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Always to acclaim

Happy Two Days After Valentine’s Day! I hope you celebrated in style, which is more than we did. I typed most of this post on Valentine’s night, while Brandon worked at Delancey, slinging pizzas for all the lovers.  I did, however, rally to bake a banana bread.  Nothing says, I love you (or, You married your grandmother), like a banana bread on Valentine’s Day.

This is not a post about banana bread, just to clarify.

This is a post about lime curd.  Not lemon curd, but lime: "the superlative citrus," as our friend Niah, who is also the bar manager of Essex, likes to say. And if it seems like I only post sweets and baked goods anymore, I know, I know, you’re right. I’m sure it’ll pass.

This particular lime curd comes from a cookbook of my mother’s, Gourmet’s America, published in 1994 - a year that, I should admit, just for the sake of completeness, I spent mostly driving mopily around Oklahoma City, newly won driver’s license in my wallet, listening to Nine Inch Nails’s The Downward Spiral and having a lot of feelings for Trent Reznor.  Meanwhile, back at home, my mother was doing something of more lasting import, which is to say: while combing the bookshelf in the kitchen, pulling together ideas for a party, she found this recipe for lime curd. The idea was to serve the curd next to a pile of sugar cookies, and then your guests could "frost" their own cookies. She tried it. I remember ducking through the living room at some point during the party, noticing the stack of cookies and beside it a bowl of curd, creamy yellow with shards of green zest. I grabbed a cookie on the way up to my room, smeared it with as much lime curd as I could fit onto the edge of a knife, and wished, for the rest of the night, that I had taken two.

My mother has repeated the lime curd / sugar cookie trick several times since, always to acclaim. And when I became interested in a few things that were not Trent Reznor*, it was the first curd I ever made. I was intimidated at first, but fruit curd is easy alchemy: a stovetop custard, sort of, but with fruit juice instead of milk. This one isn’t a purely lime curd - it uses both lemon and lime juices, plus lime zest - but it nails it. It’s undoubtedly lime, fruity and fragrant, but the lemon helps to perk it up, to cut the sugar, eggs, and butter with added acidity. It’s an ideal texture for frosting a cookie, or for filling a cake, or folding into whipped cream to make a mousse.

That said, I don’t make it as often as I should, but that’s only because of my own biases: when I think of sweets, I think of chocolate first and citrus later. But it came to mind recently, when Matthew and I were brainstorming a forthcoming Spilled Milk episode on limes, so I made a batch. And when it tasted as good as I remembered, I took it to a book club meeting - some of us Delancey ladies have banded together to read books and, apparently, eat lime curd - along with a box of Walker’s Pure Butter Shortbread Scottie Dogs, and I am pleased to report that we enjoyed it more than Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin.

* For the record, I still have a thing for "The Perfect Drug." And, as I learned in a New Yorker profile, Reznor is a better dog owner than I am, because he actually remembers to brush his dog’s teeth.

Lime Curd
Adapted from Gourmet’s America

2 large eggs, beaten
1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, diced
½ cup (100 grams) sugar
2 Tbsp. lime zest
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
A pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan – I used a 2-quart – and set it over medium-low heat. Whisk until the butter is melted, and then continue to whisk constantly (or almost constantly; you don’t want to let it curdle or scorch) until the mixture is thickened, like jelly. As it thickens, you’re looking for it to hold the mark of the whisk, and if you lift the whisk, the mixture should hold its shape when it plops back into the pot. This will probably take about 10 to 12 minutes. When it’s ready, remove the curd from the heat, and press through a mesh strainer into a storage container.  Chill well before serving.

Note: If you want your finished lime curd to still be flecked with bits of green lime zest, you could skip the straining step. But I always worry about finding bits of cooked egg in my fruit curd, so I like to strain mine - and then I lose the zest, but oh well.


Anonymous Caitlin said...

My mouth is watering right now. I will have to buy some limes tomorrow!

10:59 PM, February 16, 2014  
OpenID Frances said...

Beeyootiful. And so many possibilities... Porridge with lime curd and raspberries? On toast? I made that boiled orange and almond cake (secret: microwave for 5 minutes, so much easier) and substituted a whole lime for a gloriously bitter cake - and frosted it with chocolate, more fool me. Next time, it will be lime on lime.

Happy Not Valentine's Day Any More.

P.S. You can be my grandmother anytime.

11:51 PM, February 16, 2014  
Anonymous DessertForTwo said...

Thanks for reminding me that I need to make homemade citrus curd and fold it into whipped cream. I'm positive nothing dreamier exists.

5:09 AM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger Amy at love made my home said...

I don't think that I have ever had lime curd, but I do love lemon curd and it if is half as nice that as that it must be wonderful!! xx

5:35 AM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger Ileana said...

Ooh, I want to try this in a cake!

8:50 AM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous Christine M. said...

Just when I think I can't possibly like you more, you come out as an angsty NIN fan. I was a few years behind you- The Fragile (left) was on repeat for a good year. And I'm also now called "grandma" by my friends for my un-ironic preference to crochet at home with tea or straight bourbon (or both) on a Friday night. I would've loved banana bread on V-day. :)

The curd looks so easy! Can't wait to try it.

9:11 AM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous Magda said...

Lime curd deliciousness aside, I love Trent Resnor, and when my partner and I first started going out back in the late '90s, he used to sing to me all the time "you are the perfect druuug, the perfect druuug, the perfect druuug" and I'd melt. Thanks for bringing back memories, Molly :)

9:34 AM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous wanderingeducators said...

I love ANYTHING lime. Big thanks to your mom, and you, for bringing this into our lives! I think it's a perfect antidote to this very cold and snowy Michigan winter.

9:42 AM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger Susan Mckee-Nugent said...

"MARRIED YOUR GRANDMOTHER" WHAT A HOOT! I too love curds and Nine Inch Nails although you are probably over him/them by now :) But that's a great idea, let those guests do the 'work'. Thanks.

9:54 AM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger Andi said...

I made lots of fruit curds last summer, and I found if I blended the eggs and citrus juice with something like an immersion blender (or a regular blender if you want) before heating them, there was no chance of chunks of just egg post-cooking. So you could keep the lime zest (and skip the straining.)

9:57 AM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger Victoria Plettner.Saunders said...

"Nothing says, I love you (or, You married your grandmother), like a banana bread on Valentine’s Day."

This gets the award for best line of the day.

10:34 AM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous Allyson said...

I've yet to make curd, but this looks fantastic. I might have to make some this week-I'm having dreams of stirring into yogurt for breakfast. Thanks Molly for the inspiration!

10:46 AM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous Victoria said...

I LOVE all flavors of citrus curd. Last year for the first time I found Seville oranges in New York City. And guess what I made? Seville Orange Curd (from Nigella's How to Eat)? It was spectacular. I made Clotide's Piège Cake and served it with a teeny bit of loosely whipped cream flavored with Mathide Orange XO Liqueur and the curd. It was spectacular!

Your mother's curd served with those little cookies sounds delightful. I'm heading for the store in a little while so I can snag all the ingredients and make them. Thanks.

10:57 AM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger Holly Quinn said...

I am not sure I have ever left a comment for you, so here is a chance for me to tell you I enjoy it very much and several times have used your recipes to everyone's ooh-ing pleasure.

Whenever I make curd (and I will be making this soon!) I use a double boiler. I have never had a problem with those icky blobs of cooked egg.

11:43 AM, February 17, 2014  
OpenID Laura said...

Hi Molly!

Two significant activities took place last week; I read your interview “Let Your Writing Speak for Itself, and Be Proud of It” on Dianne Jacob’s website, and I made Jimmy’s Pink Cookies, in heart shape, of course, for the third??? . . . fourth??? year in a row on Valentine’s Day. Despite the fact that life is crazy and who has any time for anything is still no excuse for waiting all these years to thank you for your beautiful writing and equally beautiful food. Oh, and hail to the pink cookie recipe certainly! :)

Best wishes,

P.S. Can’t wait to try the lime curd!

11:43 AM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous Vicki in Austin said...

I share your love of lime curd after having made "curds" from a variety of citrus - ruby red grapefruit, meyer lemon, blood orange, lime, and plain old lemon. The late Madelene Hill introduced me to the concept when I worked with her, and savoring that memory adds to my enjoyment.

11:51 AM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous Jennifer in Santa Cruz said...

You say you only post about sweets and baked goods like it's a BAD thing...I say keep it coming. This looks delicious and the scotty dogs are sooo cute.

12:52 PM, February 17, 2014  
OpenID unalaska said...

That sounds good. Definitely adding it to my repertoire.

1:03 PM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been wanting a Mexican lime tree for my back yard -- now I've got to get one so I can make lime curd!!

1:23 PM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger tigerlille said...

Thank goodness there was a little videoette of Mols on instagram to compensate for her absence in today's post!

1:28 PM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger A.S.U. said...

Why not add the zest after straining?

2:15 PM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm going to ask an ignorant question, could I substitute bottled key lime juice for the freshly squeezed lime juice and since I have an abundance lemons at the moment (living in Phx), what would happen if I used lemon zest instead of lime zest? I know this would change to whole taste but... Obviously, I've never made lemon or lime curd before.

So, so glad I got on your email list!!!! Now I don't miss any of your posts.

2:33 PM, February 17, 2014  
OpenID curlygirlpress said...

This is making my taste buds sing and I haven't even tried it yet. THEN you put in on Walker's. That's just low. = ) How long can I expect this to last in the fridge, since I think I'm the only lime lover in my household...?

3:21 PM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous kath the cook said...

Hi - love your writing and the recipes are really good too. This sounds terrific - doesn't look like it would make too much. How does it double OR does a little go a long way?

4:18 PM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger Anne said...

I'm mad about lemon curd and love limes but strangely have never tried lime curd. That's about to be changed.

4:25 PM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger Anne said...

I've always loved lemon curd and adore limes but have never tried lime curd. That's about to change after reading this! The doggie cookies are so cute. Where do you get the moulds? I live in Australia so might be difficult here.

4:28 PM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous Ella said...

Hey Molly, I already told you so on instagram, but in case you missed it: I tried to stop at delencey on Valentine's Day (+ family- we were visiting cousins in Seattle area)... but it was PACKED. We were told we'd have to wait an hour and 45 minutes at the least. Tell Brandon bravo... wish I could have let my family taste the glory that is his pizza! Next time :) great to meet you last summer and congrats on the new book!

5:40 PM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger lucinda smith said...

i now how a lot of feelings for shortbread cookies iced with lime curd. and i've never ene tasted them together. so thank you. sincerely and woefully (until i can make a batch of this deliciousness)


5:41 PM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous Improv said...

I made it with all lime juice and it was very tasty. Unfortunately I didn't get the butter emulsified and much of it separated. I don't think anyone is going to mind me trying a second batch.

6:23 PM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous Chrissy said...

I also always think chocolate over citrus, which is stupid because my favorite cake, and the one I make for my birthday every year, is vanilla cake filled with lemon curd. Sigh. This looks delicious!

7:21 PM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous molly said...

Curd! CURD!!!!!!!!! Curd is my first, fast love. So, SOOOOO good. (ahem).

We make it, often, lemon and lime, both. One trick we adopted ages ago (from Elinor Klivans' hairdresser; long story) was to blitz the whole shebang briefly, before cooking, which prevents the whole mess from ever curdling. I therefore cook it over medium-high, barely whisking, whereupon it is done in six minutes, or very near. This is me, living dangerously.

As to your mom, I think her brilliant: like a lemon bar, deconstructed, and without the bother of crust. And without the lemon. But, you know, there's the lime...

Also: lime curd + strawberries = a chocolate-toppler, any day. Oops. I think my biases are showing...

8:12 PM, February 17, 2014  
Anonymous Carlinne @Cook with 2 Chicks said...

I've never had lime curd. It sounds delicious. Folded into whipped cream? I must try!

3:06 AM, February 18, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for a lovely memoir of Gourmet, lime curd and the nineties.

I strain lemon curd for the reason you suggest. Adding a bit of zest to the curd after straining makes the finished product look and taste fresh.

Tiny query: ...something of lasting import....?

4:09 AM, February 18, 2014  
Blogger pinkbuttercream said...

A trick I picked up along the way was to reserve half the zest and add it to the curd post cooking and straining. This way the zest in the curd is bright and uncooked, it looks prettier, and tastes great (plus no lumps!)

6:12 AM, February 18, 2014  
Blogger Elizabeth Forbes said...

Hi this sounds great but like another poster said I use a double boiler, no need to sieve before potting. Made blackcurrant curd for Christmas presents, it has a wonderful flavour and the colour is amazing.

8:17 AM, February 18, 2014  
Anonymous Elizabeth in the UK said...

This sounds great but like another poster said I use a double boiler, no need to strain before potting. I made blackcurrant curd for Christmas, it has a really intense flavour and the colour is amazing.

8:20 AM, February 18, 2014  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Oh, Molly,

Please tell us where you got the cookie cutter to make those adorable cookies.

3:03 PM, February 18, 2014  
Blogger undercover caterer said...

Ooh, lime curd. I've used Meyer lemons, regular lemons, oranges, mandarins, grapefruit and even big old pomelos....but never limes.
Thanks for giving me my 'duh' moment for today!

11:11 PM, February 19, 2014  
Blogger Make.Good said...

I have never made curd. You have convinced me.

6:19 AM, February 20, 2014  
Anonymous Indira said...

I have always been wary of curd - the name alone makes me think of curdled, spoiled things which is never fun. Plus I'm not really a fan of custard of milky things. I do have to say though that your writing is making me think of it more like icing, which now makes me think that I need to try it. Thanks Molly!

10:02 AM, February 20, 2014  
Blogger Daniela Grimburg said...

Just stumbled upon your stunning blog.
I love lemons but have never prepared lemon curd before.
Yours look s terrific and seems easy to prepare.
Thanks for the inspiration!

10:15 AM, February 21, 2014  
Anonymous Catherine said...

If I want zest, I always add it after straining. (But usually I like it better when it's perfectly smooth.)

2:08 PM, February 21, 2014  
Blogger Rocky Mountain Woman said...

This looks lovely! I've had lemon curd many times, but never lime...

Ever listen to Johnny Cash's cover of Hurt?

It's amazing...

2:59 PM, February 21, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have 3 kaffir limes in my crisper - with perhaps a touch more sugar, they may have just found their dharma. Thank you for sharing!

6:36 PM, February 21, 2014  
Anonymous Janny said...

The cute little dog cookies? " . . . a box of Walker’s Pure Butter Shortbread Scottie Dogs"! No baking required : )

9:10 PM, February 21, 2014  
Anonymous LeeAnn said...

My library already has Delancey on order. Yay!

7:48 AM, February 22, 2014  
Anonymous Carol said...

How would the lime curd go with Margaritas in the summer? Sounds perfect for a sweet end to a Tex-Mex dinner. Maybe with sopaipillas? I need to experiment. Will make for a fun day in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the story.

7:23 AM, February 24, 2014  
Blogger Lola Baggen said...

That sounds so delicious! Thanks!

4:02 AM, February 25, 2014  
Blogger Augusta Pownall said...

Molly, you are the sanest person around, and a source of sanity for me after a long day at my computer. I LOVED your first book, and will eagerly be getting my grubby little muffin-stained paws on your next. Thank you!

10:28 AM, February 27, 2014  
Anonymous J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats said...

I made white chocolate lemon pot de cremes the other day and in lieu of using a spoon have been scooping out the leftover with shortbread cookies sooo... you're onto something here.

2:39 PM, February 27, 2014  
Blogger Leslie said...

This is the first time I'm making curd - I blitzed the egg and citrus juice together as one person suggested before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. Things seemed to work well until I paddled from the pan to the serving jar, as soon as I took the heat off either the butter or the juice seemed to separate. I jarred it anyway and it's in the fridge now, I'm anxiously waiting to see what the liquid on top is going to solidify to.

1:32 PM, February 28, 2014  
Anonymous Victoria said...

I was so enthralled with the recipe for lime curd that I didn't notice - until now - that you were eating it spread on Walker's Pure Shortbread Scotties.

So on Thursday I was in the Hell's Kitchen Sur La Table going through the cookie cutters because the sign said they had scotties and, eureka, I pulled two cookie cutters out, only to discover later that I had gotten schnauzers!

Believe it or not, in my travels that same day I came upon the SoHo Sur La Table and was able to exchange them. Now I just have to find a recipe that lets me cut shortbread instead of patting it.


7:43 AM, March 01, 2014  
Blogger Juli Carvi said...

Lime Curd!!
Amazing. Looks delicious and your photography is stunning.

5:18 PM, March 01, 2014  
Anonymous Heather Quinn said...

Just for the record-I don't mind if you post another banana bread because there are never too many banana bread recipes, and I've already made all of yours ;)

8:19 AM, March 05, 2014  
Blogger Fireman Andy said...

My little Improved Meyer Lemon tree had three little lemons on it. They were almost entirely juice on the inside, so I had more than enough for this recipe. I used Irish butter, and 1/3 cup local honey instead of sugar. Amazing!

5:54 PM, March 22, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the taste of lemon curd and custards. I'm just so afraid of uncooked eggs I get weirded out about it. It's all in my mind. Is there a cure?

7:37 AM, April 18, 2014  

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