From brown butter frosting, butterscotch pudding, shortbread cookies and tart pastry, brown butter (called beurre noisette by chefs) is infiltrating the sweet kitchen. This nut-brown ingredient has a toasty aroma and flavour that has enraptured the palates of home bakers and pastry chefs alike.
Brown butter is made by cooking butter long enough to turn the milk solids and salt particles brown while cooking out any water present in the solid mixture. When I was in chef school we used it in traditional dishes like trout meuniere and my husband has a signature grilled calamari dish on his menu (PDF file) that features the flavours of brown butter with roasted garlic, capers and olives – so good!
It’s finicky to make brown butter if you’re a multi-tasker, but easy to make if you pay close attention:
• Place at least a 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter in a dry saucepan.
• Melt over medium-high heat until the butter begins to foam; skim off and discard any scum that accumulates on the surface. When the butter turns a light, tan colour, remove from the heat. (The butter will continue cooking even after you remove it from the burner so take it off before it reaches a nutty coloured brown.)
• Cool slightly. Strain through cheesecloth or a Chinoise before using as directed in the recipe.