Baking was sort of wrapped round my week-end. On Friday night I made a (key) lime pie with my boy-friend. It was amazing – the kind of dessert whereby you become a greedy, uncontrollable wreck armed with a tablespoon and have to physically force yourself to put it back in the fridge in order to prevent yourself from consuming what is basically a tin of condensed milk. Yegods.
The recipe we used was one which can be found here on the Jamie Oliver website – but with the important addition of the zest of two limes, and the omission of sugar from the biscuit base. There’s really no need at all to add sugar: digestive biscuits are very sweet anyway, and you’re topping them with a can of condensed milk! I used the juice of 5 large limes, not bothering to measure it, and the result was incredibe: zingy and wild, taking the edge off the sweetness and putting the lime flavour at the forefront. I’ve eaten several shop-bought (key) lime pies whereby it was just very creamy and sweet, like a chilled cheesecake. I therefore added the extra lime zest as I didn’t want it to taste anodyne. It was also served on its own as I think that the addition of cream to the top, which seems to a common suggestion, would just be overkill.
Saturday was devoted to eating the pie, then on Sunday afternoon I rounded up the week-end by baking a wheatless cake for Stephen, my tattooist and neighbour at work. It was intended as a thank-you present, and as I’d blurted out “Aaaah I’m so making you a cake!” during the session I thought that I’d better follow up the promise.
I’ve never made a wheatless cake before, and so was quite curious (and a tad nervous) about the process. Additionally, most gluten-free cakes I’ve eaten are quite tasteless and dry, so I wondered how and if it would turn out to be any good.
After a brief bit of research on the Internet, I discovered that ground almonds and other nuts are a common substitute for flour. For some reason I chose to make a lemon cake, and chose this gluten-free recipe on BBC Food. The whole process felt like an exciting experiment, especially because the ingredients list includes mashed potato! I was concerned that it would turn out to be quite heavy – but amazingly it was absolutely delicious. I’m not sure if I could call it ‘light’, as that to me denotes the consistency of a meringue (and it wasn’t, it was the consistency of a cake). But totally brilliant and you’d never have guessed that it was gluten-free.
The only addition that I made to the recipe here was that I added the juice of half a lemon. I think that it really benefitted from this as it again was quite zingy and generally yum. (As a sidenote, the lemons that I used were organic and fairly large.) As you will have gathered by now, I’m big on flavour and seasoning, and not so keen on flavours being overpowered by sugar. Speaking of which, I couldn’t find the golden caster sugar required at the supermarket and so instead used a mixture of what I could find in the cupboard: half granulated sugar, half soft dark brown sugar. Golden caster sugar might give a different, perhaps more caramel taste, but it was fine.
Not sure if I’ll have another week-end so defined by the kitchen, but the unused egg whites from the key lime pie are asking to be turned into a lemon meringue – so watch this space!