Ok, so I realized that the idea for a twitter party came to me one day when I was testing a new recipe. The recipe I was working on wasn’t working out and I had no one to talk with. So I adjusted and fiddled, omitted and prayed. In the end it was much better, but I thought perhaps there are people out there that may want to help test some of these recipes – after all, I think it’s fun. So the recipe is pretty much untested. So here we go.
My neighbours Sue and Yvonne piled into the car and off we went to the Niagara-in-the-Lake Farmers’ Market. Today was a bit chilly and everyone was bundled in winter coats and mitts. There were lots of vendors at the market but no strawberries which was surprising because Quiet Acres is usually there with a table full of them.
After buying some vegetarian burger patties, we headed down Lakeshore Road in the direction of Quiet Acres. Their shelves were overflowing with ruby red, beautiful strawberries. Maureen McSween is owner of Quiet Acres and said she’d just come back for more berries because they sold out at the market. Quiet Acres is one of the best places in my neighbourhood to get strawberries. I swear Maureen hand picks each berry because they’re perfect, candy sweet, juicy and OMG – this is what I wait all year for! With a flat of strawberries in the trunk of my car, the 3 of us headed home.
Yvonne and I washed and trimmed them and we put 4 cups in a pot with half a cup of sugar. I cut the sugar in half because the strawberries were so sweet. It didn’t take but a minute for the strawberries to release their juices and I had lots of liquid in the pot. I added only 2 tablespoons of honey and Yvonne simmered the strawberries until they were soft, which was less then the five minutes suggested.
We looked into the pot and right away I knew we had way too much liquid. So I ladled the strawberries into the blender taking as little liquid as I possibly could. I pureed the strawberries and ended up with 2 cups of really, really sweet puree that had a really strong taste of honey. This was set aside.
Next I put a pot of water on the stove to boil. On the counter next to the stove I folded a kitchen towel and put a metal bowl on top. The towel keeps the bowl from sliding around when you begin whisking and it also frees your other hand to do other tasks.
I whisked the eggs and sugar until it was a smooth yellow colour. Then in went half a cup of the strawberry puree –the puree consistency was really good. I put the bowl over the now boiling water and whisked my heart out for about 2 minutes. I added the butter – not melted – why melt it when it will melt in the bowl? I continued to whisk for another 5 to 6 minutes, the butter melted and the curd was getting thicker and thicker.
You can tell how thick it’s getting because in the beginning your whisking a liquid, soon you’ll notice the whisk leaving a few track lines in the curd, then when you whisk really hard, it actually leaves crevices and finally, when you can lift the whisk and it leaves an imprint on the top of the curd, you’re done. This didn’t take as long as 15 minutes for me.
I poured the curd into a bowl feeling very disappointed with the colour that resembled milk chocolate more than strawberry curd and the flavour was ultra sweet – I mean over the top sweet and that’s not the result I wanted.
So back to the drawing board, I put one cup of fresh strawberries in a blender and pureed them – no sugar. Now with the fresh puree, I made another curd. I still only used half the sugar and I eliminated the honey. I mistakenly used all of the strawberry puree (I forget to measure out half a cup). So the result? The colour was much better, the flavour beautifully strawberry, the texture was equally thick (even though I added more puree than the recipe asked for) and it was the beautiful spring strawberry curd with a real strawberry punch I was hoping for – perfecto!
It took me two attempts but perfection came easily. I hope everyone else had fun in the kitchen. So now we all know that curd is not a real food on it’s own, so what do we do with it? My husband wants a spoon so he can eat it right from the bowl, but with all that butter, it’s all about moderation.
No, I’d swirl strawberry curd through ultra thick Greek-style goat’s milk yogurt. I think the tang and thick texture would work beautifully with the sweet, luscious strawberry curd. Of course, real Greek yogurt is hard to get but you can use a Greek-style yogurt, spoon it in cheesecloth and hang it for an hour or two. It’s amazing how much liquid will seep out and you’re left with a drier, tangier yogurt. It’s the same thing you’d do to make Tzatziki.
How would you use it?
Here’s my new recipe…..
1 cup (250 mL) fresh strawberries, cleaned, quartered and pureed
½ cup (125 mL) sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) butter
In the top of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar until yellow in colour and smooth. Add strawberry puree and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the butter and whisk until butter is completely melted and continue whisking until thick, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes. Cover the top with plastic film to prevent a skin from forming. Makes about 1 ½ cups curd.