Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Cranberry Curd

Vermont Cranberries
Cranberries came jellied, fresh from the electric can opener when I was growing up.

That jiggly tubular lump was plopped into a CorningWare cereal bowl every Thanksgiving.

That was the day set aside for hosting the relatives on my father’s side. I came to associate it, and certain other holiday foods with arguments, general unpleasantness and yelling.

I’ll never understand why my parents insisted on that ritual
or expect that “this time” was going to be the one golden moment they could be civil to each other.

If any food deserved derision, cranberries had it coming.

You may have noticed by now, I am not the type to gloss over personal memories with cherubs and roses; I am someone who associates food with –– everything.

Thank goodness, I matured and developed a new respect for the cranberry.

I eat those produced in Vermont by “Cranberry Bob” Lesnikoski.

We met so many years ago, I can’t pinpoint the exact moment; but we eventually wound up vending at the same farmer’s market in Burlington’s City Hall Park.

Real fresh cranberries, and cranberry stuffs!

I first had them in cranberry bread (which I made for a holiday gathering -- yeesss, don’t judge). 

I use cranberry vinegar in salad dressings, and pair cranberry compote with game.  My husband Dan eats dried crannies with breakfast cereal in the mornings.

Most recently I’ve made cranberry curd.

What’s that curd thin? 

It‘s an intensely flavored soft pudding/spread that can be enjoyed with scones and crepes, dolloped on slices of angel food or pound cake, and devoured as the sweet/tart topper of baked meringues.

So, here’s a heartfelt humble tip of the hat to a fellow Vermont farmer that I fully credit for returning cranberries to my menus.

Cranberry Curd

Cranberry Curd
Adapted from a recipe by Land O’Lakes
Makes about 1 Cup

1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
½ Cup Water
¼ Cup Brown or White Sugar
2 Egg Yolks, lightly beaten
Pinch of Salt
2 TB Butter, cut into 2 pieces

Place water and berries in a microwave-safe dish.

Heat until berries burst, about 1 – 2 minutes.  Cool to room temperature.

Fill a medium saucepan with 1 - 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer; reduce heat to low.

Place all ingredients except the butter in a large heatproof bowl and whisk to combine.

Set the bowl over, but not touching, the simmering water and whisk constantly until the yolks thicken and the mixture forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted from the bowl, about 10 -15 minutes.

(Check to make sure the water does not boil. If it does, remove the bowl so the eggs do not curdle and allow the water return to a simmer.)

Remove the bowl from the heat; whisk in the butter one piece at a time, waiting until each piece is incorporated before adding another.

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl. Strain the curd and discard any solids.

Refrigerate until set.  Keeps for a week.