Monday, May 26, 2008

When Life Hands you Limes - Make Margaritas!

This weekend I had a very huge cooking disaster. It was a painful experience that I would rather not talk about, but I figure that it is equally important to talk about my failures in the kitchen as it is to talk about my successes. I was going to a Cook Out at my new bosses home and I wanted to bring something homemade. I thought it would be a nice gesture and homemade goodies are always more tasty. I knew they would be providing the food so I figured a dessert would be the most appropriate dish to bring. Baking is not my forte so I didn't want to attempt something super complicated. When I came across a dessert recipe that didn't even require baking I was sold. I found the recipe for a Lime Macadamia Nut Tart on the internet and it seemed fairly simple. It basically looked like all I had to do was assemble the ingredients and it would result in a yummy and impressive desert. Well I had no idea how wrong I would be in this assumption. As I begin to prepare the recipe I seemed to be in pretty good shape. The first steps involved making the crust for the tart and I was on the right track. This seemed easy! However, I started to head down a dark and scary road as I began to prepare the filling. The recipe I found instructed me to stir the custard/filling for 8 minutes until it thickened. After 8 minutes my filling was anything but thick, so I continued to whisk for several more minutes. Not wanting to over do it, I removed my filling from the heat when I began to see the "bubbles" this recipe refers to. I let the filling sit for 20 minutes as suggested and then poured it into my crust. This is when I started to realize I had just ruined my "easy and impressive dessert". As I poured the filling into the crust, the pieces of the graham cracker crust began to break off and swim in the filling. This dessert was no longer the perfectly pretty gift I had desired it would be. I kept my hopes high and convinced myself that I could cover the mistake with whip cream when I garnished the tart. I let the tart sit over night in order to allow it to set. As I woke up the next day I was like a child on Christmas morning hoping Santa had brought me what I wanted - only this time what I wanted was a perfectly set tart. I rushed to the fridge, opened it, gave the pan a jiggle and knew for sure there was no saving this dessert. It hadn't set at all and it was a liquid mess inside of the sopped crust. I removed the tart from the fridge and tart pan and attempted to garnish it for a picture. As I did this, the liquid burst through the unsupported sides of the crust and began to flood my countertop. I accepted defeat and hurriedly transferred my failed attempt to the garbage can. I spent the rest of the day deciding what I would bring to the party now that my first option was ruined. What could I make with Limes? I pondered this question for several hours and realized I had a great idea for my left over limes. It didn't solve my party dilemma, but it would help lighten my mood - Margaritas! So I made myself a cocktail with the left over lime juice and brushed my Lime Tart experience under the tequila soaked rug!

Lime-and-Macadamia Nut Tart
Southern Living 2003

1 (5 1/3-ounce) package graham crackers, crushed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
6 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated lime rind
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 6 large limes)
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 drop green liquid food coloring (optional)
1 drop yellow liquid food coloring (optional)
Garnishes: toasted macadamia nuts, lime slices, and whipped cream

Stir together first 4 ingredients. Firmly press crumb mixture evenly on bottom and up sides of a 10-inch tart pan.

Bake crust at 350° for 7 to 9 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Whisk together eggs, grated lime rind, and fresh lime juice in a non-aluminum saucepan over low heat.

Add 1 cup sugar, 6 tablespoons melted butter, and if desired, food coloring; cook, whisking constantly, 8 minutes or until lime mixture is thickened and bubbly.

Let cool 15 to 20 minutes. Pour filling into prepared crust; cover and chill 4 hours or until set.

Remove sides of tart pan, and garnish, if desired.


Anonymous said...

I would rather have a Margarita over a tart anyday!! Love your commentary of making the dessert! Brilliant!

Joelen said...

I think its great for you to blog about the recipes that didn't turn out as expected - so thank you for posting about this! Sorry the recipe was a bust but you definitely deserved a few margaritas after that ordeal!

Gabriela said...

OMG how heartbreaking! But the photograph of the margarita set at an angle is sheer genius. Looks like you had inbibed in the spirits before taking the photo - great effect! Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and the failed recipe. I'll have to have my husband analyze it for you and I'll report back with his findings. BTW, he found the Thai fish sauce in the Mexican food aisle at Shopper's today.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I steered you wrong :( I should not have convinced you to NOT make the Bourbon Chocolate Cake. Oh well you can't win them all.

Your sis,
Jessica, Mom of Sawyer from Sghetti Noodle Beans

Gabriela said...

Ok - My husband may have broken the code. He says that Southern Living's recipe lacked pectin. He believes that adding lime Jell-O would help congeal the tart and you'd be able to forego the food coloring. Of course I told him to put his money where his mouth is and start working on the revised recipe to PROVE it to me. (hehehe) See what you've started?

Elizabeth F. said...

Gabriela, I don't even know what pectin is! LOL! Definitely let me know if he attempts it - good luck!

Woody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Woody said...

I would have eaten it anyways but my wife had to throw it away before i could have has some. She knows if she poured sugar in some motor oil, I would drink it up with a straw. I love sugar no matter how bad the pie is.

Anonymous said...

I personnally am glad you didn't bring that dessert to the party. It looks like the bottom of someone's butt