A CALCULATOR AND IS A ROUGH ESTIMATION OF THE NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION IN THIS RECIPE.
Did you make this recipe? If yes, please let me know how it worked out for you! Leave a comment below, or share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #kellyneil.