Monday, 19 September 2011

Calamansi Lime Curd Tart

This is the first time I'm taking part in Belleau Kitchen's Random Recipes- hi Dom!- because this is the first time I can. What usually happens is, food bloggers are encouraged to line all their cookbooks up, give a random shuffle, close their eyes, pick one, eyes still closed, flip to one page and cook that exact dish, no cheating.

I don't own enough cookbooks to line them up, because I'm just too stingy/broke to get them. I've got one back in London from a charity shop, and one in Singapore from my awesome sisters. Hmm. This time round though, Dom has decided to have a "magazines,cuttings and pullouts" edition and I've got lots of those, in fact, nerdily hole-punched and filed and organised with dividers in a thick ring file. ✌

Anyway, the lucky recipe is Heston Blumenthal's lemon tart for Waitrose, or more accurately a lemon curd tart. I used calamansi limes instead of lemons, because, well, have you ever had a calamansi lime before? They're tart-ier, citrus-ier, fragrant-er, think sweeter limes. I have it conveniently growing in my garden too (hee hee) and I want to make sure I make full use of the everything local and unique to home before I go back to London.

A word before I start: I was quite disappointed, as were many people. I usually read reviews before I try something out, but this time I wanted to stick to the challenge. The tart was meh, BUT the calamsi lime curd is very very delicious though (and so is the homemade pastry) so please read on anyway!

Calamansi Lime Curd Tart
makes a 9" tart, serves 6-8
Homemade 1-2-3 Shortcrust Pie Pastry (gluten-free version if you like, and you only need about half or less of that recipe)
10-12 calamansi limes (or 4 unwaxed lemons in heston's case)
170g unsalted grassfed butter, cubed
220g superfine unrefined raw cane sugar (he said 220g unrefined golden caster sugar)
5 medium free range eggs + 1 egg yolk, beaten

1. To make the tart shell (see here for photos):
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Roll the dough between 2 sheets of clingfilm to a thickness of 2mm, and a width 10cm more than the tart pan. Press the pastry to fit the tart case, leaving the edges overhanging to trim after baking in case the pastry shrinks. Prick with a fork, leave to rest 30 min. Place scrunched up parchment paper and dried beans on top and bake for 20 min. Remove the beans and paper and return to bake for 10 min till golden, before leaving to cool completely, trimming, and lifting from case.

While the case is cooling, make the lime curd:
2. Zest 8 of the calamansi limes (good news, they have a bittersweet peel), then roll all of them on the table, juice them and measure out 150ml.
3. Put the butter, sugar, juice, zest and eggs into a pan, and over medium heat, stir continuously for 10-15 minutes, until the butter as melted and the sugar has dissolved, do not allow to simmer.

4. Increase the heat to medium high and stir until it begins to simmer. He says to simmer for 5 seconds only (which is ridiculous, I followed my instinct and simmered until it thickens, but stirring like mad to make sure it doesn't curdle. According to people who have tried this, it turns out it was right to follow my instinct or you'll simply have pastry swimming in a lemony pool.)
5. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, cover with clingfilm to avoid a skin forming, and cool in the fridge for 30 minutes. At this point, you have really delicious calamansi lime curd.

6. Pour cooled lime curd filling into the centre of the tart allowing it to flow evenly to the edges. Place in the fridge for 1h (again, ridiculous, I left it for about 4h, but it still didn't set fully, maybe overnight would be a better idea.) before serving.

The lime curd was delicious. Thick, citrusy-sweet and very tangy, with the unmistakable fragrance of calamansi limes. I can picture it spread over toast, or in between cake, or on top of pudding. As for this lime tart, the sharp fresh flavours of the calamansi lime curd would be perfect to cut through the crumbly buttery pastry-- if only it set properly. And at the end of the day, I think I still prefer the usual baked lemon tart over the no-bake set-in-the-fridge types. Sorry Heston and Dom ):


  1. Ah how I love curds, and curd tarts too - they're just the perfect dessert. Sharp, and sweet and filling all at the same time. I love your pictures - already making me feel hungry!

  2. i made lemon curd today too (soo much butter and sugar! hehe)! wow lime sounds even more delicious tho :) love the bright bright yellow colour...its like sunshine!

  3. It looks so good! I have a friend who loves desserts which have citrus flavor. Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  4. I have never had calamansi limes I think. Good limes are very difficult to get where I live (even good enough to make great cocktails, not to mention the curd!).
    I love lemon curd, but have never tried lime curd. Now that I read about it, I think I will definitely try it one day. Your tart looks fantastic! It's funny the colours is not greenish, but yellow, like with lemons. I always put almonds into my lemon tart crust.
    As for H. Blumenthal's recipe, I have lots of books and many of them written by famous chefs. I am sure the recipes realised in their restaurants or confectionery shops are amazing, but I have noticed some chefs don't know how to explain, omit important tips, advice or warnings, mix up ingredients' amounts etc.. Most of famous chefs are very bad teachers for home cooks.
    I also suspect some of them to omit important tricks which make their food excellent...
    I have never cooked Heston Blumenthal's recipes, but he doesn't look like someone who would intentionally omit important information... There must be some other reason.
    By the way, my Lemon Tart recipe (the best Lemon Tart in the World) is taken from Alain Ducasse's book (Alain Ducasse is a very famous French chef) and as all of his recipes, it is always a big success. He is great with instructions and his recipes are absolutely foolproof.

  5. That's so yellow and yummy!!! LOL

  6. WOW! Love the colour, makes me mouth watering!

  7. I love lemon curd and always wondered how a lime version would taste. Yours has such a great color. I would love it even if it's runny!

  8. I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing me say this, but I don't eat or cook desserts (with rare exeptions). But when you put a word like Calamansi in the title of a recipe you rope me in. Off I go to Google!

  9. Good take on the calamansi limes which are dirt cheap here. Most even comes free from the garden :)

  10. This looks lovely and of course the star is that lime curd!
    I like the idea of the challenge, but would be scared who I might pick... Heston, Nigella, Ainsley, Womens Weekly, oh the possibilites!

  11. charles: I like curds, can't say the same for curd tarts though ):

    viv: I was pretty surprised how yellow it turned out too! The eggs turned it really yellow, plus the juice was actually an orangey yellow if you see the insides of the lime!

    munaty: thanks, I hope your friend tries and likes the lime curd!

    sissi: I really don't know either, I'm not saying heston was trying to cheat me, but the recipe's been a hit and miss with so many people! hmmm. thanks for the tip on alain ducasse, will google him now!

    anncoo and manu: I know, the colour alone is enough to make me smile despite the flop!

    sue: same citrusy tart sweet flavour, but with the added lime smell, that's the best I can describe it! haha like i said, the curd itself was delicious!

    stephen: hahaha I will include more food vocabulary in future.

    wendy: yup! I got them from the garden, but my mum says the market stalls give her a large bunch for free anyway.

    intolerant chef: do try! don't cheat ;)

  12. Oh cool! I have never heard of calamansi limes either. Haven't had lemon curd since I was a child. Yum...

  13. lorelei: It is a childhood kind of thing for some people, but not really for me! I loved it when I first tried it though! yumyum

  14. What a shame you were so disappointed with the recipe...I often find 'celebrity recipes' aren't tested and often require some tweaks (for example your three extra hours in the fridge!). But at least you've discovered a lovely lime curd recipe...and it does look pretty delicious :-)

  15. the curd does look incredible... Calamansi Limes are the best for this kind of thing... shame the whole tart wasn't so good, just goes to show even the proper chefs dont get it right all the time!... thank you so much for taking part this month, I really appreciate it honey xxx

  16. I hate it when recipes disappoint. I've never had a Calamansi Lime, do they sell them in the UK? The colour looks amazing & I'm glad the curd was nice even if the tart wasn't.

  17. thelittleloaf: Which is why I usually check for positive reviews first ): But the curd was delicious so it wasn't too bad!

    dom: thanks for setting the challenge, it was a lot of fun despite the failure!

    dearloveblog: Thanks (: Hmm, maybe in chinatown, but definitely not n the supermarkets.

  18. It looks beautiful! But I do agree baked are better. Good use for the calamansi pulp in my freezer!

  19. I had a slice of calamansi tart for lunch today at a local cafe today it was passing fair so as I read this thread my mouth was just watering. I like my shell
    A little lighter than the had it. But the curd was delist!