22 November 2011

curds and yay!

I love a good lemon curd.  The creamy sweet tartness is an amazing addition to so many cakes and tarts.  Lemon curd is amazing spread on toasty warm biscuits.  And up until now, I've been perfectly happy and content with the way lemon curd, the only curd, has been present in my life.  Little did I know that any other kind of curd could have even existed.  Boy was I wrong!  Apparently there are all kinds of fruit curd including the perfectly Thanksgiving-ish cranberry curd.  I wish I could remember where I came across the idea of cranberry curd, but I can't.  Still, the idea was planted and I had to figure out how to get my hands on some.  Seems that cranberry curd isn't something that can be picked up at just any old store.  In fact, none of the stores I frequent had any.  But thankfully the Brooklyn Kitchen has a great supply of beautiful, fresh cranberries from a farm in Vermont and I figured curd couldn't be too hard to make.  Again, I was wrong.

Though I found a simple enough recipe, the process wasn't that simple.  See, it tells you to use a food mill.  At the time I made this, I did not own a food mill.  I went to the store to check them out and see if I could maybe pick one up for a song.  I could not; they cost about $50!  So the pureeing of all of these cranberries consisted of me mashing them through a mesh cone with the back of a spoon until I thought my arm was going to fall off.  It took about four turns through the mesh to get all the goop out, but it finally happened.  Thanks to Aunt Patty, I will never have to struggle through that again as she gifted her rarely used ricer to me when I went to her house for Turkey Day.  Not that I need to worry about making more cranberry curd anytime soon.  As usual I failed to read the recipe ahead of time and didn't realize that the small batch I thought I was making would actually make five jars of curd; and that the cookies I planned on filling with the curd would take only one of those jars.  Thankfully it's the holiday season and I'm poor and people love homemade gifts!

cranberry curd for days

So if your in the mood for a more seasonal approach to the typical fruit curd, try whipping up a batch of this, adjusting the recipe for your needs of course.  Follow this recipe from Aunt Cookie on and voila!  Holiday happiness.  I kicked it up a bit by adding a few of the ingredients that I typically put in my own cranberry sauce figuring that my cranberry sauce is pretty delish and that in curd for would be amazeballs!  So if you're interested in my version, check this out -

lady j's cranberry curd (adapted from Aunt Cookie)
1 lb fresh cranberries (fat, juicy ones from NJ are best, but the pretty speckled ones from VT worked just fine!)
1 cup plus water
7 tbsp unsalted butter
1 2/3 c sugar
6 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 c fresh squeezed tangerine juice
1. Put the cranberries, water and tangerine juice in a covered saucepan and cook on a low temperature until popped and mushy.
2. Puree the cranberries using a food mill or ricer.  If you want a major workout, smash them through a mesh strain about 8000 times until you've got all the good stuff out.  Return all the good cranberry mush to the saucepan.
3. Slowly melt in the butter and sugar, stirring consistently.  Gently strain in the eggs while still stirring so the eggs don't cook on their own ( that would be really gross.)  This part can be tricky if you aren't super coordinated like I am so you might want to grab a sous chef to help you out.  Continue to stir constantly over a medium low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon but not gross and curdled (then you just have scrambled cranberry eggs and trust me, no one wants that!)
4. Let cool before pouring into five 1/2 pint glass jars.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Like I said, I used my cranberry curd as the thumbprint in the tasty cookies that I gave to the grand prize winner of my Halloween costume contest.  But, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there are lots of other uses for cranberry curd, or any other fruit curd for that matter.  Try mixing some into a simple cake recipe for a little extra flavor, or smearing a bit onto toasty, delicious English muffins.  How about spread on warm scones at afternoon tea?  Try serving it in place of syrup for a pancake or waffle breakfast.  The possibilities are endless!  You can even mix up the fruit you use; maybe try oranges or cherries or lemon-lime curd!  What would you do with your fruit curd?  Also, I wonder if you could recycle your leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce and turn it into cranberry curd... ooo my brain wheels are turning.

1 comment:

  1. it was delicious this morning on my english muffin