Serves: Makes 1 cup
- 1 pint heavy (whipping) cream, preferably not ultra-pasteurized
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon minced lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
- ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Procedures:How is this for gift-giving fun—churning your own butter from cream and turning it into herb butter? That’s homemade! And it is spectacularly easy. Start with highquality cream, preferably not ultra-pasteurized. The liquid (whey) that separates from the butter solids during churning is not sour like buttermilk because acid is not added in this process, the way commercial creameries do. It can’t be used in recipes that call for buttermilk; however, the whey can be used as you would reduced-fat milk—it’s delicious with cereal or homemade granola! (See page 100.) The lemon-herb butter is terrific simply spread on bread, melted and tossed with popcorn, softened and rubbed on a chicken before roasting, melted to fry an egg or make an omelet, or spooned into a baked potato.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, churn the cream on medium speed until the butter solids separate from the liquid, about 15 minutes. Occasionally stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. (As it churns, the cream will go through stages-from whipped cream to pea-size clumps to large hunks of golden yellow butter with liquid whey pooled in the bottom of the mixer.)
- To separate the butter and whey, transfer the mixture to a mesh strainer set over a medium bowl. Pour the whey into a covered container and refrigerate, reserving it for another use.
- Place the butter in the bowl and fill the bowl with cold water. Gently massage the butter in the water to remove the excess whey from the surface of the butter. Pour out the water and refill the bowl with fresh cold water. Repeat this process until the water runs clear.
- Wrap the butter in a triple layer of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel and form it into a flattened disk. Put the butter on a plate and place it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to chill and allow excess moisture to seep out and absorb into the cheesecloth.
- Remove the chilled butter from the cheesecloth and gently scrape the surface with the back of a table knife to remove any residue from the cloth. Cut the butter into large cubes and place them in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the tarragon, dill, chives, parsley, lemon zest, and salt. Cream the mixture together on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide the lemon-herb butter between 2 butter bells, packing the butter into the containers and smoothing the tops. Cover and refrigerate. Alternatively, separate the butter into 2 equal hunks, wrap them in plastic wrap. and form them into 11⁄2-inch-diameter rolls. Wrap each roll in parchment paper, twist and tie the ends to seal, and refrigerate. Note: If you'd rather not make butter from scratch, combine 1 cup (2 sticks) of softened unsalted butter with the herbs and lemon zest in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until thoroughly combined. (Whether you start with cream and churn your own butter, or begin with butter, this recipe can easily be doubled to make four gifts.)
Storing: Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.