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Food Wednesdays: Fruit Butters

Written by Donna Marie Desfor, Culinary Consultant and Chef | Aug 10, 2010 9:40 PM

Say what you will about butter – good or bad – there's just no way around it. Real butter makes all the difference in the world when it comes to flavor. And, nothing is more satisfying than adding a dollop of flavored butter to meats, pasta or vegetables to finish off a dish. In this case, though, I'm turning my attention to the sweeter side of things and thinking of the perfect complement to hearty breakfast bread or a melting slather of buttery sweetness that can be added to hot oatmeal. Come mid-day, this butter is a sweeter side to snack toasts with tea.

You can buy butter just for this purpose, but I find that those bits -- a tablespoon or two that I'm left with from a recipe -- collect rather quickly in my butter compartment. When I have a good cup on hand, I grab whatever is too ripe to enjoy and I'm off to the stove. You need little more than a bit of sugar or even just water to help encourage the ripe fruit to begin to break down. Let it soften and its juices thicken over a medium or medium-low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning. I find that a bit of lemon zest or even a splash of lemon juice can sometimes really pull the fruit favor into focus. Of course, a bit of salt and then when cooled a bit the fruit goes right into the food processor with all those bits of butter. Process until smooth – skins and all – and the spread into a ramekin or form a log on a long piece of plastic wrap. When stored in the freezer the fruit butter will keep for several weeks; in the refrigerator, it should keep for about 5 days.


Recipe: Fruit Butter

Makes about 1 cup

I am no fan of vague recipes; however, in this case it is perfectly appropriate. The measurements and times are nothing more than a guideline. Improvise as you see fit. If it tastes delicious then you've found the perfect balance of ingredients.

Ingredients

1 cup (or more) unsalted butter, at room temperature

About 1 cup of ripe and over-ripe fruit, coarsely chopped

1 – 2 tablespoons light brown sugar (or honey) (optional)

Lemon zest or lemon juice, or both, to season

Coarse salt, to season

Preparation

Place the butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process in pulses until the butter is creamy and well blended.

Place the fruit, a bit of water, the sugar (if using) in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium low. As the mixture simmers, add in a bit of the lemon zest or juice and stir to incorporate. Gently simmer until the fruit breaks down and releases its juices stirring occasionally. If the mixture gets too dry, add more water and mix frequently until the fruit is jam-like. Remove from the heat and let cool, about 15 minutes. Add the fruit to the butter and process until well combined. Taste. Add salt to season. Transfer to a ramekin and place in refrigerator until firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

For extended storage, cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Recipe Copyright © 2010 by Donna Marie Desfor and There's a Chef in My Kitchen, llc. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2010 by WITF, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Published in Donna Marie Desfor

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