The Moose must have been bitten by a Boy Scout because last week, on his way to tennis, he helped an elderly man load some boxes into his car. His reward was some tiny limes from the tree in the man’s front yard and he was very excited to show me the fruits of his virtue. And you know that I always love unconventionally acquired food.
It had to be something with lime zest. Fresh limes straight from the tree, no wax and looked like no juice also. I thought about cola, but the Moose isn’t that keen on it. I am though, so was tempted to go ahead anyway, but while doing some bedtime reading of Tish Boyle’s The Good Cookie, a constant source of inspiration, I came across a recipe for lime shortbread. Winner.
I would strongly recommend hauling out the wallet and getting some Pepe Saya butter for this one. I’ve done a fair bit of testing now and if you’re rationing yourself then you should save this butter for pastry and shortbread. For those perusing from a different country, Pepe Saya is a cultured butter made from the milk of contented cows and is a very fine thing indeed.
OK, recipe. Place in a bowl two cups of flour, three quarters of a cup of icing sugar, a quarter of a teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of ground ginger and a tablespoon of fresh lime zest and mix them all up. Scatter over the top one hundred and seventy grams of cold butter chopped into chunks (I actually did the conversion this time). Cut it into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are quite small. The KitchenAid did a perfectly adequate job of this. Stop the KitchenAid and pour in two tablespoons of lime juice and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. I had to get the lime juice from conventionally acquired limes, those tiny ones were solid with green seeds inside. Mix very slowly until the dough just starts coming together. Squish it about a bit with your hands to make it smooth, then divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a log shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Stick it in the fridge until it’s good and solid again. You may want to go and process some concert subscriptions and work out how to convert a sheet into a toga for when your youngest son goes to the Literature Festival as Zeus. No, I didn’t think Zeus was a literary figure either, but he got it past the librarian.
Take the plastic wrap off and slice the logs into biscuits about four millilitres thick. They don’t spread very much, so you can place them quite close together on your lined baking sheet. Bake them at 160 degrees fan forced (180 degrees not) until they’re just starting to go golden around the edges, it will take about fifteen minutes and keep an eye on them. Don’t let them brown.
Those aren’t the limes, they’re just for illustrative purposes. I warned the kids that the green flecks in the biscuits weren’t mould, they were lime zest. That could be an issue with their visual appeal, but goodness they taste good. Not as soft as shortbread often is, almost crunchy and a very definitely limey. You can’t really taste the ginger, but I think it adds a bit of complexity to the flavour. Like I said, winner.