🐣 (Easter!) Cookies with Toasted Coconut and Lime 🐣

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Let me preface this recipe by saying… these cookies aren’t very pretty. They sort of look like funky little fried eggs. And while I’ll choose flavour over frill any day of the week, I struggled a bit with coming to terms with their appearance. But, rustic look aside, they taste really great, and all of the batches I’ve made have disappeared in record time.

I’ve loved the coconut-citrus combo ever since I had some completely delicious little lemon and coconut cookies in a small Copenhagen café, about 5 years ago. I was in the last stages of thesis-writing, and, having just dropped my thesis off at the printers’, my nerves were frayed! No more proof-reading once the tome had been handed off to be bound, as I’d resigned my perfectionist self to not even taking a peek at it again once printed, for fear of finding some spelling mistake or who knows what, that would annoy me to death (or, at least, until my thesis defence, after which I’d most likely never give the whole thing another thought, ever again).

So, about the cookies. I have such vivid memories of them, and the little café, right down to the froth on the cappuccino I consumed whilst waiting for the printers’ to do their thing. They were simple little shortbread kind of cookies, but softer, slightly chewier. Just such a lovely, zesty memory from the thesis-writing fog, one  that seems to have kick-started an almost yearning in me for all things citrus and coconut. And tragically, I haven’t managed to find some like them ever again, or reproduce the shortbready-but still soft and ever so slightly chewy goodness that was those cookies.

But I think these finally hit the spot, so much so that I’ve managed to get over the fact that they look a little odd. And although I think they’re great for all year round cookie consumption, the fact that they sort of look like eggs, or very strange little birds’ nests, is very fitting this time of year (Easter and all).

They also keep really well for a few days! While I find that regular thumbprint cookies get a little boring and stale after a day or two, these actually get better, in my opinion (although I’ve only tried up to two-day old ones, as I just happened to have overlooked two in a tin at the office, which, upon my eating them, cemented my faith in the yumminess of this cookie). So yeah, rough around the edges toasted coconut and lime cookies, for Easter, or when you just happen to need a coconut-lime boost, and don’t care if it comes in the shape of a fried egg-looking kind of treat 🙂

The first time I made them, I found that I wanted a more proportionate curd to cookie ratio, so the second time around, I made the cookies smaller, and the dent slightly bigger, to allow for a tad more lime curd. The third time, I added even more lime curd, about a scant tsp per cookie. I really love the zestiness of them, and the fact that they aren’t too sweet! If you’re not heavily into tart desserts and treats, maybe stick with a regular-sized thumbprint, and a little less curd 🙂 But I think the lime curd is really what this cookie is all about, and that it off-sets the butteriness and goes so so well with the lightly toasted coconut. So if, like me, you’re into seriously zingy desserts, don’t be afraid of piling on the curd, even if it makes the cookies look a little less than elegant 🍋 😉

Toasted Coconut and Lime Cookies
Adapted from Well Plated by Erin, yield: 24-30 little cookies

  • 230 g (1 cup/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened/room temperature
  • 140 g (2/3 cup) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 250 g (2 cups) flour
  • 1 egg white
  • about 100 g (1 cup) unsweetened desiccated/shredded coconut
  • 120-240 ml (1/2-1 whole cup) homemade or store-bought lemon or lime curd (for a quick homemade lime curd recipe, see below), depending on your preferred curd to cookie ratio 😉

If making your own lime curd, begin by whisking together 1 large egg and the juice and zest of 2 limes in a small saucepan. Add 1/2 heaped tsp corn starch, 75 g sugar and 50 g cold butter, cubed, and begin to heat the mixture up over medium heat, whisking throughout, until the ingredients melt together and the mixture begins to thicken and simmer. Once the curd is beginning to thicken, turn the heat down to low, and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring once in a while. Transfer to a bowl, and leave to cool down while you make the cookie dough.

In a large bowl, mix together the softened butter, salt and sugar. A wooden spoon works just fine, provided your butter is soft enough. Add the flour a little at a time, until it’s all incorporated, but try not to over-mix.

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Preheat your oven to 175°C/350°F. In one large, shallow bowl, mix an egg white with 1 tbsp of water, to make an egg wash. In another large, shallow bowl, pour in your shredded coconut.

Roll little half-walnut sized balls of dough between your hands, then dip into the egg wash, and roll in the coconut. I prefer to do the dipping with one hand, to keep the other hand relatively clean for rolling purposes… 🙂 But it doesn’t matter much, if some egg wash and coconut from your fingers gets rolled into the cookie!

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Place on a baking sheet covered in baking parchment, about 3-4 cm/1 inch apart, to allow for the cookies to spread out a little (they will spread out both when you press into them to make the thumbprint, and as they bake). Make a generously sized indentation in each cookie, thereby flattening it and leaving a border around the centre of the cookie (I either make three smaller dents next to each other, or wiggle my finger around to make the dent wider than a normal thumbprint). Fill the dent with as much lime curd as you think you want, I’d go for a scant tsp 🙂

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the coconut begins to get that nicely golden, toasted look. Leave to cool completely on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cookie tin/container.

And munch away 🙂 🐣

 

Little Lime and Meringue Tarts

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I spent New Year’s Eve with my cousin Justine, her two-year old Inaé, and my grandma Paulette (who always hated her name, and tried to get us to call her mamy Pauline instead, still does) 🙂 three generations of women. Justine and I were born exactly four weeks apart. And the funny thing is, she was born two weeks early, and I was born two weeks late 🙂 so I like to think that we would have been born on the same date. Her coming out early, and me holding on and coming out a bit later, is also somehow indicative of our personalities. She’s a lot more ‘here I am world, hear me roar’, than I am. And I like to stay cosy and warm, and just hang back a little bit 🙂 when we were little, before I moved to Copenhagen with my mum at the age of 4, Justine and I did everything together, and with both our parents working, grandma was usually the one taking care of us, and picking us up after school. We would take naps on my grandma’s bed, and go for walks in park Solvay, which had a garden with a lot of little round ponds, that were usually full of tadpoles. Justine and I have stayed very close, and although we’re super different in personality, she’s more like a sister to me than a cousin. I guess having a crazy family kind of makes you sisters in arms 🙂

Last night we drank fancy champagne that my grandma brought, ate salmon toasties, a thai take-away, and then these little lime and meringue tarts that I made earlier in the day. Lime curd is so easy to make, and somehow a tiny bit less sharp than lemon curd (which I also love love love). I love most things citrussy. Did you ever try adding lime juice to pineapple juice? If not, you should try it. It’s like tropical heaven in your mouth. I feel like this would also be extremely delicious with a bit of rum.

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I usually make a biscuit base when I make a lemon-meringue tart, but the digestive biscuits in my cupboard expired in February 2015, so I went for this short crust/sablée pastry from Maja Chocolat instead. Quick and easy to make, even without a food processor, and very easy to work with 🙂

For lemon meringue, I swear by this recipe by the sorted boys, it’s so easy and so so yummy, and looks crazy impressive even though the only thing that takes a bit of time is the curd, and it really doesn’t take very long at all… If I make a regular-sized tart with a biscuit-base, I always make it in a springform pan, so that it doesn’t get messed up when I’m unmolding it 🙂 I think I’m gonna stick to making mini ones in a muffin tin though, because it looks so much more impressive, and people go cuckoo for coco puffs for individual little desserts. This time, inspired by Maja Chocolat, I decided to swap lemon for lime, and I don’t think I’m ever going back. I just fricking love limes.

This recipe makes quite a lot, but you could always halve it 🙂 I made a double portion of pastry (mainly because the original recipe calls for ½ egg, and you know how sometimes, when you’re busy, making a double portion rather than faffing about with weighing an egg to split it in half, somehow just seems quicker and like less work?), which made for 21 little tarts, but if rolled out a bit more finely than I did mine, I’m sure it could stretch to make 24-25 little tarts! Since I’d doubled the pastry, I guestimated that I would need about 1 ½ portions of the curd from the sorted recipe, which left me with a small pot of leftover lime curd (so just enough to make 4-5 more little tarts). I also made 13 more meringue, but I needn’t have, so I’ve put the quantities for a single portion down below, it’s more than enough.

These could very easily be made in advance – make the pastry shells and lime curd the day before, keeping the filled little tarts in the fridge until the next day, then making/burning the meringue on the day of. I would also recommend doing this if you’re going to travel with the tarts, as the meringue will very easily start to slide off if held at even a slight angle (which I discovered to my great dismay, upon arrival at my cousin’s 😉 ), resulting in lopsided little tarts – which is a shame when you’ve just spent ages making and decorating them 🙂 as for the burnt/caramelised meringue, I recently acquired a blowtorch, but before then I would simply turn on the grill in my oven, wait until it was nice and hot, then briefly put the meringue-decorated tart under it with the oven door open, keeping a sharp watch so as to only just burn the meringue, but not melt the curd underneath 🙂

Little Lime and Meringue Tarts
Adapted from chocolat.dk and sorted.com
Yield: 21+ little tarts, depending on how thinly you roll out your pastry

Short crust:

  • 150 g cold butter, cubed
  • 300 g flour
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white, for brushing the pastry

Lime curd:

  • Juice and zest of 6 limes
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225 g sugar
  • 150 g cold butter, cubed
  • 1 ½ tsp corn flour, heaped
  • (You can add one drop of green food colouring, if you prefer your lime curd to be nice and green! But I don’t find this necessary 🙂 )

Meringue:

  • 3 egg whites*
  • 120 g caster sugar

Something to make with your leftover egg yolks!

First, make the crust: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, icing sugar and salt, then mix in the butter with your fingers until it resembles finely ground parmesan cheese/fine breadcrumbs. Beat your egg slightly in a cup or bowl, then pour into the the flour mixture, mixing with a fork or spoon for a bit then using your hands to press the dough together. It will be quite dry and easy to work with.

Roll out bits of the dough at a time on a cutting board, cutting out rounds of it with a cutter about
6 cm/2 inches in diameter (I used a large IKEA glass). Carefully lift each pastry round off the cutting board with a spatula, and place in an ungreased muffin tin. Gently press down to make sure it lays flat against the bottom and the sides (I also pres down with my nail all around the top to make a pattern, before pressing the pastry back against the sides. This makes a sort of flower petal/scalloped pattern which looks lovely once baked).

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Place the muffin tin with the pastry in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then poke little holes in the bottom of your pastry with a fork, to prevent it from bubbling up too much.

Bake in a preheated oven at 175°C/350°F for about 15 minutes, then briefly take your mini crusts out of the oven to brush them with egg white (just the bottom and sides, not the edge), and bake for a further 5 minutes, until golden. The egg wash will keep your tart crusts nice and crispy once filled with curd and cooled.

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Slip the crusts out of the muffin tin, and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, make the lime curd:

Juice and zest your limes into a small pot. Whisk in your eggs.

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Add the butter, sugar and corn starch, then heat up over medium heat, whisking throughout. Once the mixture starts to simmer and thicken, turn the heat down to low, and allow to keep on simmering for a little while, about 5 minutes, whisking now and then.

When your tart shells have cooled, pour about a scant ¼ cup/50 ml into each shell, so that it just reaches the edge.

Place in the fridge to cool (I like to place them in a roasting dish with sides higher than the little tarts, so they don’t get smushed, and cover them in tin foil). They should take a few hours to set completely (less if your fridge is set quite cold because you need to shower and finish the desserts and be at dinner in an hour and a half!).

Finally, make the meringue (once the curd has set completely!):

Beat your egg whites until they make stiff peaks. Then add in your sugar, and beat until the meringue is thick and glossy.

Pipe unto the little tarts however you please 🙂 I used a plastic freezer bag and cut a little hole in one of the corners because my piping bag is dead, so mine are a little rustic-looking 😉

Caramelise your meringue, either by using a blowtorch, or by placing the tarts (briefly!) under a hot grill.

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Keep in the fridge, and take out for about 5-10 minutes before serving 🙂

The tarts keep for a few days in the fridge, and are perfect to have for breakfast on January 1st, accompanied by tea, buttered toast and poached eggs! 😊

🎉🎉🎉 Happy 2016!!! 🎉🎉🎉

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