Friday, 3 February 2012

Seville Orange Curd and Sugar Top Buns

Seville oranges have such a short season. I'd bought a couple of kilos with the intention of making marmalade. 10 days later, they were still sitting there SCREAMING at me to be used. I've been so busy that I literally didn't have time to spare faffing about with marmalade, so I decided to turn it into an orange curd instead. I hoped that the tartness would be really apparent as it is with lemon curd. I adore that real mouth puckering citrus tang.

At first taste, it was nice - but initially I was disappointed. It was sweet and silky smooth. No tang. Pants. 

Then, just when you think it's all over, BAM - that strong orange taste and citrus tang kicks in several seconds afterwards... Awesome stuff. I had to make a second batch - too many things I wanted to do with it. Victoria got a jar and I sent two jars to my parents. I used a jar making some macarons (which I'll show you very shortly). My colleagues and I devoured another jar .... believe me - it doesn't last long / go far ..... with a batch of sugar top buns.

SEVILLE ORANGE CURD RECIPE (makes 3 smallish jars or two big ones)

200g sugar
3 eggs + 2 yolks
100g melted butter
250ml juice from seville oranges
zest 1.1/2 seville oranges

First of all, melt the butter and them add the seville juice and lemon zest.

Whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar in a pan, then whisk in the butter and lemon mix.

Stir continuously over a low heat until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Put into sterilised jars and seal. 

This lemon curd recipe does not need a double boiler. Keep a sink full of cold water nearby. If it looks like it might split, plunge the pan bottom into the water and then whisk like fury. I've never had it split yet...(though I've water dunked it once or twice before).

Sugar top buns are one of my childhood memories. I believe these are really only common in Central Scotland, mainly in the Glasgow area. They were also known as Paris Buns - but sugar tops is the name I remember them as. 

I remember my dad bringing them back from Lightbody The Bakers in Hamilton. Back in those days, they had three retail bakeries in Hamilton that I remember and I think two tearooms. They made the most fantastic potato scones, Scottish Plain Bread and when mum went, she always came back with a jar of their lemon curd.

Sadly, they sold out and became a large commercial bakery / factory - now producing and selling celebration cakes to supermarkets. All the little shops and tearooms have gone.

From my memories, sugar tops are much like a domed scone, pale in colour and encrusted in crunchy sugar nibs (also known as sugar pearls in the baking trade)

I've used my favourite scone recipe.

Sugar Tops / Paris Buns - makes 6

350g self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
4 tablespoons white sugar
175g milk
squeeze of lemon juice
100g butter
egg white (to glaze)

sugar nibs / pearls (or crushed sugar cubes) to coat

Preheat fan oven to 200deg C

Scones are so quick and easy to make that once you make them once yourself, you'll never go back to shop bought. I'm serious.

1. Grate your butter. Yes - sounds crazy. I think that was a tip I picked up off a Jamie Oliover program many years ago. It may seem mad - but it works like a dream. You want to work the dough as little as you possibly can. Grating the butter means it incorporates into the dough FAR faster.

2. Warm your milk. Just as you are ready to use it, give it a zap in the microwave. You want it nice and hot - but not too hot to touch.

3. Sour the milk with a squeeze of lemon juice (or use buttermilk). I normally use a little lemon juice. If you don't have any, vinegar would do. It doesn't need much !

4. Handle the scone dough as little as possible and get it in the oven as fast as you can. The addition of the warm / hot milk helps them rise from the inside.

In a large bowl, mix sieved flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Rub in the grated butter until crumbs form. 

Warm the milk and add it to the dry ingredients. Combine with a fork. Bring together with your hands. It will be very soft and a little sticky.

Tip out on to a work surface and pat it into a rough rectangle about 9" x 6" I guess. Try not to add any extra flour and handle the dough as little as you possibly can. Mine is normally about 2" thick (yes - before they go in the oven !)

I never ever roll my scone dough....and I never use cutters on it either. If you want to cut it into rounds, push the cutter the whole way down in one go. Don't twist / rotate the cutter as you do this - otherwise the scones don't rise nearly so well.

I simply cut into rectangles with a sharp knife. One single cut down and lift the knife out exactly the way it went in. I basically cut my rectangle into 3 and then each big piece into two.
Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment - or use a silicone baking tray liner as shown above. Great things these are - save me a small fortune in baking parchment.

Squeeze each piece into a rough ball. Coat in egg white and then roll in the sugar nibs or crushed sugar cubes would do until coated all over. Place on baking tray and flatten slightly.

Bake for 10 > 12 mins at 200deg C (fan) until just starting to colour

Eat slightly warm, or cold. Delicious slathered with butter and raspberry jam or lemon curd.

A few snaps from a cold winter visit to Southwold 2 weeks ago.

of course, whatever the weather - digging in the sand was a must !

We went for some lunch and a warm up afterwards. I could have cried at how grown up Oliver was. He very politely ordered himself some apple juice and cottage pie. Thank goodness both were on the menu ! Whilst waiting on his tea, we did some basic maths counting fingers to work out the answers to some puzzles.

Sarah-Jane Nash - - Feb 2012


  1. what nice recipe, look amazing!!!

  2. I love home made lemon curd - its so easy. So I really will try this orange version. Unfortunately I fear the staff at our small Co-op will not have even heard if Seville oranges. Could try a tin of MaMade though. Oh, and don't you just love the beach in winter - even if it does freeze your socks off!

  3. This sounds fantastic! And I love the beach pictures :) Precious!

  4. I never try to make a curd with different fruit than lemon. I don't know I nver try with other acid fruit, it's very smart to try with orange, and give me ideas to try with other ones. Thanks for sharing.

  5. The curd and the buns look amazing! So does that adorable little blond head!

  6. Yum! Looks and sounds delicious! Oliver is as cute as ever, can't believe he's growing up so fast.

  7. my favorite store carries orange curd but have never occurred to me to even try it.
    those sugared buns are just perfect for the afternoon tea :)

  8. I'm so happy I've found your silicon mould website and from there your blog. I was only looking for friand moulds and have found so much more.......macaron mats and recipes :o)


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