27 July 2008
Believe it or not - these are limes.
Some years ago I planted a lime tree in a large pot, the idea being that I would be able to pick a fresh lime for my occasional gin and tonic. That worked well for the first few years when the tree produced only a small amount of fruit. Of course, over time the tree has grown bigger and more productive and there is no way I can drink enough G & Ts to use up the limes while still remaining on two feet and reasonably coherent. This year, I had the biggest crop ever. My lovely little green limes have all grown as big as lemons and turned yellow on the tree. I could have juiced them and frozen the juice, but I have a bag of frozen lime ice blocks in the freezer from last season. What to do?
Maggie to the rescue.
Looking through Maggie Beer's wonderful book "Maggie's Harvest" I found she had written a section on limes and she says that green limes are simply under-ripe while a ripe yellow lime has much more aroma, flavour and juice. She is right. I was amazed at the amount of juice which came from this fruit.
She also says that they are interchangeable with lemons for most uses and bring an extra tang to a dish as they are stronger in flavour. Based on that advice I have been squeezing lime juice into everything and it really does add an extra zing.
Sticking with the interchangeable idea, I decided to see if I could use limes instead of lemons and make a lime curd. I could and I did and it tastes fantastic.
Then I had to decide how to use this lime curd so I decided to turn Nigella Lawson's lemon gems into lime gems.
Here is the recipe.
126g vegetable shortening, softened
125g unsalted butter, softened
75g caster sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tbs lemon/lime juice
zest of 1 lemon/lime
1/4 tsp salt
275 g plain flour
50g ground almonds
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
In large bowl, beat the vegetable shortening, butter and sugar together, then add the egg yolk, lemon/lime juice, zest and salt. Gently fold in the flour in two goes, then the ground almonds and cornflour. Take care not to be too heavy-handed, as rigorous blending will make it very sticky. If too sticky put the dough in the fridge to chill for a while.
Form into balls the size of cherry tomatoes and place the dough 2 cms apart on prepared baking trays. Make an indentation with your thumb in each biscuit and cook for 20 - 25 minutes. (Mine cooked much more quickly than this so keep an eye on them while cooking because they brown very quickly.) They should appear golden and firm.
As soon as they come out of the oven, fill each biscuit with lemon/lime curd. When they all filled, transfer to wire racks to cool.
Makes about 40.
Using the only remaining green lime on the tree,
I think it is time for a G & T so that I can raise it in a toast to the not so humble lime.