Michelle Darmody: Limes are mini globes of flavour

Limes are mini globes of flavour. They are my favourite citrus fruit to bake with, as they have such an unusual and distinctive taste.

Limes use to be extremely expensive to buy here but the price has gotten better over the past few years. At times you can get quite a dry one which does not yield much juice.

To help prevent this — although not all can be saved — you can roughly roll the lime on a hard surface before you slice it open.

The pressure exerted helps to release the juice. Like all citrus fruits they are a great source of vitamin C.

The zest of a lime can be used to flavour simple buns, biscuits and cakes.

They are excellent used in savoury cooking as well as sweet baking.

Pickled limes accompany many Indian dishes and in Mexico they are squeezed over fish and used to bind the dough to make the ubiquitous corn tortillas. That also helps give them their wonderful taste.

The same ginger base is used in two recipes here. It is quite a versatile way to line a tart tin and with only two ingredients is quick to make.

You can use other biscuits if you prefer to make either of the tarts without the hint of ginger.

The lime and coconut are a nice tropical mix that brighten up a winter’s afternoon. You can use some coconut milk in the icing if you prefer a stronger taste of coconut.

The loaf lasts for a few days if stored in an airtight tin.

Lime and ginger tart

 

Ingredients:

  • 300g of ginger nut biscuits, crushed
  • 100g of melted butter
  • 45g of golden caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 5 limes both the zest and juice
  • of each
  • 390g of condensed milk

Method:

Grease and flour an 8inround, loose-based, tart tin.

Heat your oven to 180 degrees.

Blitz the ginger nut biscuits and melted butter until combined.

Press the mixture into your prepared case and bake for 15 minutes.

Set aside to cool.

While the case is baking whisk the sugar, egg yolks, lime zest and vanilla until it has doubled in volume.

Turn the mixer to its lowest setting and add the condensed milk and juice.

Scoop the mixture into the cooled tart case and spread it evenly.

Bake for 20 minutes until almost set.

Allow the tart to cool completely in the tin.

Lime and coconut loaf

Ingredients:

  • 175g of soft butter
  • zest of 4 limes
  • 160g of caster sugar
  • 125g of plain flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50g of desiccated coconut

For the drizzle:

  • 70g of icing sugar
  • 100mls of fresh lime juice and the zest of 1 lime

Method:

Heat the oven to 180C and line a one-pound loaf tin.

Beat the butter, lime zest and sugar until pale and creamy.

Sieve together the flour and baking powder.

Add the eggs, one at a time to the butter mixture, adding one tablespoon of flour with each egg and beating thoroughly but gently before adding the next egg.

Fold in the remaining flour with a large metal spoon, then fold in the desiccated coconut.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, lightly smoothing over the surface with the back of a spoon.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the surface is nicely golden and the loaf feels springy to the touch.

Shortly before the cake is ready, prepare the drizzle by dissolving the sugar in the lime juice, add the zest. When the cake comes out of the oven, prick the surface deeply, but not to the bottom, all over with a skewer.

Spoon half the syrup over the surface and leave to cool.

Once you turn the cake out of the tin spooning the remainder of the drizzle over the top.

Allow to cool in the tin.

Mini lime and chocolate tartlets

 

Ingredients:

  • 300g of ginger nut biscuits, crushed
  • 100g of melted butter
  • 250 mls of cream
  • 250g of dark chocolate, broken into small even size pieces
  • Zest of 4 limes and extra for decorating
  • a handful of pistachio nuts, finely chopped

Method:

Grease and flour six mini round,  loose-based tart tins, about 3in each.

Heat your oven to 180C.

Blitz the ginger nut biscuits and melted butter until combined.

Press the mixture into your prepared tins and bake for 10 minutes.

Set aside to cool completely.

It is good to place them in the fridge to make them completely cold.

Heat the cream until it is shivering and about to boil.

Remove it from the heat and stir in the chocolate pieces until they have melted and it is a smooth ganache.

Stir in the lime zest.

Allow the ganache to cool slightly and then pour

it into cases.

Sprinkle with the extra zest and chopped pistachios.


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