Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kaffir Limes and Limequats (Alternate Lime Meringue Pie)

That in not a lime that I left out in the rain overnight. It is a kaffir lime, a delicate and fragrant variety of citrus sometimes available at my neighborhood grocer. K-limes are prized mostly for their flavorful leaves, but the fruit is lovely. The zest is very strong, so use just a bit in combination with other citrus zests, and the juice is pleasantly tart and floral, but scant, so you may want to stretch it with some lemon juice as well.

These are limequats, a kumquat-lime hybrid. Are they not very cute? They are way too sour to eat out of hand (I can see Krakow and Lemberg) but the zest is really something special, and the tart juice combines beautifully with lemon for a lemon and alternate lime pie, a dressing, or to squeeze into tea.

I had no sooner finished the lemon pie I made yesterday (I had some help with this) than I just needed to have another, made even more wonderful by this delicate crisp pastry, and the addition of the juices and zests of these alternate limes to the mix.

Seen these before, Sweetnicks?

Lemon and Alternate Lime Meringue Pie

This will make about eighteen little tartlets or one 9-inch tart

Sour Cream Crust for Custard Pies

6 ounces (1 ½ cups) all-purpose flour

pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

4 ounces (1 stick, ½ cup) sweet butter

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons water

combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir together the sour cream and water in a glass and pour into the dough. Mix with a fork so that everything holds together. Wrap the dough and chill for twenty minutes or so.

Roll the dough to 1/8 inch for a full-size pie, or somewhat thinner for smaller tarts, and line your pie and tart pans. Bake at 350 for ten to fifteen minutes, or until golden.

Lemon and Alternate Lime Filling

1 cup water

¼ cup cornstarch

½ cup sugar

3 yolks

2 tablespoons butter

3 ounces juice (Juice of 1 or 2 lemons, one kaffir lime, and 2 limequats, depending on your yield)

zest of 1 lemon, 1 kaffir lime and 2 limequats (1 generous tablespoon zest)

1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla-scented bourbon

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add some of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Then add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the citrus juice, zest and vanilla or bourbon. Allow the filling to cool somewhat before filling the tart shells.

Meringue

3 egg whites

½ cup sugar

mix the sugar and eggwhites in the large bowl of your mixer. If you remember to do this when you start, leave them in a warm place to dissolve while you prepare the pastry crust and citrus curd. Otherwise, whisk the sugar and egg whites together over simmering water until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer the bowl to the mixer and whip to soft peaks. Taking the step of melting the sugar will give you a more delicious and satiny meringue. It will also be prettier than a raw meringue.

Assemble the tarts

Raise the oven to 400. Spoon the citrus curd into the tart shells and pipe or spoon the meringue on top. Place the tarts on a sheet pan, and bake in the top part of the oven for ten minutes, or until browned on the tips and edges.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Miriam said...

odd. josh and i had limequats from fairway this week that were bright orange like kumquats but with slightly more acid flesh with a limeish flavor (good, as kumquat flesh is rather bland to me) and a sweet peel. Could this be the fruit equivalent of directionality of hybrids? (a genetic phenomenon in which the hybrid result varies by male/female parentage- so Mr Lime and Mrs Kumquat would have different children than Mrs Lime and Mr Kumquat (or pollen and ovule or what have you that goes on in plant reproduction).))

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Nomi said...

Is this crust really only for custard pies? Please say I can use it for my fruit pies this summer.

10:57 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

miriam,

this is a very interesting question. I had heard about directionality with animals, and it makes sense that it would work for plants too. Did I read once that you can get different offspring from plums and apricots, pluots, and another thing I've forgotten?

nomi,

yes, of course, make it in good health with any pie. It is just particularly suited to custard pies because it stays crisp under custards that try to wilt any crust they encounter.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Lane said...

Quite the daring baker... To complete the challenge and then revamp the recipe right away the next day. Kudos!
Jane of VeganBits.com

2:20 AM  
Blogger the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

Jane, thanks for noticing!

I keep promising myself to try more vegan alternatives--maybe I will revamp it again.

3:53 AM  
Blogger the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

miriam again,
I think we had the same fruit. if one was from Mr Lime rather than Mrs Lime, it would have another name, right, like kumime or something. (thinking Ligers and Tyglons)
Just like some limes are sweeter and juicier, we must have just had differing batches of limequats.

4:02 AM  
Anonymous Nomi said...

The opposite/inverse of pluots are apriums. Pluots are plum-like with a softer skin and a more delicate texture, but recognizably plums. Apriums are a definitely closer to apricots but larger and a little firmer than regular apricots. I always wondered how they got two such different products from the same genetic combination. I will look up this directionality thing.

I am bookmarking the crust (or pastry, as we say in Canada) recipe to use in approximately six weeks when the rhubarb comes in.

1:26 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

nomi,
thanks!
ah yes, apriums (apria?) I remember now. Of course there are also countless varieties of plum and apricot out of which to breed various pluots and apriums.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Dolores said...

I've always wondered what a kaffir lime looked like (I've used their leaves in Thai-inspired recipes). And a coworker gave me a bag of limequats earlier this month and I've been wondering how to employ them. Thanks for the culinary lesson!

6:10 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

dolores,

wow, harmonic blog convergence. it sounds like you just have to make this pie!

8:21 AM  

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