During the six months leading up to our move from the center of New Zealand to the far north of Canada, we entertained ourselves with images of what we expected life to be like, living near the Arctic circle. I’m going to admit, we shared dreams of snow, Sorell boots and woollen blankets, hot cocoa, scones and stewed moose, early nights, dark days and log cabins.
And we weren’t totally ignorant. I am assured that winter can look rather like that (which we are most excited about). But what we failed to contemplate was the three to four months of summer. Without snow. And without darkness. With BBQs and parties and long lazy evenings drinking cocktails. There are, in fact, baseball games and summer time festivals. And, to my delight, occasion for summer meals. Light tossed salads and sweet citrus desserts.
What a joy it was to make these tarts. Curd of freshly squeezed limes, nestled into a seat of chocolate pastry and topped with a light-as-air meringue.
Recipe adapted from Bron Marshall
Makes 24 – 30 cases
1 cup plain white flour (learn from me – wholemeal flour does not work for pastry!)
2 tablespoons quality cocoa
a pinch of salt
½ cup caster sugar
1 small egg or 1 large yolk
Sift the flour, cocoa and salt into a large bowl or food processor.
Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour either with your hands or using a food processor, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Whisk the castor sugar and egg together and add to the mixture to make a firm dough.
On a lightly floured bench or board knead the mixture until it forms a smooth ball.
Handle as little as possible to prevent the pastry from becoming hard when baked.
Cover the pastry with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
On a lightly floured board or bench carefully roll out the pastry.
With a round cookie cutter cut the dough into rounds to fit patty or mini muffin tins.
Bake blind for 6 to 8 minutes and remove from the oven.
Makes 1 to 1 1/2 cups
¾ cup white sugar
1 ½ tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
½ cup water
½ cup lime juice
grated zest of two limes
2 egg yolks
30g butter, cubed
Stir the sugar, cornflour, water, lime juice and grated lime zest in a bowl sitting over a pot of water on low heat until all the sugar has dissolved.
Continue to heat gently until the mixture has thickened somewhat.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks and butter.
Continue to cook (can take another 10 minutes or so) until the desired, fairly thick consistency has been reached.
Spoon into bowl and cover with
Gladwrap cling film, pressing it onto the surface of the curd (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate until needed.
Within a few hours (or at most the day) of serving, dollop curd into pastry shells, top with meringue (as you can see my meringue wasn’t so hot this time. I recommend using a recipe you are familiar with) and return to the oven for another eight to 10 minutes or until golden on top. Alternatively, spoon meringue onto a baking tray and cook according to recipe (for over 1 hour) and place onto individual tarts before serving.