Saturday, December 17, 2005

Lime Curd



I have a great deal of sympathy for luddites of every variety, though not, perhaps, so much sympathy that I am willing to call them "traditionalists," as they would likely prefer. If you want to do things the old fashioned way, then more power to you, especially if you don't mind doing all that extra work, and even more especially if you don't mind that I won't do all that extra work when an easier way is available.

And while I don't count myself among the luddites, neither am I an early adopter. I will wait, thank you, for the pioneers to work out the problems and content myself with the second generation.

Walking this middle path seems to me especially useful when it comes to microwave cookery. I have often thought that the luddites and the pioneers were somewhat responsible for each other. The idea that the microwave is great for everything -- when it clearly isn't -- gives ammunition to the luddites to say that it's really not good for anything, which is equally inaccurate.

The simple fact is that every tool has its uses, and it is wise to stick to those uses. You should not use a microwave to make baked potatoes, but you should absolutely use it to make ganache.

And lime curd.

You can, of course, make lime curd on top of the stove. You can even make ganache on top of the stove, but in both cases you will put yourself to considerably more effort and at considerably greater risk of burning the food by using a burner and a saucepan. If you use the microwave, you will also have the advantage of being able to leave your food unattended while you do other things, and that is no small consideration.

Lime Curd

1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
zest from two limes, grated
2 eggs

In a four-cup glass measure, put the butter, sugar, lime juice, and lime zest. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for four minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Whisk about a third of the hot lime mixture into the eggs to warm then and then whisk the warmed eggs back into the hot lime mixture.

Cook on high for two minutes. Whisk until smooth and then cook on high for two more minutes and whisk until smooth again. Let cool.


You can replace all that whisking with an immersion blender if you like. When you first remove the cooked lime and egg mixture from the microwave, it will look like scrambled eggs, but it quickly becomes smooth again. Usually. For reasons that I do not pretend to understand, sometimes no amount of whisking keeps the eggs and butter from separating. If this happens to you, please do not panic. Dump the whole mess into the food processor and process for thirty seconds. It will be perfect.

I used extra large eggs because that's what I had in the refrigerator. If you're using large eggs, I think that two will still provide a lime curd that's plenty stiff, but if you want it stiffer, use three large eggs.

Lime curd is infinitely useful. I used the most recent batch I made in the cookies that are pictured at the top of this post, but it is a wonderful thing to have in the refrigerator for all sorts of things, including eating with a spoon.

4 Comments:

Anonymous lindy said...

Thank you. I now have a 4th use for the microwave.
The other three being:
1. melting chocolate, butter, or both together
2. reheating stuff I've already cooked, but not baked goods
3. cooking bacon

The third is, I think, a bit of a mixed blessing. The bacon is great, but the bacon grease gets disappeared-and you might wish you had it for making cornbread.

Lemon and lime curd are magically good. The first time I made lemon curd, I almost couldn't believe it was possible to make such a thing from these ingredients. I like it on toast. But then I do tend to like things on toast.

12:44 PM  
Blogger anapestic said...

If you see a used copy of Barbara Kafka's Microwave Gourmet, you should really pick it up. It's where the original lemon curd recipe that I've adapted into lime curd came from, and it is loaded with excellent uses for the microwave. She is a much more avid proponent of microwave cookery than I am, and there are plenty of recipes in the book that I'd just use a conventional oven for, but it is a worthy addition to most cooks' libraries.

3:29 PM  
Blogger meretrice i. d'oscena said...

Don't forget that you can use your microwave to thaw your frozen Amy's Organic burrito, which you then cook to crispy perfection in the other can't-live-without-it kitchen tool: The George Foreman Grill.

Those cookies look extra yummy and curdalicous. Thanks for an easy recipe; I have used store-bought curd before but find it to be too sweet to use for desserts.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for such a wonderful and easy recipe!! My daughter is allergic to lemons, but this fits the bill perfectly! I think I may make an angel food cake to go with it.

P.S.Mine turned out perfect using 2 large eggs. I stirred every 60 sec. after adding the egg mixture and mine didn't curdle, although I decided to stick it in the blender anyway. It thickened up really nice and is very tasty!

7:03 PM  

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