Thursday, September 14, 2006


Key Lime Curd with Coconut Biscuits

When you think about the cuisine of Florida, what comes to mind? Early bird specials? Cuban food? Nuevo Latino?

For me, it’s a few things. Spiny rock lobsters, crabs, hush puppies (not exclusive to the area, I know, but still prevalent), giant smooth-skinned avocados, conch, hearts of palm and of course, the most enticing of all the local ingredients, key limes.

(Now in fairness, if you truly wanted to make any of the above "Floridian," they must be served as dinner, but at 4pm. You know how the Seniors like to dine early!)

There just is nothing more fantastically-abundantly local than key limes. (Okay, you can get sweet potatoes and okra too, but they just aren't nearly as glam, now are they.)

Delicious, sour, super-juicy key limes. And just the other day, they were selling 4 lbs for $2. (Not in LA, I'm still in Florida. You may have missed that.) That came to about 50 limes and/or 2.5 cups of juice.

Have you ever had a key lime? Smaller than common limes and much juicier, they are also packed full of pits. The skin is super thin and the color is more yellow than green, which is their distinct marking. They don’t travel well, which is why they are hard to find outside of tropical areas, but if you do come across some, you should pick out a few nice specimens and bring them on home. Even if you don't get enough to make a pie or this recipe, they are worth having on hand as a slight change of pace from common limes, (Which I shouldn't disparage, since I adore them too!) they are much more sour and have a slightly less acidic aftertaste.

Now I could have gone and made a traditional key lime pie with my heaven-scented bounty, but then, you can find a recipe for that pretty much anyplace.

No, I wanted to make something a little different. Something a little more fab, but still retaining a classic southern feel and that would really capture what makes key limes so special. I am also prone to choosing tart over cloying desserts any day, so this fit the bill...

So what did I make?

Key lime curd with coconut biscuits. Thats right baby. And don't you wish you had been here!

The biscuit recipe is a little different than anything I had done before, but still basic. And with the addition of coconut milk to give it a smoother crumb and additional sweetness to cut the bright-tart lime curd. Utterly sublime.

This entire dessert (or breakfast if you are so inclined) comes together pretty swiftly. The curd needs to cool and set for at least 20 minutes, and you want to time that so that it is set when the biscuits come out of the oven. Light as air they are also great alone, but for my money, I wouldn’t want to put this curd on anything less.

The combination is beyond words.

Try it, and enjoy. (And of course, you can make this with any citrus, don't limit yourself to key limes!)

1 1/2 cups lime juice
1/4 pound butter
6 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar (more to taste)

Combine all the ingredients in a double boiler, or in a large metal bowl set over a sauce pan with simmering water in it. (Just make sure the bowl isn't resting directly in the water, it needs to be above it) Taste and add more sugar if needed. Whisk constantly until it begins to thicken, about six to ten minutes. It will thicken more when it sets, right now you are looking for it to resemble thick custard.

When done, strain through a fine-mesh strainer and refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes. To prevent a skin from forming on the curd, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Will keep for two weeks.

For the biscuits:

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon shortening
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup coconut milk, plus additional for glazing
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Line your baking sheet with heavy foil. Set aside until ready to use.

Preheat your oven to 450F.

Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl and work with a fork to combine. There should be no large lumps of shortening.

Stir in the buttermilk and coconut milk. It should be just thicker than a batter.

Pour the AP flour onto a plate. Drop a mound of the wet dough onto the flour and using your hands, make sure it is coated with flour. Shape it into a circle, pat lightly and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Brush the biscuits with coconut milk and bake for 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven, split and serve with the lemon curd.

Makes eight.


The large, green, seedless lime found in your supermarket is the Persian Lime, a hybrid developed in the early 20th century.

The California orchards that produce nearly all domestic olives (a $59 million industry) were hammered by harsh weather this year, leaving growers with the smallest harvest in 25 years. - AP

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I'm not a big dessert eater, especially now, but I love Key Lime Pie. Once I was lucky enough to go to Palm Beach for a week, on business, on a very generous expense account. I tried key lime pie every day at a different restaurant.
I personally think of tapioca with all the elderly people in FLA ;)
I've never actually had real key limes, and doubt that I would be able to here in Colorado. Too bad.
I am a huge fan of the key lime pie martini! I really do need to get to the liquor store soon, LOL. I miss LA and the ability to buy alcohol everywhere!
this is gorgeous, I never would have thought of putting some curd with biscuits but this looks like a mariage made in foodie heaven!
You are killing me, this looks too amazing!
Uh, YUM!
This sounds like pure summer — and you could make it all year round if you can find key limes. Key limes make an annual appearance in northern Wisconsin, so I'd probably try it with regular limes. I do want to try it, though!
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