Honey butter. I predict you’ll hear about this heavenly combination a lot in 2014. I was first alerted to the revelation when, after falling head over heels for the cornbread at The Lockhart (a dapper new joint in Marylebone), I asked the chef how it was made. His words are emblazoned on my memory "and then, when it comes out of the oven, we smother it in honey butter".
What a cracking idea…
And, as it happens, I’m rather into churning my own butter at the moment. Firstly because it’s super easy, you just whisk cream until it turns into butter; secondly because then you can blend it with all sorts of delicious things like blue cheese or horseradish; and thirdly because it makes a brilliant gift, wrapped in parchment paper and tied with ribbon.
So I decided to make my own. With sea salt, of course - because these days everything sweet needs a great whack of salt - and some superbly soft and sticky honeycomb I picked up at Queens Park farmers' market.
I haven't made the cornbread yet. But mark my words… salted honeycomb butter slathered onto hot crumpets is the stuff of dreams.
Sea-salted honeycomb butter
Makes about 225g; takes about 15 minutes
300ml double cream
75g soft honeycomb
1 tsp sea salt
1 Place the double cream in a freestanding food mixer with the whisk attachment fitted (or use electric beaters). Place the cream in the bowl and start to whisk. You'll need to leave the machine running for 6-8 minutes, during which time it should go through the stages of whipped cream, then curdled cream, and finally it will separate into butter solids and buttermilk.
2 Remove the butter solids from the whisk, wrap in muslin or a clean tea towel and squeeze to remove any excess liquid. Place the butter in a bowl (you should have about 150-170g depending on the fat content of your cream).
3 Tear the honeycomb into small chunks and add to bowl along with the sea salt. Using your hands, mix together until combined. Wrap in parchment paper or clingfilm, rolling into a sausage and twisting at the ends. Chill for at least 2 hours, then give as a gift or keep it all to yourself, slicing off pieces and spreading on crumpets, pancakes, corn-on-the-cob or bacon sarnies.
And, if you're wondering what to do with the buttermilk (you’ll have about 100ml) try using it in place of milk in scones or pancakes for a slightly more pronounced flavour. I also read somewhere it's brilliant instead of milk in mashed potato.