If you've been following along over on Instagram, then you'll know my friend recently dropped over a basket of handpicked Meyer lemons from a lemon tree in her backyard. She had an abundance of them and knew I would love using the lemons to bake up a storm in my kitchen. She certainly wasn't wrong there! For those of you who haven't heard of Meyer lemons, they are native to China and are more bright and fragrant than other lemons. The zest has a floral and subtly spicy depth to it, and they are also super juicy. I have already made this cosy and warm Lemon Rossella Pudding but I also knew I wanted to make a citrusy lemon curd but elevate it in my own way. That's why I am so excited to share my Lemon & Native Finger Lime Macadamia Tart.
This is my take on the classic Lemon Curd Tart. I have pumped up the citrus levels to an all time high with the addition of native finger lime extract and fresh finger lime caviar. I have made a sweet tart crust and have mellowed it out by blitzing native macadamia nuts in a food processor into a meal and adding it to the dough. While the tart crust is subtly sweet thanks to the addition of icing sugar, adding macadamia meal takes it down a very subtle notch and compliments the citrusy zing of the lemon and native finger lime. It's a party in your mouth, in the best kind of way.
What is native finger lime?
The mature native finger lime is a truly spectacular fruit. It comes in a wide range of colours, such as green, yellow, purple, pink and bright red. When it's sliced open, it reveals ‘caviar like’ pearls, which are filled with a lemon-lime juice. However, there’s more to the finger lime than just it's good looks! It has 3 times the Vitamin C of a mandarin, as well as folate, potassium and Vitamin E. It also contains considerable antiseptic properties. The size of your little finger, but packing a HUGE nutritional punch, the native Finger Lime is an unusual fruit that’ll add a zesty vibrancy to any dish.
What does native Finger Lime taste like?
Native Finger Lime delivers a wonderful citrusy taste with a hint of acidity and bitterness. It is zest in a bottle and packs a nutritional punch!
Where can I get native Finger Lime?
For this recipe, I used native Finger Lime Extract from The Australian Superfood Co. If you're new to cooking with native ingredients, I highly recommend their Fruit Extract Sample Pack. It's a great place to start and you can try cooking with 6 different native extracts.
Where is native Finger Limegrown?
Finger limes (also known as Citrus Australasica) are found growing on small trees in the rainforests in southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales. The small fruits were originally used by Indigenous tribes as a food source for its delicious taste and were foraged in tropical jungles for their tangy pulp.The pearls were also used for medicinal purposes to ward off sickness and were applied topically as an antiseptic to ward off disease, while the pulp and juice was applied as an antiseptic to infected sores and boils.
When European settlers cleared the bush for farming, many of the finger lime trees were destroyed. Fortunately, the tree survives in several isolated pockets of sub-tropical rainforest on private land and in national parks. Currently these are the only wild sources of finger limes in the world.
Do I need to use fresh Finger Lime in this recipe?
No, not at all. I have used fresh native Finger Lime as a garnish on top and The Australia Superfood Co Finger Lime Extract in the curd recipe.
How can I incorporate native Finger Lime into my everyday cooking?
This recipe is a great place to start! You can enjoy it fresh in your morning smoothie for an uber-refreshing drink, or watch it go down a treat in your sauces and jams! Or you can add a teaspoon of The Australia Superfood Co Finger Lime Extract to your cocktails, salad dressings, desserts and Lote more.
Making a home made tart crust seems scary, is it?
It sure does seem scary, and I can confirm that my adoration for tart crust hasn't aways been linear. I was very intimidated of baking a tart crust at home; all the ones I've seen online and in cookbooks are so perfect that they don't even look approachable, or seem achievable. A while ago I decided to give it a try and truthfully, it wasn't as difficult as I thought it was going to be. If anything, it was really simple and a very pleasant experience, and I have come to love the more rustic homemade style tart crusts rather than the perfect ones we see all over Pinterest and Instagram. They just seem more, real. Of course I have learned a few lessons along the way, which I will be sharing, and have since made three savoury tarts from scratch. If I can do it, so you can. Trust me. Here's what I have made recently:
I now truly adore the experience of baking a tart crust from scratch. Nothing beats mindful baking in the kitchen and being able to transform butter and flour into a tart crust; it's one of the most humbling experiences you can have in the kitchen.
How do I make a tart crust?
A food processor is essential in making a tart crust. If you don't have one, invest in one. Mine is from KitchenAid and there are plenty of options to choose from on websites like Kitchen Warehouse. It's incredible the places a simple food processor will take you in the kitchen. This particular recipe calls for a sweet tart crust; when you have a zingy citrus tart filling, a sweet tart crust is the way to go. Here is how you can make your own start crust at home.
For this recipe start by blitzing raw macadamias into a meal, then blitz in flour, sugar and salt in a food processor, add butter and blitz again, add an egg and vanilla extract and blitz again, then bring the dough together with your hands on a clean work surface that has been sprinkled generously with flour, shape the dough into a ball, wrap it tightly in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour.
Following this, flour your clean work surface thoroughly (in my experience, the more flour the better as this means the buttery dough won't stick to the surface when you're rolling it out), take the dough ball out of the fridge and unwrap it, then gently yet quickly roll the dough out into the shape of a flat circle using a rolling pin, flipping it over once or twice as you roll it to about 1cm thick, and sprinkle extra flour on both sides during this process so it doesn't stick to the work surface and is easy to lift up and onto the tart tin. The pastry may break when you lift it up, but don't worry too much about that. Just get it over the tart tin using your hands or the rolling pin, and gently push the dough into the corners of the tart tin, and trim the excess dough off the edges with your fingers.
Line the tart with a sheet of baking paper, fill the tart with dry uncooked rice, and bake it in the oven (preheated) at 180C for 20 mins. Carefully remove the tart tin out of the oven (keep the oven door closed while you do this step to keep the heat escaping from the oven), lift the baking sheet with the rice on top off the tart, and place the tart shell back into the oven to bake for another 10 mins. The tart crust should look lightly golden in colour. Turn the oven off, take the tart out of the oven and let it cool completely on your kitchen bench. And then it's done and ready for you to add the filling, which in this case is the lemon and native finger lime curd.
What equipment do I need?
It's no secret I love cooking with native Australian ingredients, so while you're here make sure you check out these recipes featuring native ingredients Warm Lemon Rossella Self Saucing Pudding, Lemon Myrtle & Thyme Damper, Apple & Quandong Galette, Campfire Baked Brie with Bush Dukkah, and Rhubarb and Apple Crumble with Davidson Plum.
Information about native Rossella has been obtained from The Australian Superfood Co website, which I consider to be a great native Australian ingredients resource.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through this project. I hope you enjoyed it and feel inspired! If you wish to show your appreciation for this tutorial and support the future of my website, any donation is humbly welcomed by clicking the donate link below.
1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
125g cold salted butter
1 egg, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp Native Finger Lime extract
3/4 cup fine white sugar
125g salted butter, cut into small pieces
Blitz macadamia nuts in a food processor until it resembles a coarse meal. Add flour, sugar and salt and blitz for a few seconds. Add butter and pulse one second on and one second off 15 times until the mixture is crumbly and resembles a coarse meal. Add egg and vanilla extract, pulse until the dough starts to come together and it's no longer dry. Be mindful - don't keep blitzing. You want to avoid a ball of dough forming.
Generously dust a clean work surface with flour. Turn the crumbly dough out, gently knead a couple of times and form the dough into a ball using your hands. If it's sticky, dust the ball with more flour then wrap tightly in cling film and place it in the fridge to rest for at least one hour.
Generously dust a clean work surface with flour.Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out a few times using a rolling pin. Flip it over, dust the surface of the dough with a little more flour and roll again.This is to ensure the dough doesn't stick to the work surface. Dust with more flour if the dough is feeling sticky. Roll the dough into a circle and wide enough to cover your tart pan; I used this tart pan and the measurements are 23.5cm x 2.5cm. Lift the dough carefully (using your hands or the rolling pin) and place it gently into the tart pan. Trim the edges off using your fingers or a knife. Cover the pan tightly with cling film and place in the fridge until the dough is firm, usually about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Take the tart out of the fridge, cover with a sheet of baking paper and fill the tart with dry uncooked rice, and bake it in the oven at 180C for 20 mins.Carefully remove the tart tin from the oven (keep the oven door closed while you do this to keep the heat escaping from the oven), lift the baking sheet with the rice on top off the tart, and place the tart shell back into the oven to bake for another 10 mins. The tart crust should look lightly golden in colour. Turn the oven off, take the tart out of the oven and let it cool completely on your kitchen bench.
In a medium heat proof bowl whisk eggs, sugar, lemon juice, native finger lime extract. Place the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Cook on a moderate heat and whisk the mixture constantly until it becomes thick. This can take anywhere between 6 to 20 minutes. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon and if you run your finger through it, it should leave a clear pass.
Remove the mixture from the heat, run it through a sieve and add two pieces of butter at a time. Whisk until the butter has melted, add the next two pieces of butter and keep repeating until all the butter has been incorporated into the curd. Take your time as whisking the butter in gradually will ensure the curd is light and airy. Adding cold butter will bring the curd down to room temperature. If it's still feeling slightly warm, wait until it has completely cooled.
Fill the tart shell with the lemon curd and refrigerate for at least 3 hours until it's chilled and set. To serve, garnish the top of the curd tart with slices of fresh lemon and native finger lime caviar.