Sometime in late February to early March each year, when our backyard plum tree blossoms forth with showy vigor, we gather with friends to celebrate the advent of spring under its thirty foot-broad canopy. With food, of course.
As nature has it where we live, limes share the season, so here’s the second verse in the lime trilogy. The recipe is adapted from my forthcoming cookbook, co-authored with Susanna Hoffman, Bold: A Cookbook of Big Flavors (November, 2013, Workman).
For one 9-inch pie
1 large egg, whole
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
5 tablespoons butter, cut up
1/ 2 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/ 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
1. Make and bake the crust (see the sidebar).
2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the whole egg, egg yolks, 1 cup of the sugar, and cornstarch over medium heat. Add the butter and lime juice and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is barely simmering and just thick enough to stick to a spoon, about 5 minutes. Set aside off the heat.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
4. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add the remaining sugar, continuing to beat, until the mixture is smooth, glossy, and stiff peaks form.
5. Spread the lime curd evenly across the cooked crust. Spread the meringue evenly over the top and, using the flat side of a knife or your fingers, lift the meringue into multiple peaks. Sprinkle the coconut over all and bake until the meringue is set and nicely golden on its peaks, about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside at room temperature to cool for 1 to 2 hours before serving.