Last week, a friend of mine gave me a bag filled with yellow citrus. The small golden orbs were a little unusual, puzzling me with the fragrance of a lemon whilst resembling more of an overripe lime. After a bit of discussion I was told that they were actually Palestinian sweet limes, which are native to both India & Mexico. They’re naturally lower in acid than their bright-green cousins and typically display a blushed yellow hue.
So, whats a cook to do when given a glut of sweet limes? Well, at first, I ate one. Juicy and sweet by nature, this variety of lime tastes a bit like a cross between a lime and an orange whilst having the scent of a lemon. It’s both unusual and delicious.
Well, after one week I’m now pleased to say that I’ve used sweet limes in a variety of ways, from dressing a range of salads to making a gin cocktail featuring herbs and my favourite spirit, Hendrick‘s dry gin (if you haven’t tried it, get some!! It’s got notes of cucumber, rose & juniper all wrapped up in syrupy gin deliciousness. Definitely recommended). I’ve also used to make two varieties of curd: 1) lemon with both sweet and Tahitian limes and 2) ruby red grapefruit and sweet lime. Both are delicious, but the lemon variety was sweetly satisfying with a Tahitian lime kick.
The recipe below is for the lemon & sweet lime curd, but I’d encourage you to try the grapefruit variation by swapping the lemon & Tahitian lime for 2 ruby red grapefruit (zest & juice). You’ll also need to reduce the sugar a little to compensate for the reduced amount of acid, and whilst I won’t give you an exact amount I’ll encourage you to start at 120g then add & taste as you go. If you can’t get hold of sweet limes, feel free to use the base recipe and substitute any citrus fruit you desire. They’ll all be delicious, and perfect with everything from pavlova to toast and tea.
Lemon & Sweet Lime Curd
Makes roughly 1 litre (4 metric cups)
- 440g (2 cups) sugar
- 250g unsalted butter, cubed
- 3 eggs, lightly whisked
- 5-6 egg yolks
- zest & juice of 1 lemon*
- zest & juice of 5 sweet limes*
- zest & juice of 2 Tahitian limes*
Wash and dry your citrus fruit, then finely grate the rind. Juice fruit and reserve the equivalent of 250mls (1 cup) of juice. You can either strain your juice at this stage, or just remove the pips whilst reserving any fruit pulp (I like the latter option, probably because I just like rustic home-cooked food!).
Whisk your eggs, egg yolks & sugar until smooth, then place your pan over a low heat. Add the juice, rind, sugar & butter and keep whisking until the mixture thickens. You’re looking for it to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon… for me it takes around 20 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil or the eggs will curdle & you’ll be left with a congealed, eggy mess!
Once your mixture has thickened, take it off the heat & allow it to cool a little. Pour it into your pre-prepared hot sterilised jars (you will need four 250ml/1 cup jars, see ‘notes’). Seal and invert jars for 2 minutes before turning them upright and allowing them to cool.
*substitute with your choice of citrus fruit. You will need juice equivalent to 250mls (1 cup). Make sure you adjust levels of sugar according to the acidity of your chosen fruit.
Preparing your Jars: Taste has a great tutorial on how to sterilise jars for your jams, chutneys & preserves. See link here.
Sealed curd will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. You can also put your curd into an airtight, sealed container and freeze it for up to three months. Whisk again upon defrosting.