Sitting in class last Thursday, I was handed two limes of differing sizes. The typical Persian lime and a small, surprisingly green Key lime. And with that, I knew I had to take an approach to the assignment of writing about limes and including a recipe to use the key limes. I sent my boyfriend to the grocery store with the request to pick up a bag of key limes if they were available, and he returned with a bag, but not before calling me to ask how to tell if limes are any good. (In case you're wondering, scald - those tiny brown patches - is okay, but if they're dried up, mushy, or wrinkly, that's bad.)
It took me three days to finally decide, but when I did, I decided on something that is more of an ingredient than a final product: Key Lime Curd. And since I made that, I needed to make some scones to eat with them. And then, as a wonderfully simple and delicious dessert last night, Key Lime "Mousse," which was nothing more than a half cup of heavy cream whipped to nice soft peaks, 1/4 cup of the lime curd, and then some vigorous whisking until it was an even consistency. Now that's simple and elegant.
Key Lime Curd
Yield: ½ cup
If key limes are not available, substitute Persian limes in this recipe.
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice, from about 9 small limes
1 tablespoon grated key lime zest
1. Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan. Be sure that the mixing bowl you choose to make the curd in fits in the pan without touching the bottom.
2.With a hand mixer on medium or wire whisk, whip the eggs and sugar together into pale yellow and fluffy, about 1 minute with a mixer. Whisk in lime juice and zest.
3. Rest the bowl over the pot of simmering water. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is thick and custard-like, about 10 to 15 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 160ºF.
4. Fill a large bowl about halfway with ice and a cup of water to make an ice bath. Once the curd is thick, remove it from the stove and rest the bowl in ice bath, stirring occasionally, until cool.
5. Use immediately, or transfer to a container to store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.