Michelle Darmody: Adding lime zest to winter baking

Michelle Darmody: Adding lime zest to winter baking

Lime zest adds a tropical citrus bust to baking which is particularly welcome during the winter months. Like all zest, you do not need much for it to pack a punch.

Lime zest can add depth and enhance flavour in savoury as well as sweet cooking.

Its vibrancy shines through when stirred into a rich gravy for roast chicken or added to brown butter, before it is poured over a piece of pan-fried white fish.

I generally look for limes that have a bright green rind and feel heavy in the hand. The heavier the fruit, generally the more juice inside.

Most citrus fruits that arrives on Irish shores have been coated in wax. The wax is thought to make the fruit look more appetising; exporters also say that it helps to preserve the fruit on its long journey.

Some shops will have unwaxed citrus fruits, but most will not.

I soak waxed fruit in warm water for about five minutes then vigorously rub it with a clean tea towel before zesting.

A microplane rather than box grater is better for getting into the curves and slope of the fruit. It may be an obvious tip, but it is important to grate your fruit before squeezing it, as it is virtually impossible to do it the other way around.

Lime shortbreads

Michelle Darmody: Adding lime zest to winter baking

  • 110g of soft butter
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • zest of three limes
  • 175g of plain flour

Heat the oven to 160C and line two flat baking trays with parchment.

Beat the butter and sugar until combined, Add in the lime zest. Sieve in the flour and bring the dough together.

Then knead with your hands for about a minute until it is smooth.

Roll on a lightly floured surface and cut the dough with a biscuit cutter, placing them a centimetre apart on the prepared baking tray. Bake until the shortbreads are starting to turn golden, about 20 minutes.

Allow to cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar if you wish.

Lime posset with dark chocolate shavings

  • 600ml of cream
  • 195g of caster sugar
  • The finely grated zest of five limes and 75ml of lime juice
  • 100g of dark chocolate, thickly shaved with a potato peeler

Heat the cream and sugar over a low heat, in a heavy- based saucepan. Allow the sugar to melt, stirring occasionally.

Once it begins to boil simmer it for a minute then remove for the heat and set aside for about 10 minutes.

First stir in the lime zest then the juice. Pour the mixture into six cooled glasses and place into the fridge until set.

Sprinkle the shavings of dark chocolate on top of each posset just before serving.

This is also really nice served with some lightly stewed raspberries instead of the chocolate.

Ricotta lime cake

Michelle Darmody: Adding lime zest to winter baking

  • 95g of plain flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder, sieved
  • 90g of soft butter
  • 130g of sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 190g of ricotta
  • Zest of 3 limes, 2 tsp of lime juice
  • 1 small apple, peeled and grated

Line an 8 inch round cake tin with parchment and pre heat your oven to 200 degrees.

Sieve the baking powder into the flour and mix well, set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together until combined, stir in the eggs, until they too are combined. Add in the flour mixture and stir it in completely, then add the ricotta, zest, juice and grated apple.

Scoop the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes until it is starting to brown on top. Allow to cool in the tin until it is cool enough to handle and then place onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely.

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