Creamy Lime Bars

limebars

A pattern might emerge if you were to browse over my recipes and it would look a little somethin’ like this. Limes. Sweetened condensed milk. More limes. More sweetened condensed milk. What can I say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I’ve also used lemons for this recipe and they’re just as tasty. The original recipe calls for 4 egg yolks in the filling but the thought of accumulating 4 egg whites every time I baked this would keep me up at night. I did a bit of interwebbing and it looked like a pretty safe bet to swap the egg yolks for 2 whole eggs and hooray, it worked! (Ainsley doesn’t deal well with failure, people). The lime isn’t shy in this recipe but the sweetened condensed milk provides the perfect balance. I’ve been using my ‘special’ oven for so long now that I’ve forgotten how normal ovens function, mine gets a bit overzealous and burns the bottom of stuff before the top is cooked so I protect everything I put in there with 2 baking pans, I even had to go up to 4 for the second bake in this recipe. If your oven is normal then you probably just need to slip one baking tray under your slice tin for the second bake.

Creamy Lime Bars

Adapted from Creamy Lemon Squares over at Martha Stewart.

Base:

115g butter, room temperature

1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup plain flour

Preheat the oven to 175 C and line a 8 X 8 slice tin with baking paper.

Beat the butter, sugar and salt together with an electric beater until light and fluffy.

Add the flour and mix on low until just combined.

Press the dough evenly into the slice tin and press it up the sides around 1/2 inch, prick all over with a fork.

Bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden.

Filling:

2 large eggs

1 tin (395g) sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup fresh lime juice (around 3-4 limes)

2 tsp vanilla essence

Whisk together all of the ingredients then pour onto the hot crust and bake for a further 25 minutes (I place extra baking trays underneath the pan to prevent the base from burning underneath).

Allow to cool completely in the tin then refrigerate until chilled, take out of the pan and cut into 16 pieces (or smaller if you would like).

Portugese Custard Tarts

custardtarts

For a very long time I thought that I didn’t like custard. The custard we had as kids was from a carton and heated up in the microwave, for some reason we really liked drinking it through a straw. It was kind of thick and tasteless and I eventually just stopped eating it. My first introduction to homemade custard was when I started making custard based ice-creams. Half of the batter wouldn’t make it into the ice-cream machine, it was so good. It was a bit of a culinary epiphany. This is what custard could be like. Rich, smooth and always dotted with vanilla seeds. I still don’t eat¬†custard very often because it’s always so hot here and I feel that there is a very small window of time to bake the wintery, rich comfort food that custard compliments so well.

custardtarts2

When I saw this recipe for Portugese Custard Tarts, though, my new found custard love caused my heart to flutter. I was in actual love. I couldn’t wait to make them, I couldn’t stop telling the boyfriend how much I wanted to make them. I had trouble going to sleep because the next afternoon I had a date with these beauties. Work went slowly as I counted down the minutes when I could be with them. And when they finally cooled down enough for me to eat one, they were everything I’d dreamed they would be. The only problem was that they didn’t blister on the top like the one’s in Lorraine’s pictures but it’s OK, I’m not shallow.

Lorraine (of Not Quite Nigella) uses just one sheet of puff pastry for the cases and uses all milk instead of cream. I’ve used cream but only used 1 sheet of puff pastry as well. Try a few different combinations to see what works for you. I’m giving most of this batch away to someone at my work for their birthday and I have already promised to make another batch for my house. And another batch for the boyfriend’s parents. I’m starting to see a pattern here…

Portugese Custard Tarts

Adapted from Lorraine’s Portugese Custard Tarts¬†over at Not Quite Nigella.

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 tbsp cornflour

230 ml cream

170 ml milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 sheet defrosted puff pastry

Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a pan and whisk together.

Whisk the milk and cream into the eggs until no lumps remain.

Place the pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil.

Transfer to a bowl and mix in the vanilla extract.

Cover the custard with clingfilm, pressing it onto the surface to prevent it forming a skin.

Leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Lightly grease a 12 hole, 80 ml capacity muffin tin.

startdough

Cut the pastry sheet in half and lay the two pieces on top of each other, leave to rest for 5 mins.

rolldough

Roll up the pastry tightly from the short end.

markeddough

Mark out 12 equal pieces.

rounds

Cut into 12 pieces.

rolledout

On a lightly floured surface roll out the discs with a rolling pin until each is 10 cm in diameter.

pastrycases

Press the pastry discs into the holes in the muffin tin.

uncookedtarts

Divide the cooled custard evenly between the 12 pastry cases and bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown on top.

Leave tarts in the tin to cool for 5 mins then transfer to a wire rack.

Best eaten warm, store in an airtight container in the fridge.