5 Ingredients or Fewer

Strawberry Balsamic Curd

April 23, 2013
2 Ratings
  • Makes about 2 cups
Author Notes

This recipe came about in a somewhat convoluted manner. I couldn't decide how I wanted to serve some fresh strawberries -- macerated with sugar and balsamic and topped with whipped mascarpone cream or macerated with sugar and topped with sabayon. I decided to see if I could combine the ideas and make a reduced balsamic sabayon. Long story short, the answer was no. The final result was more like a curd in texture and just a bit too vinegary in flavor. Like many kitchen mishaps, it gave me another idea: could I make a strawberry-balsamic curd? This time I was met with success. I sort of combined the recipes for Strawberry Purée and Sauce and Lemon Curd from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible (which coincidentally are consecutive recipes in the book). The result was purely delicious -- reminiscent of lemon curd, but with a bright strawberry flavor kissed with the tang of balsamic.

(Note: you'll have some leftover egg whites, so consider using the curd, fresh macerated strawberries, and lightly sweetened whipped cream to make Schaum Torte, a German version of pavlovas.)

Test Kitchen Notes

This is genius…and delicious! The strawberries and vinegar complement one another well, and the butter and eggs provide a really decadent texture. I could eat bowls of this on its own, but I think it would also make a lovely base for a tart or as the filling in strawberry shortcake. It takes a little time for the strawberries to thaw, but the rest of the recipe moves quite quickly. I must admit that I have never reduced a sauce in the microwave before -- and learned a very valuable lesson about having a large measuring cup to avoid the liquid from boiling over -- but it actually worked out just fine. I also used frozen strawberries, because I wanted to see what they would be like. It turned out just splendidly. I think I'll try fresh next time just to compare, but I know I will make this time and again. —figgypudding

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound whole strawberries, frozen (without sugar)*
  • 1/4 cup commercial-grade balsamic vinegar or white/golden balsamic vinegar**
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Pinch salt
  1. *If it is strawberry season and you have access to good local berries, you may freeze fresh strawberries to use. Freezing causes the cell membranes in the berries to rupture, and they will release more juice, so don't be tempted to skip this step!
  2. **I prefer the flavor of curd made with the regular balsamic, but you may prefer the pinker color of the curd made with white/golden balsamic instead.
  3. Combine strawberries, balsamic, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl. Allow berries to thaw completely, stirring once or twice. This will take several hours.
  4. Transfer the berries and liquid to a mesh strainer set over a 4-cup glass measure. Scrape the bowl with a silicone spatula to get as much liquid as possible. Press the berries to mash them a bit and extract more juice. Allow to strain at least 15 minutes. There should be about a cup of strawberry-balsamic liquid in the measure.
  5. Transfer the strained berries to a food processor, and process to a smooth purée. Set aside.
  6. Microwave the liquid on high until reduced to 1/3 to 3/8 cup. Set the microwave for 4 or 5 minutes to start, then microwave in 1 to 2 minute bursts, allowing the boiling to subside to check the liquid's volume between bursts. It will likely take a total of 8 to 9 minutes, but will vary based on your microwave. The vinegar seems to prevent the bubbling from going over the 3 cup mark, but keep a relatively close eye on the process nonetheless.
  7. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in the reduced strawberry-balsamic liquid, then add the butter, salt, and 1/4 cup of the strawberry purée. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring and scraping the bottom continuously with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Once the mixture starts to steam, begin checking the temperature. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches 170º F. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the remaining strawberry purée. Return the pan to the heat and cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously.
  8. Pass curd through a strainer -- fine mesh if you don't want strawberry seeds in the final mixure, or medium-fine mesh if you do want the seeds -- into a bowl or storage container. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to press the mixture through the strainer, so only the coarse bits remain. Cool, then cover and chill. Serve as desired with fresh berries, on ice cream or yogurt, slathered on toasted pound cake, or whatever creative use you think up!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • QueenSashy
  • Kukla
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • BlueKaleRoad
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

22 Reviews

Congrats on your wonderful CP, HLA!!
hardlikearmour May 10, 2013
Thank you, TWV! It made me happy!
QueenSashy May 9, 2013
I so love the flavor combo! Congrats!
hardlikearmour May 10, 2013
It's hard to beat balsamic and strawberries!
Kukla May 9, 2013
Congratulations hardlikearmour! This is such an interesting recipe and a well deserved CP.
hardlikearmour May 10, 2013
Thank you, Kukla! It was an experiment that happened to go well.
LeBec F. April 30, 2013
hla, aside from the punchy flavor profile, what i love about this recipe i the clarity of the directions. Beautifully done.

A technical question- the 170 degrees has to do with what?is that the temp where the eggs thicken/set the mixture? (I've never made curd.)I know it can be 'canned' in jars; can it also be successfully frozen or does it break down/separate when defrosted? does it have a somewhat 'forever' refrigerated shelflife?

As to use, might you fold in whipped cream, fill a prebaked or no-bake crust with it, top with a layer of some fruit and then chill? or make an ice cream with it by adding it to an ice cream base with some chopped strawberries? Thx.
hardlikearmour April 30, 2013
Thank you, LBF. The 170º refers to the curd mixture. If it get's too hot it will curdle, and the flavor won't be as good. I imagine it will last several weeks in the fridge; once I figure it out with the batches I just made I'll edit it into the recipe. I haven't tried freezing canning it, so can't answer your question with any confidence. It's a similar texture to lemon curd, so I think you can use it in any way you'd use lemon curd. Your ideas sound like they would work.
BlueKaleRoad April 26, 2013
This sounds simply divine. I love the addition of balsamic vinegar and I can imagine the curd has a lovey sweet/tangy flavor.
hardlikearmour April 26, 2013
Thank you, BKR! It is a nice sweet/tart combo, and the balsamic somehow enhances the strawberry flavor.
TheWimpyVegetarian April 26, 2013
Oh I love this! congrats on making community pick finalist group!
hardlikearmour April 26, 2013
Thanks, TWV! I am always happy to make the testing round.
EmilyC April 26, 2013
Love! So perfect for right now!
hardlikearmour April 26, 2013
Thanks, EmC! It's great for local berries, but also good anytime since frozen berries are good the whole year round :-)
drbabs April 26, 2013
Brilliant! Love this!
hardlikearmour April 26, 2013
Thanks, DrB!
foxeslovelemons April 23, 2013
Beautiful! I love that you had an idea, and even though it didn't work out as you had hoped, you stuck with it and made it work!
hardlikearmour April 24, 2013
Thank you! Sometimes an idea works as well as I hope, but often it doesn't. I figure I learn something either way, so no harm in trying.
mrslarkin April 23, 2013
I bet this would be very delicious slathered on a scone! Well done, hla.
hardlikearmour April 23, 2013
Especially one of your outstanding scones!
aargersi April 23, 2013
Do you know I have NEVER made curd and now I feel like it's time for me to try - with this one!!!
hardlikearmour April 23, 2013
I can't believe you've not made curd! It should definitely be added to your repertoire.