This week’s obsession: A Lime Tart
I’m really bad about learning my lesson. Usually I have to make the same mistake three or four times just to make sure that it’s really a mistake and THEN I learn from it. Which is how we got today’s pastry. Remember the pineapple incident from a few weeks ago? Well in all honesty that was entirely my fault. However, this week’s issue was not my fault! Let me set the scene:
I was placing my order for grocery delivery. I ordered two limes. The day they fulfill your order, the grocery store updates your online list to show if they are out of any specific items, and if they are out of it, what they have decided to replace it with. The grocery store said that they didn’t have two limes (I wanted to call them liars, but who do I say that to really?), and in the replacement column they listed that they gave me 2 organic limes instead. Great! I can work with that.
This is what they actually replaced it with:
What on earth am I going to do with TWO BAGS of organic limes?!?!
I sent this photo to some of my girlfriends, who responded with their confidence in my ability to properly use up two bags of limes in many different ways.
Their first suggestion was this:
To which I happily obliged... Several times over the last week in fact. (I had to get creative with it and started using this amazing spice blend that my neighbor gave me called Tajin on the rim instead of salt. So good!)
But then the tequila settled and I had to get serious. What was I going to do to make good use of all of these limes before they spoiled?! I had some friends coming over for dinner a few days after this pile of citrus arrived, so I knew dessert had to be lime-y.
At first my brain immediately suggested lime cheesecake, but since I’ve already done that, I had to keep thinking. Finally I landed on making a lime tart which was super convenient since lime green anything lends itself well to Halloween type decor.
Pro-tip: lime juice isn’t very green and will not appear very green after cooking, so it’s best to give it a little help with some food coloring. As you can see in my photos, my lime curd is VERY green. I only added two drops of food coloring so remember that a very little goes a looooooooooooong way.
Now, I want to share my tip of the week about this crust - a delicious graham cracker crust! Earlier last week a friend of mine asked about how to prevent air bubbles from blowing up the shape of her crust and I told her just to dock it (poke holes in the crust so that air may escape during the baking process instead of inflating the dough unevenly). However the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I answered her incorrectly. She didn’t ask me about a normal pie dough crust, she asked about a graham cracker crust.
Graham cracker crust isn’t really a solid mass until you bake it, therefore poking holes isn’t going to do much of anything. So I wrote her back and told her 1) that I was wrong, and 2) exactly how to fix the problem. And here is the correct answer:
Have you ever heard of pie weights? They are small weighted balls, usually made out of metal or ceramic, that chefs use to weigh down their pie crusts during par baking to prevent air bubbles. You can get them from most kitchen gadget suppliers like Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table.
However, I actually used to use something different for weighing down my crusts. When I was the pastry chef at a cafe in New Orleans, I would bake my quiche crusts with uncooked beans in the center instead of pie weights (I covered the crust with parchment paper first, THEN added the beans to weigh it down). I saved the beans and reused them every day for a much cheaper alternative to pie weights, so definitely consider that if you’re looking for a budget friendly option.
Either route you decide to take, you should end up with a very flat crust perfect for filing with the custard, pie filling, or curd of your choice!
After my crust cooled, I poured my lime curd on top of it and smoothed it out. To finish it off I piped a fun design of Creme Chantille on top of my lime curd, topped it with fresh lime zest for a garnish, then went to my rooftop to eat this delectable dessert fireside with some fine drinks and great friends.
I still have plenty of limes left -an entire bag, in fact - and am searching for dessert ideas to use them all up, so if you have any suggestions of desserts you like or something you would like to see me make, please leave me a comment!
Happy eating, y’all.