Saturday, December 25, 2010

Test: Ina Garten's Fruit Salad with Limoncello

Christmas day breakfast is a big deal in our house. After the presents are opened, we always have a yummy breakfast to power us through the afternoon and our tradition of going to the movies. This year, we are going gourmet: creme brulĂ©e french toast, maple-peppercorn bacon, and fruit salad with limoncello from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics. My sister was in charge of the french toast, and the other K was in charge of the bacon. Since the two K's were the only ones up early on Christmas morning, I took over the fruit salad.  The first thing I discovered was that we didn't have any lemon curd and since Ina's recipe suggested using "a good lemon curd" for this breakfast salad, I decided I had to make it from scratch. I didn't think it was possible, but I actually may have shown up the Barefoot Contessa by making this fresh, creamy curd instead of buying some from the store. (Although let's be honest, she probably has an entire freezer full of fresh lemon curd available.)

The fruit and yogurt was delicious, although this may be better as a dessert! It is quite sweet and the best bites are towards the bottom of the bowl, where things get a little boozy. The lemon curd can be served on shortbread, toast, or be used as a filling in tarts.

Lemon Curd
From Fine Cooking

3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.

In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 min. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer. Don't let the mixture boil.

Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.

Fruit Salad with Limoncello
From Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics by Ina Garten

7 oz. Greek yogurt
1/3 cup good bottled lemon curd (or use recipe above)
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. limoncello liqueur
1 banana, sliced
(Fresh mint sprigs)

For the lemon yogurt topping, whisk together the yogurt, lemon curd, honey, and vanilla and set aside at room temperature.

For the fruit salad, carefully toss together the berries, sugar, and limoncello. Allow them to stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes to let the berries macerate with the sugar and liqueur. Gently fold the banana into the mixture.

Serve bowls of fruit with a dollop of lemon yogurt on top.

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