When it’s time for vacation I, like most, tend to use up all that I have on hand hoping to get through all that fresh produce before we leave. Still, I know I won’t get through it all, especially the fruit. Whenever I'm at the market, I can’t seem to resist all of those fresh berries, and especially peaches and plums that are abundant right now. So, when the fruit is ripening faster than we can eat it, or worse – it will go bad before we get home to finish it off, I make a quick fruit butter. It’s an easy fast answer.
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, when you add to it a note of fruity sweetness, breakfast just got a whole lot tastier. Don't limit yourself to breakfast though, slather a bit on your bread at lunch time and enjoy with your sandwich or salad. Even a whipped dollop with some cookies at tea makes a luscious afternoon treat. You can buy butter just for this recipe, but I usually have little pieces leftover from other uses collecting in my butter compartment. A cup is about all you need; most of us will have it at the ready.
Ripe fruit is quick to break down over a gentle heat with a little sugar or even just a bit of water; 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. If you’re up for experimenting, warm spices likes cinnamon, allspice, or even cardamom, can change up the overall flavor profile. Of course, a bit of salt brightens everything up, and then when your fruit mixture is cooled, it goes right into the food processor with that 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. Try combinations like apples and pears; strawberries and bananas; strawberries blackberries and blueberries; peaches and plums, and so on!
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
Warm spices, to taste (about 1 teaspoon or less per 1 cup of butter) (optional)
Coarse salt, to season
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 and Photo Copyright © 2012 by Donna Marie Desfor and There’s a Chef in My Kitchen, llc. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2012 by WITF, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Published in In witfs Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor
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