How the Berry Got Its Name + Cranberry Curd #FoodieReads
Inspired by Lily's Secret Inheritance by Kristin Harper, I made a cranberry curd and spooned it into a crostata for one of our Thanksgiving desserts. I am sharing this with the Foodie Reads group for December: all the links.
LEARN THIS PROCESS! Fruit curds are made with fruit juice and zest, egg yolks, and sugar. They are deliciously tart and can be used as dessert spreads and toppings. I have made curds with all types of citrus and wanted to make a version with the holiday darling: the cranberry. Those berries made a tart, gorgeous curd. BE CREATIVE...COOK FEARLESSLY!
On the Page
Lily's Secret Inheritance by Kristin Harper is simultaneously a coming of age story and a fresh start story...all with the same protagonist, Lily Lindgren. Lily has returned to Dune Island after the death of her aunt Dahlia to discover that she has inherited her family's cranberry farm. The story straddles two timelines - one when Lily is a teenager and one when Lily is a widow and single mom trying to protect her son from her past.
As Lily reacquaints herself with the island on which she grew up, the reader is introduced to the location and the locals. She describes her family's farmstand. "The stand was a convenient place for locals to pick up bags of fresh cranberries, as well as dried cranberries and cranberry preserves. It operated on an honor system, like all the other produce stands on Dune Island. Customers simply took what they wanted and left their money in a plastic container with a slot in the lid."
And, when she is explaining to her son how the cranberry got its name, the readers are also educated, "Then she held up her flower from the bog and showed him what Selma had shown her when she was a child. 'See how the flower is shaped like the crane’s head? That’s how cranberries got their name—crane-berry became cranberry'."
This wasn't a terrible read, but it wasn't fantastic either. I enjoyed it but will not likely pick up the other two books in the trilogy. But it did inspire me into the kitchen. Lily's aunt Dahlia served a white chocolate cranberry cheesecake for her wedding - a family recipe - and I considered that. Instead I made a cranberry curd.
½ pound fresh cranberries, a little more than 2 cups
½ cup water
¾ cup organic granulated sugar
3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg
4 Tablespoons butter, cubed
Also needed: large pot, fine mesh strainer
In a pot, combine the cranberries and water. Cover and place over medium heat. Cook until the cranberries pop and the juices are bubbling.
Press the cranberries through a fine mesh strainer, scraping the puree from the underside of the strainer into the bowl to use as well. Then pour all of the cranberry puree back into the pot and set aside to cool slightly.
In the meantime, whisk together the egg yolks and egg until well-combined. Slowly whisk in the sugar until lightened and frothy. Add the egg mixture to the cranberry puree in the sauce pan and whisk until creamy and well-incorporated. Place over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, approximately
8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the butter, one cube at a time. Strain into a bowl or jar, cover with plastic wrap and press onto the surface so a film doesn't form. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.
SERVING IDEA: I spooned the cooled curd into a cooked tart crust for our Thanksgiving dessert. Topped with a little bit of unsweetened whipped cream, this was a delicious end to a holiday feast.