Mr Smiles made a slight mis-judgement with our supermarket delivery this week. Instead of ordering 4 individual lemons he ordered 4 bags of lemons and instead of 2 limes we have 2 bags of limes. My challenge therefore was to use 20 lemons and 10 limes and I rose to the Citrus Challenge!
My first recipe of the weekend was Lemon Curd, closely followed by Lime Curd. Curds aren’t really preserves as they only keep for a few weeks. However they are used like preserves – spread on toast and as fillings for cakes and other desserts. I’ve never made any kind of curd before and I am converted! They are so easy to make. Even Mr Smiles enjoyed having a stir and helping pour into jars. Any fruit with a slight sharpness makes a good curd.
- 4 x 225ml (8 fl oz) jars
- 325g (11.5 oz) golden caster sugar
- 4 lemons
- 125g (4oz) unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
Place the sugar in a large heatproof bowl on top of a pan of simmering water.
Finely zest the 4 lemons and then extract the juice. I bought an amazingly efficient lemon squeezer at the weekend. Cut a lemon in half, place in the cup and squeeze the handles to make juice. Compared to my traditional lemon squeezer this is effortless juice extraction. The skin, flesh and pips can be removed in one piece for discarding and there is less mess. No mopping up of fleshy bits and seeds, and much easier to clean afterwards. (My zested lemon is posing on top of the squeezer, which is artistic licence!) Add the juice and zest to the bowl with the sugar.
Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the mix.
Lightly beat the eggs and add them to the other ingredients.
The heatproof bowl rests on a saucepan on top of the simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon.
Pour the curd into hot sterilised jars, cover and seal. The curd will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
I made Lime Curd in exactly the same way although the quantities were slightly different and made 3 jars instead of 4.
Lime Curd Ingredients
- 225g (8 oz) caster sugar
- juice and finely grated zest of 5 limes
- 150g (5 oz) unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs and 2 egg yolks
I had successfully managed to use 4 lemons and 5 limes. Only 16 lemons and 7 limes to go! I realised that Lemon and Lime Curd wouldn’ t keep like my jams for Christmas presents. I therefore decided to get creative using the Lemon Curd in another recipe.
Mary Berry’s Lemon Meringue Ice Cream
This is a fantastic recipe, very easy to make and tastes delicious!
- 300ml/½ pint double cream
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1 jar good quality lemon curd
- 4 meringues broken into chunky pieces
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh lemon balm
- 3 passionfruit, halved, pulp and seeds scooped out
- sprigs of lemon balm, to garnish
Line a 450g/1lb loaf tin with clingfilm, overlapping the sides.
Whisk the cream lightly until the whisk leaves a trail.
Add the lemon zest and juice and half the jar of lemon curd then fold in the meringue and chopped lemon balm.
At this point I discovered I had no lemon balm and neither did 3 supermarkets or a garden centre! Lemon balm is a perennial herb in the mint family. It is often used as a flavouring in ice cream and herbal teas. Having asked around, a friend came to the rescue and gave me an off shoot of her plant. Beware it can spread and be invasive like mint. As I had no lemon balm I improvised and used a small piece of finely chopped lemon grass which I hoped would give a nice fresh citrus taste to the ice-cream.
Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin. Cover with the clingfilm and freeze for at least 6 hours.
Remove the ice cream from the freezer 10- 15 minutes before turning onto a plate. Lift the ice cream from the loaf tin, invert it onto a board and remove the clingfilm.Dip a sharp knife in boiling water and cut the ice cream into thick slices.
Mix the other half of the lemon curd with the pulp and seeds from the passion fruit to make a refreshing sauce. I’ve never used passion fruit before in a recipe. On the outside they are pretty boring, dark, ugly fruits. However I thought they were quite pretty when I cut them in half. The pink flesh matched the pretty pink saucer and the white pith looked lacy like the tablecloth.
Place a slice of ice cream on a plate and top with a spoonful of the passion fruit sauce. Decorate with sprigs of lemon balm if you have it.
I still needed to find more delicious citrus recipes to use all the lemons and limes we’d bought. I found another Mary Berry recipe was quite easy to make and also delicious.
Mary Berry’s Lemon & Lime Cheesecake
- 10 digestive biscuits, crushed
- 50g (1¾ oz) butter, melted
- 25g (scant 1oz) demerara sugar
- 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
- 397g can full-fat condensed milk
- 175g (6oz) full-fat cream cheese (room temperature)
- grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons
- grated zest and juice of 1½ limes
- 150ml (5fl oz) double or whipping cream, to decorate
- ½ lime, thinly sliced, to decorate
This is a really, easy recipe which looks lovely and tastes delicious.
To make the biscuit base place the biscuits in a clear plastic bag. Lay the bag on a flat surface and run a rolling pin back and forth over the biscuits until they form crumbs. I actually used a mixture of digestive biscuits and ginger biscuits. I find digestive biscuits give a more crumbly texture and I like the taste of the ginger in the base.
Place the crushed biscuits and the sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter and pour over the biscuits, stirring until thouroughly mixed.
Turn the biscuit mixture out into a 20 cm (8in) loose- bottomed tin and press firmly and evenly over the bottom and up the sides using the back of a metal spoon. Chill for at least 30 minutes until set.
To make the filling place the double cream, condensed milk and cream cheese in a bowl with the lemon and lime zests. Mix thoroughly. Using a balloon whisk gradually whisk in the lemon and lime juices and continue whisking until the mixture thickens. You must use full-fat condensed milk and cream cheese for the recipe to work, as the filling won’t set if you use low-fat substitutes.
Pour the lemon and lime filling into the crumb crust and spread it evenly. Cover and chill overnight.
Up to 6 hours before serving , whip the cream and decorate the cheesecake with swirls of whipped cream and slices of lime. I must admit my swirls were more like thick blobs as I overwhipped the cream, but I was still pleased with the result!
The last recipe I followed to use up the lemons was Lemon Drizzle Cake. We were still left with 11 lemons and 3 limes, but I think I made a jolly good effort at using them!
Lemon Drizzle Cake
- 250g butter, softened
- 250g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 250g self raising flour, sifted
- zest and juice 2 lemons
- 75g (3 oz) granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to Gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Grease a (20cm) round, deep loose-based tin and base line with baking parchment.
Place the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl.
Use an electric whisk to beat the butter and sugar together until they are pale and fluffy.
Gradually add the eggs, whisking well between additions and adding 2 tbsp of the flour with the last egg – this will prevent curdling.
Sift over the remaining flour, then gently fold in with a metal spoon along with 1 tbsp hot water.
Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until it is shrinking away from the sides of the tin. A fine skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 mins.
Squeeze the lemon juice, then sieve to remove the bits. Stir the granulated sugar into the lemon juice. Use the fine skewer to prick the cake all over, pour over the syrup – it should sink in but leave a crunchy crust. Leave to cool completely.
So here we have it – Mrs Smiles’ Finest Lemon Drizzle Cake.
The Lemon Drizzle Cake went down very well at work. I still have 10 lemons and 3 limes left, but have run out of steam. I am leaving them for Mr Smiles to be inventive with…Do let me know if you have any favourite lemon or lime recipes.