Tag Archives: lime

at summer’s end

Hello. My name is Andrea. I write this food blog, Bella Eats. You may remember me, or due to my long absence you may not. I’m sorry about that, truly I am. I miss this space! Life has been busy. So so so busy. I started teaching architectural design at the University of Virginia. Teaching. At a University. !!! And before that teaching officially began there was training for teaching. And in the middle of all of that I photographed the wedding of a dear friend I’ve known since the fifth grade. Fifth grade! She was such a beautiful bride, and if you’re interested in seeing some of those images please check out the AHPhoto blog.

Oh, and I started a photography business. Because I love taking pictures of people. And buildings. And food. So if you know anybody who needs somebody to take pictures of people, or buildings, or food…feel free to send them my way. I’d appreciate it so so much. And thank you, all of you, who have commented and tweeted and emailed your support. You’re the best, truly.

And yes, I am still working for an architecture firm here in Charlottesville. So…yeah. Busy.

It feels as though summer has completely passed by Bella Eats. Since June I’ve posted about cherries, blackberries, and blueberries. There have been no luscious heirloom tomatoes, no juice-laden peaches, no golden ears of corn. I even have a new trick for releasing kernels from their cob without making a complete mess of the kitchen counter and floor, and I haven’t had the opportunity to share it with you. That is sad my friends, because this trick is a good one. It will change the way you view corn entirely. Soon, I hope.

Way back in the middle of July our dear friend Kristin celebrated her birthday. She celebrated with us, and with this lime tart topped with blackberries from our garden. Blackberry season is just about over, a sign that summer is drawing to a quick close. Our bush has shed it’s bounty completely, leaving only the tiny shriveled berries that didn’t ever come to full ripeness. Our freezer is packed full of quart-size bags of the frozen fruit, our pantry shelf stocked with various forms of blackberry jam. This tart was one of the last recipes made this summer using berries fresh from the garden, and looking at these pictures already has me feeling nostalgic.

What is it about food that stirs memories stronger than those evoked by any other sense? While blackberries don’t take me back to any point of my childhood, they do plop me down solidly in our backyard here in Charlottesville. For the past 4 years we’ve spent countless July and August evenings standing in our garden, bowls in hand, fingers stained purple, arms eaten by mosquitos, quietly and contently plucking berries one-by-one from a bush WE planted. I know that forever, no matter where we are, when I pop a freshly picked blackberry into my mouth I will be transported back to this place. I love that.

If you’re lucky you can still find pints of deep purple blackberries at your local farmers’ market, and if you do, I recommend you make this dessert before summer’s end. The crust is quite perfect, nearly the consistency and flavor of a shortbread cookie. It doesn’t flake and melt in your mouth like many pastry shells, but instead offers a firm vessel on which to carry a scoop of zippy lime curd. And scoop you will, because this tart never really sets up to a solid, sliceable state. Which is fine by me. The delightful combination of sweet shortbread, tart curd, and fresh blackberries had us all going back for seconds, despite our use of a spoon rather than a fork.

For the record, I am so unhappy with the spacing that this new WordPress theme defaults too, but I just haven’t had the time/energy to dig into the CSS code to fix it. And, we’re working on a redesign of Bella Eats to be launched right around the two year (two years!) anniversary of this site at the end of October.  So, please bear with me and the awkward/awful spacing of the text in my recipes… Thank you.

Lime Tart with Blackberries

from bon appetit, June 2010

Ingredients

for the lime curd:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

for the topping:

  • (3) 6-ounce containers fresh blackberries
  • 1 tbsp blackberry jam

for the crust:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 large pinch of salt

Method

for the lime curd:

  1. Set a fine metal strainer over a medium bowl and set aside. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in another medium metal bowl to blend.  Whisk in lime juice.
  2. Set bowl over large saucepan of gently simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until curd thickens and an instant-read thermometer inserted into curd registers 178ºF to 180ºF, about 6 minutes.  Immediately pour curd through prepared strainer set over bowl.
  3. Add butter to warm strained curd; let stand 1 minute, then whisk until blended and smooth.  Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd, covering completely.  Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours.*

*Lime curd can be made up to 2 days ahead.  Keep chilled.

for the crust:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg yolk; beat to blend. Add flour and salt and mix on low speed until mixture resembles large peas. Using hands, knead in bowl just until dough comes together.
  2. Transfer dough to a 9-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Break dough into pieces, then press dough evenly up sides and onto bottom of pan. Cover and chill 1 hour.**
  3. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Uncover crust and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.

**Dough can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

assembly:

  1. Remove sides from tart pan and place crust on plate. Spread lime curd evenly in baked crust. Arrange blackberries in concentric circles on top of tart.
  2. Place am in small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave until jam is melted, about 15 seconds. Whisk to loosen and blend, adding water by teaspoonfuls if thick. Brush jam over berries.*** (I only brushed jam over the outer ring, because I liked how they looked without the glaze.)

***Tart can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Chill uncovered.

a respite from gray skies

Coconut and Lime.  A combination that brings to mind a stretch of white sand, bright hot sunshine, palm trees swaying in a warm ocean breeze, the scent of sunscreen permeating salty air.  From the vantage point of a low-seated, brightly-striped beach chair I can see the topaz water spread before me, a lovely backdrop for my fuchsia-coated toenails.  On my right a fruity cocktail with a lemon-hued umbrella waits patiently for my next sip.  In my lap rests a delightful book, set aside for a moment while I take in the view before me.

A tropical island.  Are you with me?  I hope so.  Pull up a chair, apply your sunscreen, grab a drink and settle in for a nice long chat.  We need this, don’t we?  A respite from gray skies that threaten to pour ice and snow over grass that has just recently emerged from underneath the last snowfall.  An opportunity to replace bulky sweaters, scarves and overcoats with swimsuits, gauzy tops and sandals.  An excuse to make Mojitos and Margaritas instead of Hot Toddies and Irish Coffee.

If only I could escape to such a place.  Right now.  Just hours before the first few flakes of the impending snowstorm start to fall. Unfortunately, neither my bank account nor my work schedule can afford such a jaunt to the South at a moment’s notice. Instead, I pushed my weekly grocery trip up by one day, stocking up tonight on items needed for a Saturday to be spent testing recipes as snow softly falls outside the kitchen window.

Rather than a polka-dot bikini and broad-rimmed hat I’ll be shuffling around in slippered feet and comfy sweats.  On the agenda? Spicy sausage and potato soup, some sugar cookies, a chickpea salad.  All are good cold weather fare, but I can’t help but think that maybe I should be thinking a little differently. That maybe I should be whipping up another pan of these Coconut Lime Bars that cured my Winter woes two weeks ago.

How does a tropically-themed dinner party in the middle of Winter sound?  That’s not such a bad idea, is it?  We’d gather some friends, make a pan of enchiladas, a bright salad, some guacamole, and a tangy citrus dessert. We could pull the last few limes off of our little indoor tree (the only way citrus could possibly survive a winter in Virginia) and shake up some zippy margaritas.  I’ll load the iPod with Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley and turn the heat way up.  We’ll chat about food and travel and books until the ‘ritas kick in and folks start climbing on my dining table to belt out “one love…one heart…let’s get togeeeeether and feel alllll right!” with their arm slung across their neighbors shoulder for support.  And nobody is allowed to mention the snow outside. Nobody.

Would you come?  I hope so.  These bars might just be worth your trip.

I made these gluten-free and dairy-free for a friend that shared them with us two weeks ago.  Feel free to substitute all-purpose flour and regular butter for my ingredients.

Coconut Lime Bars

adapted from Gourmet, January 1995

makes 9 bars

For Crust

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp gluten-free all-purpose blend flour (or regular all-purpose flour)
  • 3/4 stick (6 tbsp) Earth Balance vegan butter (or regular unsalted butter)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For Custard

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (or regular all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp fresh lime juice (from about 5 limes)
  • 1 tbsp freshly-grated lime zest (from about 2 limes)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325* and butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan, knocking out excess flour.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl blend together flour, butter substitute, 1/3-cup coconut, confectioners’ sugar and salt until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Pat mixture into prepared pan and bake in middle of oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before pouring custard in.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 300*.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs and granulated sugar until combined well.  Stir in flour, lime juice and zest.
  5. Pour mixture over crust and bake in middle of oven for 20-25 minutes until just the center of the custard is not set.  Top custard with 1/3 cup toasted coconut and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until all of custard is just set.
  6. Cool in pan on rack for 1 hour, then chill in refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.