I really can’t believe I’ve gone so long without baking. Frankly, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed these past few weeks and haven’t had enough time to bake or spend any time in the kitchen. Although I’ve really missed it, I’m not really complaining. My absence was partly due to a wonderful family vacation to the Dominican Republic. So for the week break from school, I was tanning and drinking rum punch instead of baking and photographing. The Dominican was the perfect escape from winter with perfect weather and the most beautiful beach and crystal blue waters. The resort we stayed at was Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach and I highly, highly recommend it to anyone planning a trip to the Dominican. The resort is run by Europeans and most guests are Italian or Spanish speaking. There were a few french and even fewer English speakers. That was my favorite part though since I was able to practice my Spanish and brush up on my grammar and speaking. The employees were always eager to help, most of them being very charming Latin men… The food was absolutely amazing and I was in heaven with all of the fresh fruits. Every morning there was a feast of coconut, papaya, maracuya, pineapple, and melon. The custom bellini station with fresh fruit juices was also a nice plus. I’m not sure I mentioned this before, but the drinking age there was 18 so I was able to reap the benefits of the true all inclusive experience.
The other reason for my absence, one which I’m not as thrilled about, was work. Most of my baking and blogging is done on the weekend since I’m at school all day during the week. Unfortunately this is also when I work. The past two weekends have been completely booked up with various jobs. This past weekend I had the pleasure of working 27 hours between Friday and Sunday. And It’s completely my fault. I have the tendency to overbook myself and I’m naive enough to think I can handle everything I take on. My biggest mistake was agreeing to photograph an all day event on Saturday and also work a buffet for catering that evening. So Saturday ended up being a very very long thirteen hour day of work where I went home completely drained. And on top of that I had to work Sunday too, a day I expected to have off, catering a buffet for a hockey game. Although I may complain now, I know that in three short months, when I have to go off to Ecuador, I’ll miss it dearly.
For my first time back in the kitchen I’m making something very classic and very comforting. Key Lime Pie. Or rather a tart. As some of you may know this Friday is Pi day, 3/14. Since my baking reputation emerged freshman year I’ve always been expected to whip up something for the occasion. I never minded though, and I always looked for an excuse to bake for class. Freshman year I went the classic route, bringing in a pumpkin pie. Sophomore year I was a little more creative and whipped up a dark chocolate and sea salt caramel tart. Junior year I went back to the classics and made a lattice top apple pie. So I guess if I’m keeping up with the pattern, this year has to have a modern twist. With that in mind, I decided on a lime curd tart with coconut whipped cream. it’s a recipe from my absolute favorite blog, Pastry Affair. I stumbled upon Kristin’s blog through foodgawker and have been reading it religiously ever since. She has gorgeous photos and wonderful, creative recipes that I just can’t seem to stay away from.
*note: In one of the pictures you can see part of my beautiful new cutting board. It was actually custom made for me by my former track coach Mr. Kaiser, who has recently started doing custom woodworking. After seeing my blog he offered to make me a cutting board and I was beyond thrilled. It’s very well made and is sure to make future appearances in upcoming posts.
Lime Curd Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream
from Pastry Affair
Yields 10-inch round (or rectangular) tart
1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
Zest from 2 limes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
4 tablespoons (58 grams) butter, cut into small squares
In a double boiler, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Mix together with your fingers until fragrant. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.
Whisking constantly, cook the mixture until it thickens, about 10-15 minutes (you should be able to make tracks in the mixture with your whisk). If the curd is not thick enough, continue stirring and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes before whisking in the butter until smooth.
Chill the curd in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or more before using.
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (65 grams) powdered sugar
8 tablespoons (115 grams) cold butter, cubed
1 large egg
2-4 tablespoons ice water
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flours, salt, and powdered sugar. Mix in the cubed butter (or cut in with a pastry blender or with your hands) until the dough resembles coarse sand. Mix in the egg and 2 tablespoons water. If the dough is still too dry to come together, add more water by the tablespoon until it does.
Press dough into a tart pan, taking care to keep the dough an even thickness. Stab the bottom several times with a fork so the dough will bake evenly in the oven. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes to firm up before baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Bake the tart shell for 15-18 minutes, or until it is lightly colored and the shell feels dry to the touch. Cool completely before filling.
Coconut Whipped Cream
14 ounces (414 ml) full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
Chill the coconut milk in the coldest part of the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight, taking care not to disturb or shake the container. The coconut milk will separate with the white liquid on top and the clear on the bottom. Once cold, flip over the can, open it, and carefully pour the clear liquid into a small container to save for another purpose, such as smoothie making (if you get too much of the clear liquid mixed with the white cream, the coconut milk will not whip up properly. Put the coconut milk back in the refrigerator and wait until it separates to try again). Place the thick, white coconut milk into a mixing bowl and beat in the powdered sugar. Continue whipping the coconut milk on high for 5-7 minutes while it increases in volume and gets soft peaks. Beat in the vanilla bean paste.
While you can use the whipped cream immediately, I find that it sets up a bit better if chilled in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.
The coconut whipped cream will keep for several days. If it separates in the refrigerator, whip briefly before serving and it will come back together.
1 cup coconut whipped cream (lightly sweetened whipped cream or even cool whip can be substituted)
Lime zest, for garnish
Spread lime curd evenly in the tart shell. Using a spoon, dollop the whipped cream randomly over the tart and swirl in with a butter knife. Garnish with lime zest, if desired.