Sunday, 25 March 2007

Kitchen Diaries: Lime Tart


We’ve got a few relationships which involve swapping desserts, and last night we went to one couple’s house for beef. Last time Sallie came 'round she made the most incredible blueberry cheesecake, so it was the perfect excuse to make Nigel's Lime Tart.

Nigel says it’s easy, but it’s rather a lot of work. I thought I’d be able to do it without a problem in the two hours between when we got back from a visit to Arundel Castle and when we were supposed to be at their house, but it took about two and a half hours to make and cook.

The pastry is very very delicate, like homemade sugar cookies without the baking soda, so it needs loads of resting time. It can’t be rolled, so it gets logged and sliced and pressed.

The lime innards are very eggy, reminding me of a Bakewell tart, and yes, they are easy to prepare, but it takes 45 minutes to bake. I bow my head in shame at my lack of reading ahead.

The crust Nigel says to prepare is extremely buttery, and takes at least 10 minutes longer to pre-bake (and become “dry to the touch”) than he recommends. By that point, the edges were browner than a discerning pie crust maker would like, and there was still another chunk of time in the oven with the insides. I had to rush through this part, which means that the tops were overly cooked and the crust’s insides were still too soggy to stand up on their own.

At least two cookbooks have assured me that pie crusts do not burn after being pre-baked. They both lie.

As for the tasting, the tart came after a particularly lovely pot roast and was a huge success. There were general calls for seconds all around. We practically licked the tin clean. It was a perfect mixture of custardy and sour. Very moist and not too gooey. Next time, and there will be a next time, I’ll plan ahead and clear my schedule for the afternoon.

Buy the book cheap through our Amazon store and you can make your own Lime Tart.

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