Some people have a green thumb. To put it quite frankly, I am not one of them. While many gardeners can sow, weed, and prune a plant into flourishing perfection, I struggle to complete some of the more basic tasks, such as burying the seeds at the correct depth or finding the motivation to weed (perhaps a bit of laziness is also to blame). Even so, my plants have a tendency to wither despite regular watering. They gather the nasty little bugs whenever I want to keep a flower indoors, and my vegetable plants grow the smallest of produce at the end of the season.
I am become Death, the destroyer of plants.
Each spring the feeling of rebirth floats through the air, infecting me with a strong desire to kneel in the dirt and plant a garden. The eagerness to hold a handful of seeds makes me briefly forget my black thumb and the poor path my plants will soon travel down. When I lived at home with my parents, I would convince my mother to fill her garden with half a dozen varieties of vegetables. I convinced her that I would do the tending. I convinced her I would help them grow. Rarely, I am ashamed to admit, did I follow through on my deceitful promises. The plants would endure a hot sun, vagrant weeds, and abit of neglect. At the end of the season, we'd collect our micro-vegetables, telling ourselves that we would plant flowers next year instead.
As the temperature finally rose this weekend, I felt the familiar urge to dig around in the dirt and grow new life. The trees have not yet budded with leaves, but for the first time this year it felt like spring has arrived. Even though I know my planting ventures are destined to end poorly (just ask my basil plant from last summer), I cannot shake the optimism that this year might be different—that this year I could grow something beautiful.
Even if I will not be able to grow a flourishing plant, I can bake something beautiful. And really, that might be the most delicious in the end.
This Lime Curd Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream is an ode to spring, with bright green colors and bold new flavors. A lightly sweetened whole wheat tart crust is filled with a tart lime curd and swirled with spoonfuls of coconut whipped cream. Serve with a sprinkling of lime zest and another dollop of whipped cream to celebrate the arrival of sunshine and warmer weather.
Lime Curd Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream
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.
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.
Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve. If desired, serve with an extra dollop of coconut whipped cream.