Monday, June 28, 2010

STRAWBERRY BUTTER WEEKEND

Dash doesn't yet know how to throw a football, sew on a button, or ride a bike.
But he makes killer strawberry butter.
He and I spent three days making strawberry butter in order to submit our own recipe to a contest over at the fabulous food52 (a great food website—social media/networking at its best).  Every time we had a spare moment Dash would run full tilt into the kitchen and yell, "Let's make more strawberry butter!!!!" We had many ramekins of strawberry butter stacked precariously on top of the ice cream in the freezer.

Dash tested every version.
In the end, Dash and I made a beautiful, creamy, cotton candy-pink butter with big chunks of softened strawberries. Not too sweet. Some vanilla bean. And a bit of crunchy salt. But it took a few rounds to get there.

Our strawberry butter kept splitting. It was such an unappetizing texture. I poked my head into the kitchen at Elmwood Cafe and asked pastry chef Mark Chacon a few questions. Props to Mark for alerting me to the high moisture content of strawberries and its potential effects on butter. All that thick strawberry syrup was tasty but it was too much for the butter to stand. So I strained off most of the syrup. Before adding the strawberries,  I whipped the butter up with a tablespoon of powdered sugar in the hopes that it would help things stabilize. Success.
We were ready to submit the recipe. Photos were taken. The recipe was written up. I went to download the recipe and I realized we had missed the food52 deadline by two days! I won't repeat the awful words I said to the computer at this point. But Dash could probably tell you since he has heard all these swear words since birth. But at least we had a freezer full of strawberry butter and a blog (this one!) on which to upload the recipe. Nothing lost.

Here are some uses for strawberry butter (besides just eating it out of the dish like Bella did):
1. Topping for waffles and pancakes.
2. Inside Danish ebilskiver (recipe coming soon).
3. On toast.
4. On buttermilk biscuits(anyone have a great recipe?).

I added some blackberries and raspberries to the leftover strawberry syrup and poured it over ice cream and pancakes.


CARAMELIZED VANILLA BEAN STRAWBERRY BUTTER WITH FLEUR DE SEL
printable recipe 

ingredients:
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (or vanilla sugar if you have it)
1 tablespoon water
1 cup stemmed strawberries, cut into about 1 inch pieces (or bigger)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/3 vanilla bean, sliced in half and seeds scraped out OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
fleur de sel or other coarse/crunchy salt, for the butter AND the top

directions:
Mix granulated sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Swirl around until sugar is dissolved. Keep watching the sugar. When it just starts to caramelize (light brown), turn off the flame. Mix in strawberries and coat with the caramelized sugar. But back on a low flame and cook until strawberries just start to soften (3-5 minutes ). Add a squeeeze of lemon juice. Continue cooking for one more minute. Take off the flame and cool until room temperature.

Combine soft butter, powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, and vanilla bean seeds (or extract) in a mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix together really well (2 minutes high speed). Add 1/3 of the cooked strawberries and leave most of the liquid behind. Mix really well again on high speed (at this point you're coloring the butter by mashing the cooked berries). By hand, gently mix in another 1/3 of the strawberries with very little syrup (this time you're keeping the berry pieces intact). If you like lots of strawbery chunks in your butter you can add the final 1/3 of strawberries (again leaving the liquid behind) or save them for another use. Scrape strawberry butter into a ramekin. Before serving, sprinkle the top with another pinch fleur de sel to add some extra crunch. The butter tastes best served right away. But you can refrigerate it up to 5 days. And it freezes really well and stays a beautiful vibrant color. 

21 comments:

  1. this looks delicious. can i ask where do you get the jars you store it in?
    sarah

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  2. What a lovely idea! Shame you missed the deadline but I'm very glad to see it here.

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  3. Beautiful stuff - I see french toast in my future. Thank you!

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  4. That sounds/looks so good! Sorry you and Dash missed the deadline but I have a feeling we'll be seeing this recipe again, somewhere else, perhaps your own cookbook?! I was going to make some strawberry jam this week to eat on homemade biscuits..think I might be switching gears.

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  5. This sounds amazing, and love the powdered sugar trick! Sorry your recipe didn't make it into the food52 contest, but we really appreciate the effort and are so happy to have you as part of the community. Your blog is beautiful.

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  6. It must've been really frustrating to miss the deadline after all that work you put into it....but at least it looks and sounds delicious... summer preserved in a jar. :)

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  7. sarah: the jars are from ikea.

    thanks everyone for the encouraging words.

    amanda: it's an honor you stopped by and commented. looking forward to submitting recipes to your food52 in the future.

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  8. I'm gonna go ahead and say that making strawberry butter may prove to be a more important skill than throwing a football or sewing a button. Maybe not riding a bike, but two out of three ain't bad.

    I can't WAIT to try this, especially with how delicious and cheap strawberries are right now.

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  9. Yum! What a great idea! I've nominated you for an award... come visit!

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  10. I love a good ebilskiver, so i am excited to make strawberry butter filling! I am sure my family thanks your and dash's hard work perfecting this treat!

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  11. wow. That strawberry butter is a gorgeous flavor bomb!

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  12. hello! thanks for the carm strawberry butter recipe! it looks awesome! can't wait to make it. i found the link through thekitchn!

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  13. this looks amazing! I never considered a strawberry butter but I'm thinking I would put it on everything... Thanks for sharing!

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  14. thanks, everyone, for stopping by. it really is delicious. and we've been making it with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. most summer berries work beautifully! no need to change anything about the recipe for these other flavors.

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  15. I would love to try this however my 'fresh' strawberries are now frozen in the freezer...can I use them? I would assume defrost and drain really well as you indicated the moisture could be a problem.

    Thanks!

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  16. anonymous: great question. i think frozen strawberries will work well. i have some and i'll try it out. only concern i have is that sometimes frozen strawberries can be a bit spongy. but i say go for it. defrost and follow the recipe. you might have a lot of extra juice in the end. just don't incorporate it into the butter. instead, you can reduce it down a bit and serve it over ice cream. let me know how it works!

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  17. This sounds like the most decadent recipe. Fabulous! I'd love to try it with peaches :)

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  18. This looks amazing. I might make this and pair it with some popovers. Yum!

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  19. kelly: i love the peach idea!

    adrianna: i haven't made popovers in years. used to eat them at the popover cafe in nyc back in the early 90s! do you have a favorite recipe? i'm ready to have some again.

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  20. Phyllis--I don't. But Orangette has a recipe on her blog that looks delicious!

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  21. Oh wow! Ebilskiver! I didn't even know that they were eaten outside of Denmark. In Danish they're called æbleskiver and they don't have any fillings, but I really love the idea of filling them with lovely stuff like strawberry butter. Sounds absolutely delicious. Your blog and your writing is amazing and your kids are gorgeous!

    Love from Denmark

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