12.13.2014

An Embarrassment of Limes

You can only drink so many gin and tonics in one day.

Or margaritas. Or daiquiris. Or gimlets. Or mojitos.

Really, there is a limit and, to be honest, Markipedia and I are kind of lightweights when it comes to the hard stuff. (His gin and tonic is often missing the gin...)

So, in late autumn, that leaves us with an embarrassment of riches (limes) on our little potted tree.

Such a problem. What's a boy to do?

As citrus desserts are among my favorites, I did some fancy finger work (popularly known as Googling) and found a recipe for a lemon dessert that uses more than the zest and a mere tablespoon of juice.

While the basic recipe was good, I wanted something more complex. So, in my usual fashion, I borrowed the basics of the recipe and then made it my own, starting with the substitution of limes.

The first iteration had just the taste I was hoping for, but was not completely successful in its presentation.

After some serious soul searching (otherwise known as recipe adaptation), the second version came out beautifully and is what you see here today.

Intense lime. A hint of ginger. The crunch of a buttery crumble crust.

What more could a boy want?

Oh right... to have it served to him in a villa in Tuscany.

But we can't have everything...

~ David

Lime Semifreddo with Ginger-scented Biscuit Crust

3 1/2 ounces Lattemiele biscuits, or other not-too-sweet cookie
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
finely grated zest of 2 limes
1/2 cup lime juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
4 large egg whites **
pinch salt

Line a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan (or one 3.5-inch by 7.5 inch and one 2.5-inch by 5-inch loaf pans) with parchment or plastic wrap, allowing it to hang over the edges. Crush cookies in a mortar and pestle, or pulse them in a food processor until they attain a coarse sand-like texture (chunks will be hard to cut when frozen). Combine cookie crumbs, butter, sugar, and ground ginger in medium bowl. Sprinkle a light coating of the mixture into bottom of prepared loaf pan(s) and set aside.

Whisk together sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest in medium bowl until smooth; set aside.

Stir sugar, water, and honey in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and boil syrup until the bubbles are large and glossy - about 8 minutes.

While syrup boils, using a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat whites and salt on medium speed until loosened, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whisk until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Stop motor and let sit until syrup is ready.

With mixer running on medium-high speed, slowly and carefully add syrup to egg whites in a slow and steady stream. Beat until outside of bowl is cool to the touch and whites are thick and glossy, about 5 minutes.

Whisk about a third of the meringue into lime mixture to loosen. Then carefully, with a rubber spatula, fold in remaining meringue. Fill the prepared pan(s) halfway; sprinkle another layer of the cookie mixture, then fill the pan to the top. Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top. Fold parchment or plastic wrap over the top, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight. A longer freeze is better.

When ready to serve, wipe sides of loaf pan with a towel dampened with hot water. Go around the edges with a thin spatula (between the wrapping and the pan) then, using the wrap, pull the semifreddo up and out and invert onto a platter; discard plastic wrap. Slice and serve immediately with fresh berries, if desired. This is a much softer version of a semifreddo, thus it melts much quicker.


Makes one large (5-inch by 9-inch) or one small (3.5-inch x 7.5-inch) and one mini (2.5-inch by 5-inch)

** Use the 4 egg yolks to make a key lime pie using more of the limes!

36 comments:

  1. A villa in Tuscany or Umbria, an apartment in Barcelona, a farmhouse on the Adriatic. Must I go on? And what's with both of our partners not having gin in their G&T's on the occasion? The amount of times I've had to order a tonic without gin in a bar is a little disturbing.

    And I like how you've adapted this cake. Such fresh flavours. Perhaps you could sneak in a little G&T, just for Mark?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John - maybe I will try to make this with gin next time, or at least infuse the sugar syrup with juniper berries!

      Funny about Dean not having any G in his G&Ts! Silly boys...

      Delete
  2. I just so happened to click on this link while enjoying myself, a gin and tonic! I have been wanting to plant a lime tree myself, I do love lime! Half cup of juice and zest - yeah baby! This dessert looks and sounds citrus(ly) delicious, David! If I hadn't already planned my Christmas menu, and purchased most of what I need, I would have made this for my dessert. Bookmarking this one also!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cathleen - I thin it would be very easy for you to grow a lime tree in a pot where you live. I really love Bearss limes - they are incredibly sweet and flavorful!

      Also, I think this would make for a great New Year dessert - especially as it isn't too heavy (no cream or egg yolks!).

      Delete
  3. This looks AMAZING. I love lime flavoured things; even more so when the flavour of the lime is really distinct and zingy. I've been disappointed so many times by restaurant 'lime cheesecakes' or other things that have very little acidity. I think this gorgeous semifreddo would have just the right balance. Love the addition of the ginger crumb!! P.S if we lived closer I would definitely come and raid your lime tree - at the moment they are about $1.50 Australian per lime, really expensive. And I adore G&T's ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had a period of $1.50 limes here, too, Laura. Made us really glad we had our little tree which is barely a meter tall! And because of the way our seasons have gone this year, the silly thing just kept blooming and the limes keep coming!

      Delete
  4. This looks yummy! I love lime and ginger together (I have key lime pie and gingersnap crust recipe that is great). Wish I had a lime tree...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And it is perfectly GF for you, too, Nicole! (Assuming you use GF cookies for the crust!)

      Delete
  5. I LOVE limes and this desert looks fantastic. Will definitely try it pronto!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Us, too, Kirsten! Lime is such an amazing flavor. I like John's idea to work in some gin flavor - might be wonderfully refreshing on a summer's day.

      Delete
  6. Oh my, how exquisite... and talk of a villa in Tuscany too! Be still my beating heart. Lovely, David, just lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Liz! Somehow I imagine lots of food being served in a villa in Tuscany... :)

      Delete
  7. Okay, first of all -- isn't citrus season the best!? I'm loving it. Second of all, this dessert looks and sounds delightfully delicious. And finally, I'm loving that colorful whisk! Cheers! Without the gin. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes! I love citrus season. Before I lived here, Valentina, I was in Maine and had no real sense of the season. Now that it is all around me, I am so excited when the very first limes ripen, to be followed by oranges and tangerines, and then the lemons. And then it even gets better when all the trees blossom just a few months later!

      Delete
  8. Hi David, wow! a lime tree, last summer in Oregon we paid a fortune for lemons and limes. Love this semifreddo, I bet it has tons of flavor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheri - can't you plant a lime tree in a pot there? They love the warmth and you have more to offer than we do in Tucson!

      Delete
  9. Swooning! Thank you for this lovely addition to our use of 'lime 'o plenty' tree fruit! Perfect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, Susan... now you are beginning to understand our citrus season! We start looking for recipes that use lots of the fruit juice in addition to the zest! Welcome back to the desert! xo

      Delete
  10. I'm jealous! A lime tree, sigh. I adore citrus desserts. I think, they are my favourite. I love this season just because of the citrus. This looks pretty amazing, it's got everything delicious and everything I love. Along with lime desserts, I would make limeade and tonnes of Thai, Vietnamese food! Got to use up those limes!! Have a great week, David! Nazneen xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do make lots of Thai food now, but using our kaffir lime leaves rather than the Persian lime zest or juice. Aside from his G&Ts, Mark also makes limeade. If I have it, I add lavender! :)

      Delete
  11. This sounds so good in the midst of the traditionally rich desserts of the holidays. Also, love your rainbow-colored whisk and nice way to use those yolks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Susan - normally, semifreddo is much richer, so this is, indeed, the perfect holiday dessert. Maybe it would be perfect as a verrine?

      Delete
  12. I'm with you about the love of citrus, especially limes. Lucky boys to have a lime tree to call your own. This sounds like a wonderful dessert…sweet, tangy, light and not too filling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We definitely know we are lucky, Karen! Our trees are small, but very generous - lemons, limes, tangerines, and kumquats! I love the liminess of this dessert - and I think you will, too!

      Delete
  13. Yes, the citrus are coming, the citrus are coming. It's one of the best times of year and the perfect excuse to develop and redevelop a lime recipe. GREG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can only imagine the citrus season there, Greg! Enjoy it!

      Delete
  14. Damn delicious sweet bites!!!
    never had this, totally worth to try....

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love your blogger dictionary: soul searching = recipe adaptation :)
    The lime dessert sounds and looks fantastic, love the fresh flavors of lime and ginger.
    A true highlight for the holiday season!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Daniela! I am working on a more elegant presentation - but the flavor is great!

      Delete
  16. What a lovely semifreddo. Perfect for the holidays or anytime of year. Great recipe. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Vicki! And thanks fro stopping by Cocoa & Lavender!

      Delete
  17. lime and ginger are a match made in food heaven....this semifreddo is just calling us to try it...such a beautiful dessert,thanks for this awesome,creamy delight :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Rakesh and Swikruti! Lime and ginger together are quite heavenly!

      Delete
  18. What a crazy good recipe! I have only made semifreddo a handful of times, but why? They are so delicious and truly rather straightforward! Your flavors would be luscious, but I wouldn't have a problem using up those limes in gin and tonics, and well, maybe one or two semifreddos :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I make semifreddo sometimes and just scoop it like gelato! So easy!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

If you would like to receive follow-up comments, simply click the "Subscribe by E-mail" link to the right of the "Publish" and "Preview" buttons.