Monday, July 12, 2010

Aguacate Experimentation

It's no secret that I love food. And I love science. As a professional I do experiments in the lab. For fun I do experiments in the kitchen.
I follow a few food blogs, partially for the ideas, and partially for the pretty pictures. One of my favorites is Smitten Kitchen. Deb always has great recipes, beautiful pictures of her food, and an amazingly cute baby boy.

Awhile back she made mango curd, and it looked tasty enough to give it a try myself. So I made the mango curd late one night, and when I got done, I found myself eying a couple of ripe avocados that I'd almost forgotten about. As sometimes happens after midnight, I decided to indulge my whimsy and try the recipe with avocado instead of mango.

My avocados were a bit over-ripe, so I ended up using only about two-and-a-half of the avocados after cutting out the brownish spots I found after I cut open the avocados.

The puree was a lovely 60s-era shade of green. After adding the egg yolks and whisking over a double-boiler for 10 minutes, the avocado puree darkened just a bit and ended up taking on a sheen that the mango didn't. Probably because avocados have more oil than mangoes. It didn't look oily, just different.

The avocado curd also ended up thicker than the mango curd. It didn't set up totally solid, but I'd probably add a few more tbsp. of lime juice to the avocado to loosen it up a bit.

The colors of the two actually ended up complementing each other really well.
I got to use my little tartlet shell molds to make shells to put the curd in. I have tons of random kitchen toys, but as it turns out, I don't have a pastry blender. Huh. I used a fork to cut the butter into the flour and it worked surprisingly well.
Aren't they cute! I put quite a bit of lime juice in the mix because I was a little nervous about the avocado puree browning. It ended up tasting like key lime pie. Tasty!
 Here's the recipes in case you want to make your own!

Avocado Curd
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen adapted from Bon Appetit, June 1998
Makes 1 to 1.5 cups
3 Medium-sized, ripe avocados
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice (I ran out of lime juice. Next time I'll use all lime juice)
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Puree avocado, sugar, lime/lemon juice and salt in processor, scraping down sides of work bowl occasionally. Add yolks; puree 15 seconds longer. Set metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); whisk puree until thickened and thermometer registers 170°F., about 10 minutes. Remove from over water. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Pie Crust for Tartlet shells
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold shortening, lard, or butter, in 1/2 inch pieces (I used butter)
scant 1/4 cup vinegar water, ice cold

Wisk together flour and salt. Cut the butter/lard into the flour with fork or pastry blender until the fat/flour forms very small crumbs that looks like coarse corn meal.

Splash a little bit of vinegar (I used apple cider) into the bottom of a 1/4 cup measuring cup. I put just barely enough to cover the bottom of the measuring cup. I then filled the cup with ice-cold water up to just below the brim.

Sprinkle the water/vinegar over the butter/flour mixture and mix gently with your fingers until it just begins to stick together in a ball. It's OK if it seems a bit wet. You'll use flour when you roll the dough out. Flatten the dough ball into a disc shape and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Flour counter and rolling pin, and roll out to 1/8 inch. Fill tartlet shells, and pierce bottom and sides with fork. Bake shells in preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Let cool in molds before removing.


  1. WHAT? I LOVE avocado! I will have to try this out. It looks SO good.

  2. I miss coming home to your mad food expirements

  3. I miss you coming home to taste of my mad food experiments!

  4. Wow! Your last picture looks like it's from a magazine! Impressive. I'll have to try it...they look good.

  5. Wooooooooowww. That's impressive! They look wonderful!