Lime season should be summer, you’d think. Then the weather feels perfect for lime-spiked drinks on ice and Asian salads, but it’s not until a few months later that limes really come into their own. Our backyard lime tree, a dwarf Tahitian, starts fruiting around the end of March. When the limes turn from deep green to a slightly more yellow, ‘limey’ colour, and they yield a little when squeezed, it’s time to start picking. Unlike lemon trees that keep giving for much of the year, limes are a special autumn treat.
The smell of a fresh lime is so fragrant and exotic. One of the first things we did with our limes a few weekends back was to squeeze them on waffles with a drizzle of maple syrup. This is my sister’s idea from the buffet breakfast at our hotel in Vietnam last year, and it is genius! Maple syrup can be a little sickly sweet for me, but the twist of lime balances things out beautifully and adds its own zippy flavour. Try it! It is very welcome on pancakes too.
Lime ice-cream is another thing I love to make at this time of year – and a lemon version is also superb whenever lemons are coming on in droves. It’s hard to believe how easy it is for how good it tastes. No ice-cream machine is needed and it takes perhaps ten minutes, zesting and juicing the fruit, stirring in icing sugar, whipping cream, and then combining everything together. It doesn’t need churning. You could easily increase the quantities to serve more people or to satisfy yourself with a more generous stash of leftovers.
Like any good lemon tart, I think this ice-cream should gently push the boundary in how tangy it is. Not so much that it makes your gums retract, but enough to keep things exciting. So I taste the cream mixture and keep adding lime juice until it feels just right.
Easy lime (or lemon) ice-cream
2–3 juicy limes (or 2 juicy lemons)
150 g icing (confectioners’) sugar
300 ml cream
Finely grate the zest of 2 limes, or 1 lemon. Juice the fruit, keeping half a lime or lemon aside. Combine the juice and zest in a mixing bowl and sift the icing sugar on top. Stir well.
Whip the cream to soft peaks, then pour in the lime or lemon mixture and combine. Taste, adding more lime or lemon juice until nicely tangy (or you can add more icing sugar if needed too).
Pour into a container and freeze overnight, or for a whole day.