Sea Buckthorn – Not to Everyone’s Taste
I’ve been promising myself for a couple of weeks now, to go out berry picking. But what berries are around this time of year, I can hear you ask. The blackberries are nowt but bare brambles; elderberries are only fit for the birds and it’s months until the next lot of gooseberries will be ready to gather!
Well these berries can be found in the Himalayas (or so I’m informed) and along our wonderful Scottish coastline. I am of course talking about Scotland’s super fruit – the sea buckthorn!
Many a chef has come a cropper using it on the Great British Menu; Nathan Outlaw got a right slating a couple of years ago for incorporating it into his menu. Our own Mark Greenaway has used it successfully in his dishes and pâtissier, Ross Baxter, made sea buckthorn tartlets on Britain’s Best Bakery.
It’s not the easiest berry to pick, the fruit is apt to explode between your fingers as you pluck it and you have the thorns to deal with too.
So one day last week, me and him toddled down to Longniddry Bents and set about gathering these gorgeous bright orange juice monsters. After about twenty minutes, we had numb fingers and just a couple of handfuls of berries.
It has an odd smell and in my mind, is reminiscent of emulsion paint. If you don’t want to go out picking, I think you can get bottles of the juice from Real Foods, which will also be pasteurised.
However, what to make? I decided on a curd, simple and, hopefully, delicious. It’s not a bad first attempt but next time I’ll increase the sugar to 4oz, as it stands it’s a bit skelpit (Scottish for a slap and it’s like a smack in the taste buds)!
I also used cocoa butter (Mycryo) instead of butter which reduces the amount of cholesterol and makes it dairy free. It produces a good set but lacks some richness.
Sea Buckthorn Curd
2 beaten eggs, preferably free range and /or organic
4 fl oz sea buckthorn juice
3oz caster sugar
2oz softened unsalted butter or for a dairy free option I used mycryo a cocoa butter powder
Chuck everything into a bowl and give a good whisk.
Place bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl and water don’t touch.
Keep stirring the mix until it starts to thicken and the butter has melted, about ten minutes.
Pour into a sterilised jar. It should keep for about 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
Makes one small jar with about a tablespoon and a half left over.
© Lea Harris, Off the Eaten Track, 2013.