Sunday, December 2, 2007

A dearth of lime products.

Very nice indeed nonetheless.

I love lime marmalade, particularly Wilkins & Sons Ltd. Tiptree Lime Marmalade, and I can't find it anywhere. Woe.

I searched for it in vain in San Francisco last Thanksgiving weekend, but no go -- not even at that shrine to arcane food, the Saturday Ferry Market. Nowadays I only go there to buy Acme bread (the pumpernickel raisin rolls are the closest I've found to Orwasher's in NYC) and Bariani olive oil, because I'm one of those contrary persons who think it lost all its soul when it moved from that funky parking lot on Bay and Green (or wherever the hell it was) to the hotsy-totsy indoor Ferry Marketplace, so it was a big deal for me to go there amongst the bridge-and-ferry people and all the tourists. Feh.

Anyway, not even the fancy jam makers had anything approximating the lime marmalade of my dreams. June Taylor (which always makes me laugh, as I admit I'm old enough that I automatically append "Dancers!" to her name) had a Rangipur lime jelly, which was really a marmalade and while appropriately astringent, bitter and sweet (those little orange Rangipur limes are killers), it really wasn't right. Sigh.

So I came home and in keeping with the theme of this blog, made the mindless lime curd from the recipe I stole from Trumps many years ago. I used to make gallons of this stuff every week, and the beauty part about this recipe is that you don't need to nursemaid it, unlike some curd recipes people were always trying to foist off on me that required constant whisking or stirring. You put this over simmering water and give it a stir every now and again until it gets thick, then you strain it and chill it. BFD. Believe me, when you're making twelve other desserts plus cookies and bread and whatnot, you really appreciate a recipe which requires little or no attention.

This curd is great on toast, bagels, English muffins, scones or biscuits. It makes a dandy tart filling (just fill a prebaked crust and bake again at 325F for 10-20 minutes or until set; cool and chill). It makes the greatest no-brainer lime mousse: just fold equal parts curd and stiffly whipped unsweetened heavy cream together and dollop or pipe into serving glasses and chill. I first did this when I was making desserts at a tiny cafe/catering company in the Valley years ago, and one customer used to come in on a weekly basis to try to wrangle the recipe out of us. "I don't know how you do it!" she'd say, taking spoonful after spoonful. "It's so tart, but so buttery at the same time." No one ever told her the big "secret," because we were mean that way.

I will say that this recipe started out as a regular old lemon curd, but as that sage food writer Ann Hodgman once so astutely noted, anything made with lemons is automatically more interesting made with limes. Oh, and, unfortunately, this does not make a good cake filling. For that you'd have to shore it up with gelatin, which is disgusting.

Lime Curd

Makes about 4 or 5 cups

2 cups granulated sugar

5 extra large eggs

3 yolks

The zest of 4 limes

1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lime juice

1 major pinch sea salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Have ready a medium bowl with a large sieve set over it. Also, fill a 3 quart or larger (preferably larger -- I use a small stockpot) pot halfway full of water and heat over high heat until simmering. Lower the heat at this point but make sure it's still simmering.

In a large-ish stainless steel bowl, whisk sugar, eggs and yolks together just to mix (don't overbeat and put a lot of air into it). Whisk in zest, lime juice and salt. Place bowl over simmering water and cook, stirring occasionally with whisk, until curd thickens and looks like, well, pudding. This will take anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes. When thick, strain through sieve into the waiting bowl. Using a metal or wooden spoon, stir in butter until incorporated.

Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to keep a skin from forming, and cover the bowl with more wrap. Chill thoroughly.

You can put this curd into jars which you've sterilized in the dishwasher and give them to people who will love it, just so long you tell them to store it in the refrigerator. They will think you are just like Martha Stewart. The curd will keep, well refrigerated, at least a week.

© 2007 Sandy Soto Teich

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced anywhere without the author's express permission.


charmcitycakes said...

I just made a batch of what I call Country scones. They're rough on the outside but crisp and tender inside with no currants raisins or anything but stodge to keep them together. I slathered on this lime curd and ate two of them immediately and then ate my sons leftovers as well. It was excellent your majesty. I feel like I used to in college when I had the time to sit and make a pot of tea and savor the morning. really really satisfying and cozy. Thanks Sandy.

Marian Chen said...

I've looked for the Tiptree lime marmalade in New York, London, Toronto, Montreal and Paris, and the only place I have ever found it is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. go figure. And even weirder, the lime marmalade is the only Tiptree jam carried in that particular store.