We had collected another lot of limes from the garden and now the chooks are laying more eggs than we eat for breakfast it meant only one thing. Lime Tarts and Lime Curd.
My mother in law has a plethora of cooking magazines delivered to the house and Donna Hay recently had a feature on lemon tarts with plenty of ideas on how to jazz up your plain lemon tart. One of the recipes added coconut to the pastry and raspberries to the tart fillng so I adapted this to one with a lime and coconut filling and one with blueberries added to the this. Originally I was going to make one large tart but I had a massive pastry fail. It was pretty comedic as I was using ready-made pastry too. The dish I was using was bigger than the pastry sheets so I joined two together and during the baking blind it came apart. I had done this before in a tart that was cooked all in one, That on ecame out fine so this lulled me into a false sense of security. There was no recovery, I really had messed it up so I found a smaller dishes and made two tarts instead. Both were tasty but I feel some more experimentation is needed before I can settle on a recipe. Possibly finding a way to make pastry in this heat would also help, we were baking late night. Thats 10.36pm and still over 30°C.
While the tarts where in the over I made up a batch of lime and ginger curd to pass the time. I had originally learned to make lemon curd making Delia Smiths lemon curd layer cake. Lemon drizzle cake was my old flatmates favorite cake and he requested I make him a lemon based birthday cake. Plain old lemon drizzle cake is rather lovely but I didn’t think it was quite special enough for a birthday cake. I trawled my recipe books looking for something and came up blank but an internet search came up trumps with the Delia number. Its an awesome cake and totally lemon-tastic. I haven’t yet tried it with lime rather than lemon but I used the lemon curd recipe to make lime curd for its own sakes as well as the filling for an experimental yet sucessful lime miringue pie. I swop the 1 lemon for 1 1/2 to 2 (depending on size and juice content) limes and zest and add a little of my secret ingredient, grated ginger, about a teaspoon for this amount and I just mulitply up the recipe to make as much as I want.
Today I used a slightly different recipe, just to mix things up a little. I tried Michel Roux’s recipe from his “Eggs” book. It uses yolks rather than whole eggs so the colour remains very bright yellow rather than the slightly more muted green you get by using whole eggs in your lime curd. The consistency is slightly runnier, it didn’t thicken as much whilst I cooked it but it has set well in the fridge and is very tasty. I think I prefer Delia’s recipe overall as you get green curd when its lime and yellow when its lemon, but this one still works very well.
WARNING: if you want to taste your mixture to check its limeyness, be my guest. But be prepared as that lovely raw yolk flavour doesn’t quite go with the lime. In fact the aftertaste is rather strange. Don’t let this put you off making curd though.
200g caster sugar
grated zest and juice of 3 lemons (swopped for 4 small limes)
4 egg yolks
And the secret ingredient, a 2 inch piece of ginger grated.
My method differs a little as the book tells me 10 mintues is enough to cook the curd but this took a lot longer.
Mix the sugar, lime, ginger and eggs together in a heatproof bowl. Mix in the butter with the bowl over a pan of simmering water making sure that the bowl is higher than the water level.
Keep returning to give it a stir with a whisk ever minute or so, it should take about 20 minutes to thicken up. Delia’s recipe makes a good point that you don’t need to hover over the bowl stirring constantly. I have wandered off and completely forgotten about it for 15 minutes before and it was still OK. I don’t advise this as it didn’t have that velvety texture but it hadn’t completely solidified so still had good flavour.
Once you have your desired consistency take it off the heat. You can see the colour has changed from slightly translucent to a vibrant and opaque yellow as the yolks cook. Store in a sterilised jar in the fridge. It will thicken from a pourable ooze to spreadable sunshine whilst in the fridge and should keep for 2 weeks.
I had to try a little bit straightaway and it made a marvellous accompianment to some very ripe pineapple and plain yogurt. Its mainly being used for adding to homemade yogurt as a welcome change to honey and vanilla but I’m also spreading on chunky cut white toast as a little treat.