Thursday, May 30
I'm not exactly an outdoorsy person, just ask the elephantine spider (sandwiched?) under a pile of ironic nature books on my living room floor for the past three weeks. (I'm convinced he's still alive, or, even worse, not there at all!) I wasn't a girl scout but I did go to the summer camp that was run by our local bird sanctuary. Even though it solidified my fear of anything that could creep onto me unnoticed, I relished the experience! I churned homemade vanilla ice cream, fed geese and ducks their morning corn, learned how to identify a few boreal star constellations, and plucked strawberries alongside my first official "crush."
His name was Sean - we only saw each other for a few weeks each summer. Very tragic. We would sneak out of our pseudo cabins at night to watch the stars and eat strawberries - which we dubbed "starberries." On the last day of our last summer together, before Sean moved back to Maine, I gave him my fav. yellow stripped knee sock (just one, to be dramatic) and he gave me his fav. Atari tee-shirt. (It smelled like campfire ashes & bubble gum and was smeared with starberry juice.)
Strawberries will always make me think of young love and sticky, awkward, hand-holding.
Originally I was going to use the strawberry curd as a filling for some tartlets, unfortunately my curd didn't thicken up enough to hold it's own in a crust. But it was *just* thick enough to spread onto English muffins, scones, and waffles! Or, if you're like me, you can enjoy it by the spoonful.
If you love lemon curd, you're going to adore this strawberry version. It's sweet, with just a slight burst of lemon flavour - it tastes like the fresh cusp of spring and summer, filled with endless flowering fields, fireflies, starry nights, and falling in love.
makes enough to fill about 4 mason jars
225 grams (about 2 heaping cups) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
315 grams (about 2 1/4 cups) super-fine sugar
zest from one lemon
juice from one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
113 grams (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 egg yolks
Use a food processor or blender to purée the berries. If puréed enough, the seeds shouldn't be too intrusive - if you prefer, stain the berry purée through a sieve to eliminate all seedlings.
Create a double boiler: Add about a 1/2-inch of water to a medium-large saucepan and bring the water to a slow simmer. Find a heat-proof bowl that fits snugly on top of the saucepan - make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the simmering water. Place the puréed berries, lemon zest, lemon juice, cubed butter, and cornstarch into the heat-proof bowl and place the bowl over the simmering water. Stirring occasionally, cook until the butter melts and cornstarch dissolves.
Whilst waiting for the butter to melt, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks.
Remove the bowl from the heat, but leave the saucepan of water simmering. While whisking constantly, add a small amount of the egg mixture to the warm purée mixture. Keep whisking and streaming in small amounts of the egg until completely incorporated. (Don't add the eggs all at once or they will curdle.)
Return the bowl to the pan of simmering water. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens - about 10-15 minutes. (The curd is ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon and leaves a trail when you run a finger through it.)
Remove the bowl from the heat and allow the curd to come to room temperature (it will thicken up a bit as it cools).
Transfer the curd to sterilized jars, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. Well sealed, the curd should last about two weeks in the refrigerator. (I doubt it will last that long!)
adapted from Lavender and Lovage