Butter (Recipe: Meyer lemon curd)
Boter, smør, manteiga, beurre, unt, maslac, mantequilla, buddah.
That's how you say butter in Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, French, Romanian, Croatian, Spanish, and Rhode Island.
No matter how you pronounce it, all butter is created in the same way, by beating cream until the fats separate from the liquid. As the cream is beaten, the fat globules begin to stick together, forming the butter. In the United States, products sold as "butter" must contain a minimum of 80% butterfat. European butters, which are now available in some American markets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, often contain up to 85% butterfat.
An important thing to know about butter:
Don't store butter in the refrigerator door, even if the manufacturer has built a handy little compartment for it. The temperature fluctuates each time the door opens, and shortens the shelf-life of the butter. As a rule, store unopened butter sticks in the refrigerator for up to one month beyond the sell-by date, or in the freezer for up to nine months. When possible, buy butter in tubs with tight-fitting lids.
A fun fact about butter:
Madame Tussauds, step aside. Butter sculptures of Elvis Presley, John Wayne, Richard Nixon, Darth Vader, Neil Armstrong, Harry Potter, Marilyn Monroe, John McCain and Barack Obama have graced some of the largest state fairs in the United States.
Meyer lemon curd
Meyer lemons are a delightful cross between lemons and mandarin oranges, which gives them a sweeter tartness than Eureka lemons. When a box found its way to Costco, and then to our kitchen, my husband Ted made several batches of this lemon curd. Makes approximately 1-1/2 cups.
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
Grated zest of two Meyer lemons
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
Put all ingredients, except eggs, into a nonreactive bowl set over a pot of simmering water. When the butter has melted and before the mixture is too warm, gradually whisk in the beaten eggs. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened to the consistency of instant pudding, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for a while. Then place the curd in a container, cover, and store in the refrigerator.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Green grapefruit curd
Polenta with braised wild mushrooms
Banana or strawberry quesadillas
Recipes that use butter:
Salted butter caramel ice cream from David Lebovitz
Butter pecan cookies from Simply Recipes
Butter paneer masala from Sailu's Kitchen
Popcorn with brown butter, rosemary and lemon from Andrea Meyers
Brussels sprouts with brown butter and hazelnuts from Cooking with Amy