The Modern Preserverby Kylee Newton (The Countryman Press, 2015) guides you through how to preserve produce. Newton puts her contemporary twist on classic preservation favorites. Both sweet and tart, these curds make for a culinary delight.
In the same way that the sour tartness of citrus marries well with sweet custardy curd, so does the slightly bitter tartness of most berries. Celebrate the berry season by making a bunch of different colored berry curds and give them to friends. You can have fun making up personalized labels and jars but make sure you tell them to keep their gifts in the fridge.
• 1/4 cup water
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 4 medium eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
• 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
• Pinch of sea salt
Note: If you are using frozen berries, defrost them completely first as you don’t want excess water in your curd. If using cranberries, substitute the lemon juice for 3 tablespoons of orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon while softening the fruit. If using blackberries, throw in a few juniper berries; if using raspberries, try adding a handful of chopped fresh mint, and if using blueberries, try adding a few fresh lemon thyme leaves.
1. Soften the berries in a pan with the water and lemon juice on a medium heat. Depending on the berries used, this should take between 10–20 minutes. Make sure they are very soft and mushy and mash them a bit with a potato masher if necessary.
2. Sieve the softened berries, discarding any seeds or skins and keeping the berry juice.
3. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar together until they are well mixed and light and frothy in texture.
4. Gently melt the butter on a low heat in a medium, heavy-bottomed pan and, when completely melted, slowly pour in the egg mixture, stirring constantly, then add the berry juice.
5. Continue stirring and cooking on the low heat until the mixture has thickened to a custard-like consistency. This may take up to 15 minutes but don’t be tempted to increase the heat as this could scramble the eggs.
6. Remove from the heat and whisk the mixture to remove any lumps.
7. Ladle into warm, dry sterilized jars, filling them to about 1/4 inch below the rim. Seal, leave to cool, and refrigerate.
Keeps for up to 1–2 weeks in the fridge.
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Excerpted from The Modern Preserver by Kylee Newton (The Countryman Press). Copyright © 2015