You know what serendipity is… right? Well, one of the entries in the dictionary says it is «the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident». Fortunate discoveries can really be charming. I recently visited a plant depot in search of volcanic pebbles, but couldn’t find any. Instead I bought a lovely zinc container, like the ones used as plant pots. I decided to use it as a fruit basket, for my photos. And then the day after I stepped into my favourite greengrocer’s and what did I find? Some incredibly beautiful little fruits called limequats. I admit I had never heard about them in my life. They are hybrids of lime and kumquat, more similar to kumquat in shape, slightly bigger, and with a lighter and more yellow hue. Their pulp is acid like lime’s. They were born to nestle in my fruit bowl… don’t you think this is plain serendipity?
- 600g limequats
- 250g sugar
- Well, you know how a jam is made. First you look for an enameled pot. Then finely slice the limequats with a honed knife and layer the slices in the pot, sprinkling them with the sugar as you go, while you cut all the little fruits.
- When they’re all sliced, heat the pot on medium heat and bring to a soft boil. Boil the mixture until the peel is tender. I had to add some water, it mustn’t dry out. You can also add some water at the end if it’s too thick. To test the consistency, pour a tablespoonful on a plate and let it cool.
I warn you that I don’t like sweets that are overly sweet, so maybe you’ll need to add more sugar. I thought this jam had the most incredible aroma. Addictive. Maybe lime jam is as good, but I’ve never tasted it. Maybe I’ll take to visiting the fridge and sniffing the jam jar, like I used to do with ras el hanout.
This jam was so good that I had to figure out something to add it to. Something that provided the perfect background for that acid note. The next day my parents showed up, just arrived from a trip to the Mediterranean island of Ibiza, bringing me a cookbook with traditional recipes. Among them was the famous fláo a delicious tart made with whey cheese…. Mmmm, it could be a good idea… yum. Don’t you think this is plain serendipity? I finally didn’t opted for flaó, as it includes aniseseed and fresh mint and I thought that would be too many different flavors in one single tart. But I did settle for the whey cheese tart concept (that is, ricotta cheese). So here it is, inspired by this wonderful recipe, and with whipped egg whites to make for a fluffier filling. Take into account that the recipe calls for the tart to be prepared in advance, so that it can cool down inside the oven as slowly as possible.
Limequat-whey cheese tart
- 500g whey cheese or ricotta cheese
- 250g white chocolate
- 80ml creme frâiche (plain whipping cream is good too)
- 70g vanilla sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- Pastry crust
For the pastry crust, please follow my usual recipe, here. Of course, you can always use store-bought crust. But I won’t forgive you. A couple or more tsp of cocoa powder can be added.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- Prepare the shortcrust pastry if you choose so. Divide it into 2 portions and freeze one of them (I always do it). Roll out the dough until it fits in the desired mold. I used a round mold of 27cm diameter. Butter and flour the mold, lay the pastry on top, press to fit and trim the edges. Put the mold into the freezer.
- When the oven is hot, take the mold out of the freezer, lay parchment paper on the pastry, put some beans on top for weight and bake for 15 minutes. Then take it out and leave to cool.
- Lower the oven temperature to 160ºC and slide in a tray for the Bain-marie water.
- Make the filling in the meantime. Tip the whey cheese in a large bowl and crumble with a fork. Then add the creme frâiche or cream and mix.
- Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. Stir and add it to the cheese mixture. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Don’t overbeat, as too much air in the batter can cause the filling to crack or collapse.
- Crack the eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. Add these to the cheese mixture and mix well. Whip the whites to stiff peaks and then add delicately to the rest of the filling.
- In the meantime, bring some water to the boil in a teapot, for the Bain-marie.
- Pour the filling on the tart base. Never mind if the filling appears to be excessive, nearly overflowing. Take into account that the filling shrinks when baked. Flatten the surface with a spatula.
- Cover with aluminum foil, avoiding to contact the filling. Slide the mold onto the oven tray or dish. Then pour the boiling water in the tray.
- Bake for 70 minutes (mine took this time). When done, turn off the oven and let the tart cool inside, covered, overnight if possible.
- The next day spread the jam on top of the filling. If the jam is too thick, like mine, warm it up a bit and add a couple tbsp water to make it runnier. Then refrigerate for a while, at lest I like it cold.
The combination of the cheesy filling with the jam was just incredible, as I expected. The only «imperfection» was the crumbly texture, a bit too crumbly. I guess the cause was the whey cheese, the consistency must be creamier if cream cheese is used. The white chocolate was hardly noticeable, only like a very far touch… delicious. I’ve got to find something else to use the jam, because it’s just sublime…