Brandy Butter to Accompany Art

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“I had another reason for giving it to him, dear cousin.” He drained his glass [of brandy] slowly, and gazed at the painting again for a few moments, nodding his head with satisfaction… “The private enjoyment I get from knowing that my father, who looks down on the lower classes as though they were inferior beings, has the portrait of a common prostitite hanging in his library… But not a high-class whore from the brothels in Russell Square, not even one of the tarts who ply their trade in the park on Vincent Street, but a dirty, foul smelling draggletail from Whitechapel in whose ravaged vagina the wretched of the earth alleviate their misery for a few meager pennies.”  From The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

This is the cousin’s take on our hero’s lady love, and the moment which initiates the drama of part one of our story.

Brandy Butter

2 sticks salted butter

3/4 cup of dark brown sugar (I think caster sugar might have been better, but as it sits, the sugar does eventually dissolve, mostly)

5 tbsp brandy

1 tsp nutmeg

Cream the butter and sugar together and beat as long as you can stand it in order to get it as smooth as possible.  Slowly beat the brandy in, adding just a little at a time.  Mix in the nutmeg.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready for use (it will keep for a few weeks). 

I let mine sit around for a bit and there were noticeably fewer sugar crystals by the time I packed it up.  I suppose you could also use confectioner’s sugar, but this might give your butter more of a frosting consistency.

Traditionally, brandy butter (also called hard sauce)  is put on Christmas puddings and mince pies, but I have also read about it being put on scones, biscuits, and other treats.  I enjoyed mine right off the mixer’s beaters; it’s quite divine.   Tempting though it is to simply spread it on my morning toast, I will refrain and search out a store bought plum pudding to put it to a more conventional use . I’m hoping NYC’s vast array of expensive specialty shops will have something halfway decent to offer me.  I might have made my own pudding, had I known three months ago that it would be just about ready for today…

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Filed under Books, Cooking and Reading, Dessert, Food, Literature, Recipes

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