Grapefruit Juniper Curd

It's been noted that I like to eat butter on everything.  And it's true.  I do actually think that butter makes everything better.  With thick tart-sweet custardy curds, I even get the chance to have butter with citrus fruit.  Genius!

Yesterday, a friend and I celebrated our first annual Harold & Maude holiday.  Slippers, a warm fireplace, and three drowsy hounds made for a cozy viewing of the best film ever made.  I knew that I'd be good to go with a big bowl of salty popcorn.  But I wanted to make sure my sweet-toothed buddy could satisfy her cravings as well, so I whipped up a small batch of grapefruit juniper curd.

Of course lemon curd is the traditional incarnation of this dish.  But curds can be made with a large range of fruits, once you've mastered the basic premise.  Blood orange curd is one of my favorites.  I've also made both rhubarb and sumac curds.

On this occasion, I decided to pair ruby grapefruit with juniper berries.  Perhaps this sounds like an odd combination, but just imagine a sparkling grapefruit cocktail made with gin, and you'll start to get an idea what grapefruit juniper curd tastes like.  The juniper berries I forage from the local low-lying bushes as surprisingly sweet, with a definite taste of fruity pear in addition to the usual gin high notes.  This makes them particularly nice in sweet dishes.  If you'd like to read more about juniper, have a look at the November Wild Edible Notebook, written by Wild Food Girl.

Grapefruit Juniper Curd

6 Tbsp. butter, room temp
1 c. sugar
2 juniper berries, finely ground
2  eggs
2  egg yolks
2/3 c. grapefruit juice
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grapefruit zest

In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar, juniper, and butter as if starting a batch of cookies. Slowly add in eggs and extra yolks, and mix until well combined. Stir in the grapefruit and lemon juice (the mixture will look curdled). In a heavy saucepan, cook the mixture over med-low heat, whisking constantly so that you don't end up making scrambled eggs, until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees F). Remove from heat, and stir in grapefruit zest. Chill before serving.

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