I have long been intrigued by finger limes, possibly for no better reason than they look interesting. Whilst I have found preserved ones in gourmet delis, fresh finger limes have proved to be slightly elusive. I located some frozen ones in Denmark, but recently discovered that finger limes are being produced in commercial quantities in Western Australia by The Pemberton Finger Lime Company.
Finger limes are native to the rainforests of South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales but as commercial interest has increased their growing region has widened. They have a very short five to six week season, which in Western Australia runs between the end of March and the end of April, depending on growing conditions. This short seasons explains why they can be quite tricky to source but thanks to The Pemberton Finger Lime Company I received a whole punnet of these lovelies to play with.
Finger limes are also known as citrus caviar; so called because of the small caviar-like vesicles within the fruit. These are extracted by cutting the finger limes in half then squeezing out the pulp, which ranges in colour from light green through to deep pink/red. The pulp has a distinct floral lime flavour, which I find reminiscent of kaffir lime.
The citrus pulp is usually paired with seafood, but also goes well with Asian flavours such as chilli and ginger. I however have a bit of an ice cream thing going on at the moment thanks to the new ice cream maker which I recently received for my birthday. Turns out finger limes are extremely good in ice cream. Obviously it took a couple of batches to confirm this theory. They also pair well with chocolate, so by making an ice cream cup cake you get the best of both worlds.
I used both the zest and the vesicles, which gives a lovely fragrant ice cream with small surprise pops of lime. These are very good. So good I had to share with my neighbours lest I eat them all myself.
Finger limes are currently available from the Boatshed Market in Cottesloe and Scutti in South Perth. They do freeze for up to three months so I urge you to give this fascinating fruit a try whilst you can.
Finger Lime Ice Cream Cup Cakes
- 150 g macadamia nuts
- 50 g coconut
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
- Pinch of salt
Finger Lime Ice Cream
- 250 ml full cream milk
- 500 ml cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 110 g castor sugar
- Zest of 3 finger limes pulp reserved
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Extra finger lime pulp to serve
- Preheat the oven to 175C
- Spread the macadamias on a baking tray and place in the oven for 5 - 10 minutes until the nuts are golden brown and fragrant. Shake the tray a couple of times during roasting to ensure even cooking.
- Spread the coconut on a separate lined baking tray and bake for about 5 minutes until the coconut has turned a deep golden brown. Stir if the edges are browning to quickly.
- Allow both the coconut and the macadamia nuts to cool to room temperature.
- Place all of the base ingredients into a food processor and process until the mixture starts to come together. Be careful not to over-process or you will end up with nut butter.
- Line muffin trays with 18 muffin liners and divide the mixture evenly between the liners.
- Press the mixture firmly into the base of the muffin liners and place into the freezer to firm up.
Finger Lime Ice Cream
- Set a large bowl in a sink of cold water prior to starting.
- Place the milk, cream and finger lime zest into a saucepan and place on a medium heat. Warm the mixture until it is just below boiling point. Do not allow it to boil.
- Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Whisk together until the mixture is thick and frothy.
- Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the eggs, whisking gently to incorporate.
- Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan and add the vanilla extract.
- Stir continuously over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened to the point that it coats the back of the spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil or it will curdle.
- Empty the custard into the bowl placed previously in the sink and continue to stir until it has cooled slightly.
- Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming and place in the fridge to cool.
- Once the custard has cooled, place it in your ice cream maker.
- When the ice cream has started to thicken but is not yet completely frozen, add the reserved finger lime pulp.
Cup Cake Assembly
- Assemble the cup cakes using freshly made ice cream. Do not allow the ice cream to harden in the freezer first.
- Remove the bases from the freezer and fill the muffin liners with the soft ice cream.
- Return to the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Serve individual cup cakes with a spoonful of finger lime pearls on top.
If the custard looks like it is starting to curdle, tip it immediately into the bowl in the sink and stir like your life depends on it. I use a whisk if this happens to me.
This month’s Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is all about seasonal produce and is again hosted by JJ at 84th&3rd. As we are right in the middle of the obscenely short finger lime season it seems a good time to indulge. Don’t forget to check out all the other seasonal delights at the end of this post.