Lime and mango curd is a sweet and tangy, yet buttery curd that has so many uses! My favorite way of using it is in French macarons with a Swiss meringue buttercream encapsulating the delicious mango curd - I like to call them little sunshine mango macarons.
You know I love a good classic lemon curd, and I put it in pretty much everything (see curd uses below). However, sometimes we want to spice it up a little, either with seasonal produce or just a different flavor profile.
Curd vs custard
So you may wonder if curd and custard are the same thing. The answer is no.
- A custard is a sauce made from milk, eggs and sugar and is thickened when heated. And yes, vanilla custard sauce, or crème anglaise, is the best and I pour it over all my delicious summer berries. It can also be mixed with whipped cream and served in desserts like these turtle cakes or in crescent rolls.
- Then we have curd. I believe that the curd in "lemon curd", or "mango curd" in this case, stems from the coagulation of the liquid. Curd can also be coagulated milk that sours (used in cottage cheese), however, that is not exactly the case here. Fruit curd is made with fruit juice, egg yolks, sugar and butter and becomes this velvety and smooth, spreadable dessert treat.
Let's dive right into the ingredients for the mango lime curd:
- Mango puree: 1 large mango pureed in a food processor or blender - that sweet and tropical flavor is amazing in a fruit curd!
- Lime juice: The acidity in the lime reacts with eggs and sugar and causes the mango lime curd to thicken. Oh, and lime + mango is such a good combo!
- Lime zest: Because lime + mango is such a good combo.
- Eggs + extra yolks: Lemon curd often only uses the yolks, but because this is a mango curd and not as acidic as a straight up lemon curd, so some extra whole eggs will help it to thicken more.
- Sugar: Thickening agent and helps to sweeten the curd.
- Butter: You need to add butter to make a real fruit curd. That buttery deliciousness is what makes it so smooth and velvety.
What thickens a fruit curd
A couple of things.
I mentioned a few of these things in the ingredients list above. The eggs provide the richness and thick texture of the mango curd. If you add more eggs or egg yolks, it will become thicker.
You need to heat it to a simmer (it should reach 170℉ (76℃)), and it is thick enough when you dip a spoon into the curd, run a finger on the back of it, and if the line doesn't run over, then it is ready to be cooled. Just like for fig jam!
But remember that low and slow do the trick when it comes to eggs, you don't want to burn the curd.
Interestingly enough, the acid in the lime (or lemon) juice reacts with the eggs and sugar and somehow this thickens the curd as well. But because I wanted a combination of mango and lime in this case, I needed more eggs to get it thick enough.
Mango curd will thicken considerably once it has cooled. When I made these sunshine mango macarons, I couldn't wait long enough and they became slightly runny in the middle, however, they were amazing the next day.
So yes, I would definitely wait a full 24 hours before judging the thickness of it (if you want to thicken it at that stage, read under 'Other tips').
Store in a clean, preferably sterilized, glass or container with a tight lid, in the refrigerator. It can last up to 4 weeks if the glass was cleaned properly. It can also be frozen to avoid this issue! Just leave an inch (2.5 cm) gap to the lid so that the liquid can expand when it freezes.
- Stir all the time when making the curd or else it can become lumpy. And yes, it can take a while to get it up to the right temperature (especially if you use a double boiler), but it's necessary. A common mistake when making curds!
- I tried passion fruit curd in an aluminum pan once and it was absolutely horrific. This is because aluminum is a reactive metal so when combined with the acid from the lime juice, it can make your juice (or curd) taste metallic. Other reactive metals include copper and iron.
To avoid this issue, it is important to use a non-reactive saucepan, e.g., stainless steel, glass, ceramic or enamelled cookware. This mango curd had zero metallic flavor because I used a stainless steel pan, but if you're not completely sure what your cookware is made from - use a double boiler and a silicone whisk.
- How to fix runny mango curd after it has cooled: If you need to thicken the fruit curd once it has cooled, you can re-heat it.
Add 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2-3 tablespoon water while constantly whisking and re-heating to 170℉ (76℃) or until it starts to simmer. Cool again. Or, you can add another egg yolk using the same method.
A third method is increasing the lime juice, but that would alter the taste of the curd to more lime curd with a mango after thought - still good I reckon, but I have not tried it!
Fruit curds are super versatile and can be used in pretty much any type of dessert. If you want just a clean lime curd, you can also use the lemon curd recipe for that and replace the lemon with lime juice - easy peasy.
I have a lot of recipes using lemon curd, and all of them could use this lime and mango curd instead:
- Lemon blackberry pavlova nests
- Lemon blueberry cake with lemon curd filling - use lime in the cake itself instead as well
- Fresh strawberry cake - same here
- Red currant and curd brûlee tart
- Lemon meringue cupcakes
And then there are other recipes that could benefit from some extra mango curd, like these French crêpes, or blind bake a pie crust and fill it with mango lime curd and top with some fresh fruit like cherries or blueberries. You could also smother it on some strawberry scones for an extra indulgent treat.
However, chances are you also came here for some lovely sunshine macarons! Macarons are the perfect vessel to fill with whatever you please, like peppermint mocha or salted caramel - or mango curd and Swiss meringue buttercream.
Sunshine mango macarons
The mango curd has to be made a day or more in advance, so skip to that section first if needed.
These sunshine mango macarons use a basic macaron recipe. All my macaron recipes are the same and so I just link to my salted caramel macarons here. What you do differently, is food coloring. I used mostly yellow gel food coloring, but with a touch of orange gel food coloring mixed into it.
Make sure you use gel food coloring, so as not to alter the ratios in the macaron recipe. Have the color slightly more vibrant than you would like, because it tends to weaken in the oven.
Prepare Swiss meringue buttercream and cooled mango curd (keep reading for recipes for those) (1). Find macarons that are similar in size, and place one with the side up and the other with the side down (2). On the one with the bottom showing up, pipe a circle along the edge with Swiss meringue buttercream (3) and fill the insides with ½ - 1 teaspoon mango lime curd (4-5). Top with the other cookie (6), now let them rest in the refrigerator overnight and then they are ready to be enjoyed!
Swiss meringue buttercream
While the macarons are resting (before baking), make the Swiss meringue buttercream. Any Swiss meringue buttercream recipe will do, but here is what I do:
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large glass bowl), whisk egg whites and sugar together. Set the bowl over a small saucepan with an inch of simmering water (aka bain-marie or double boiler).
Whisk constantly until there are no more sugar granules and it has thinned out (about 4 minutes). While the mixture is still warm, transfer the bowl to the stand mixer with the whisk attached, and whisk on medium-high heat until stiff and glossy peaks. The meringue is now no longer warm to the touch (roughly 15 minutes).
Once the meringue is cool, switch to the paddle attachment. Still on medium-high speed, add the softened butter 1 tablespoon at the time. Mix well between each addition. Add in vanilla and salt at the end and mix on medium speed for another 30 seconds.
This is the gist of it, read more on Sally's Baking Addiction.
How to make it
Okay, let's go back to the lime and mango curd. In a double boiler or non-reactive saucepan (note the metallic flavor in section 'Other tips'), add all the ingredients apart from the butter (1). Whisk on medium low heat, until the sugar has dissolved (2).
Now add the cold butter, 1 tablespoon at the time and whisk in-between each addition (3). Switch to low heat and stir constantly for a few minutes, until thickened. It has thickened sufficiently when you dip a spoon into the mixture and when you draw your finger at the back of the spoon, and the line remains visible (4).
It is now ready to chill overnight in the refrigerator. Pour it into a clean, preferably sterilized, heat proof container (5-6). Cover tightly and store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks. It will thicken considerably in the fridge. Enjoy!
Did you like this recipe? Here are more treats I think you would like:
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