light bright + airy pomelo-lime mousse

pomelo lime mousse

Two years ago, I had a dream about this recipe. [Like an awake sort-of dream. Why rely on my subconscious to dream up recipes when my conscious is all hey man how bout this schnazzy somethin’?] Pomelos had appeared in the exotic fruit section of the grocery store, and I was intrigued. I jotted some notes down, but by then I was too late – I had missed my chance to buy any of the mysterious fruit. Last year, I missed my chance again, because I was too busy acclimating to my new life in the woods. But this time around, I sprung into action.

Larger in diameter than grapefruit, but close to if not smaller in edible volume due to a thick spongy membrane, pomelos are juicy and mild tangy, and sweet-not-too-sweet. Shedding them of their thick outer skin is half the fun, though eating them is plenty good too.

pomelo lime mousse

I used to have a violin teacher who also worked in the real estate industry. One of his favorite pastimes during our lessons was debunking realtor slang for me. “Light, bright, and airy” was one of the ole standbys, used to make homes with small plain rooms sound welcoming, large, and nice. Bright and airy could refer to new large windows…. or perhaps old windows that were leaky and drafty.

In this instance, light, bright and airy connotes nothing but the best. This pomelo-lime mousse is creamy yet light, decadent though not cloying, fruity and fragrant but not overly laden with flavor. It is like a grass-is-growing flowers-are-sprouting bees-are-humming birds-are-singing sheer lacy dream in whipped cream+curd form.

Pomelo-Lime Mousse
Serves 8-10. Could be served as is, or as a component in a cake or trifle. Oooh, trifle. <–Look, my conscious just had another awesome idea.

++Ingredients:++

5 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
~3/4 c. pomelo juice (juice of one pomelo)
Zest from 1/2 a pomelo
Juice and zest from one lime
2 c. heavy cream
Additional pomelo and lime zest, to garnish

++Directions:++

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar until fluffy, light, and slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes if using an electric mixer. Set aside. In a double boiler set over high heat, melt butter.  Add egg mixture, stirring very frequently over a lengthy time period until the mixture turns custard- or curd-like. It will likely take the better part of 20 minutes. Don’t leave the mixture attended, however, or gloopy over-thickened bits will form on the bottom of the pan. When custardy, remove from heat.

Stir in juices and zests, and let cool to room temp, 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, whip cream past the stiff peaks stage. Gently fold in the pomelo-limey mixture until just incorporated. Mow down immediately because it is delicious! …or chill 1-2 hours in the fridge first.

Store well-covered in the fridge for one day if you must, but the mousse will quickly lose its dream-like qualities if you abandon it for much longer. It will grow lonely and watery. Don’t let that happen.

pomelo-lime mousse

Everything has been nice lately. It’s wonderful to no longer be sick as a dog. Poor maligned dogs, I should say it’s wonderful to no longer be sick as a sicky. Now I’m just back to being me, scampering about in the woods and loving my incredible life.

Things I’m thinking about:
Gardening! the cute lil seeds that are sprouting in my cabin right now. Yesterday, it was Oregon Spring tomatoes and Heshiko bunching onions. What will it be today??
Activity! after 5 weeks of doing nothing, I feel like a soggy potato without any starch, aka a wimp with no muscles. I’m getting back into my pushup/squat/insert other fitness here routine. I’ve taken to doing quick rounds of tabata youtube videos, sometimes even in the pre-dawn moments before work when I can wake myself up early enough. And last weekend, we went downhill skiing. I’d only been once before, when I lived in France in 2007. This time was much much much better, as I knew beforehand not to solely rely on “the snowplow” to get me down a steep hill.
Material goods! i have had the same face for the past five years. And so, after much contemplation, I have decided to get a facelift! JK, I just have a new pair of glasses on the way. JUST a new pair of glasses you say, beautiful glasses, gorgeous trendy in-your-face, heck, in-my-face new glasses I reply. My face is going to be a new face! A face all my own and yet nothing like me! I am pleased as punch.
A car! every since we broke the last one, I’ve missed having a car. Only having my truck is inefficient and fuel stupid. A car is on horizon – I hope.
– The Treats Sheet in the bottom photo! two pounds of mallowy goodness. Today my boss asked if I could eat the whole thing, and after prefacing with “I don’t even really like Rice Krispie treats,” I hypothesized that yes, I could easily eat all of this. Especially if sectioned off and stacked, to create a rarely-seen triple decker treat (TDT).

fernskiingtreatsapizza

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kiwi lime blueberry raw cheesecakelets

I told myself I wouldn’t give you another blueberry recipe so soon. But I am on a ball. I am on a roll. And what do you do with a ball that is rolling? You kick it to the moon, duh.

Are you ready for my moon-kicked ball of the week? I, the self-proclaimed patron saint of all things buttery, and sugary, and unhealthy and yummy and preservativey and chemicaly and badforyouy, have managed to churn up a confusing surprise.

Kiwi Lime Blueberry Raw Cheesecakelets!

kiwi lime blueberry raw cheesecake

We have my favorite world scamperer Hannah to thank for the inspiration here. Her whirling dervish of a mind has created two similar delicacies (mango, blackberry), both of which I’ve made and loved. I recently made two varieties of my own, and while these that you see here turned out to be severely kickass, my other creation (tangerine + meyer lemon) left much to be desired. Hence, another blueberry smack in the face for ya. Smack.

You know what else is severely kickass? How easily my truck can churn through huge patches of mud. Things are warming up around here, and now that roads are getting sloppy, I regularly create muddy water tunnels as I drive. Legit walls of water go up and around the back of my truck, occasionally lapping down into the bed. Picture that. Now picture THIS:

partridge

Pretty cute, eh? Look at that ruffed grouse, being all ruffed and stuff. They call them partridge around here, which is sort of foolish if you ask me, because partridge are partridge, and grouse are grouse. But what would I know? I’m just from away… [and, uh, from the “top ruffed grouse-producing state in the US”].

The same they that call grouse ‘partridge’ shoot said partridge (grouse) like nobody’s business, so it’s reassuring to me, the ultimate non-hunter that I currently am, to find out that there is a roughed grouse population cycle, that seemingly transpires regardless of hunting pressure. Sometimes I wish I had studied wildlife biology in much more depth than I had time for in college. At the very least, I wish I had interacted with the peculiar grouse people who I lived near for a few weeks as a forestry student. They got up before the sunrise to go sit silently in the woods and wait to hear grouse drumming on logs, i.e. being all courtshipish. Weird? I thought so.

Next up, a nifty little segue. See that piece of wood in the background in the first picture? That’s a piece of birdseye maple, renowned for its gorgeousness and hefty sales tag. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Hmm, well, check out what I’ve been up to in the past week….

birdseyeheart tree

Yep, I’ve been marking birdseye maple logs. At my awesome job site that is filled with awesome wood. It is such an incredible place, and the trees are so very happy to grow there that they even develop heart shapes to show affection for their surroundings. Aww.

Okay, enough silly woods love.

Bring on the raw cheesecakelets!

kiwi lime blueberry raw cheesecake

These have a bit of a kick from the kiwi, so choose the softest kiwi possible if looking to avoid a mouth-puckering experience. I used wild blueberries here; perhaps with storebought ones, less sweetener would be needed.

Kiwi Lime Blueberry Raw Cheesecakelets {inspiration here}

Makes 12

For the crust

1/2 c. cashews
2/3 c. dates, pitted
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp agave nectar or honey

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and process until mixture comes together when pressed. If mixture remains loose, add water 1/2 tsp at a time, until mixture clumps well.

Divide mixture across 12 muffin cups, pressing evenly and well into each cup. Set aside in the freezer.

For the cheesecakealicious topping

Heaping 1/2 c. cashews, soaked overnight, and drained
Fruit of 3 kiwis
2/3 – 3/4 c. blueberries, frozen or fresh
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp agave nectar or honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp + 1 tsp coconut oil, melted

In a (clean) food processor, pulse cashews for 10 seconds. Add kiwi fruit, blueberries, lime juice, agave nectar or honey, and salt, and blend until smooth. Add coconut oil, and pulse until combined.

Pour/scoop mixture evenly across 12 prepared muffin cups, smoothing the top of each. Freeze until set, at least three hours in a deep freeze, longer in a refrigerator freezer. Thaw for ten minutes before removing from muffin pan – this will make them easier to remove.

Serve cheesecakelets slightly thawed, depending on how long you’re willing to wait; I would recommend 5-10 minutes to take a bit of the cold edge off.

kiwi lime blueberry raw cheesecake

grapefruit lime meringue pie

I’ve spent a lot of time lately daydreaming about a few things. Of how I want to buy a giant Spice Girls poster and hang it in my bathroom, for one. Of how if I meow back and forth with my cat frequently enough, I should probably discover true communication with her. And also, of potential flavor wow-ing combos for meringue pies.

I’ve made a few excellent versions in the past, flavored with blood orange and rhubarb.

However, I may enjoy this new creation the most : the tangy, slightly sour and bitter, but still sweet Grapefruit Lime Meringue Pie.

This filling is amazing. The lime juice brings tangy sourness and its zest brings a hit of bitterness. The grapefruit juice and zest are milder and sweeter, and successfully balance out the limes. Over time the custard sweetens, so that by its second day in the fridge, it is predominantly sweet.

In addition to pie filling daydreams, I’ve lately been experimenting with various flours. High gluten flour in pancakes [a smashing hit!], rice flour in tempura batter [not a huge success!], and for this recipe, a Rye Flour and Hazelnut Pie Crust [which I will now talk more about!].

Rye flour is high in protein and low in gluten, which I used to my advantage. As with other meringue pies, the pe crust must be blind-baked in this recipe. Normally, regardless of the amount of beans I pile onto my crust, the dough puffs up awkwardly and inevitably breaks in places, creating a poofy mess. Not so here: the low gluten content in rye flour means it has relatively weak rising powers. Win!

The crust reminded me a bit of linzer torte pastry dough. It was tenderly sweet and nutty, and was the perfect companion for the tart limey grapefruit custard and delicious pillowy meringue.

 

Grapefruit Lime Meringue Pie

{Original recipe}

Rye Flour and Hazelnut Pie Crust

++Ingredients:++

1 c. rye flour
1/4 c. hazelnuts
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter
ice water (1-2 tbsp)

++Directions:++

Pulse rye flour, hazelnuts, salt and sugar to combine in food processor. Add pieces of unsalted butted, mix well. Add ice water a few drops at a time, mixing just until ingredients begin to ball together.

Spray a pie plate with baking spray if desired – the crust is a bit sticky after baking, and while I didn’t do this step, I will next time. Roll dough out into a circle and press into pie plate (or just press it in by hand, as I did). Put in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Fill chilled pie shell with a circle of aluminum foil, and cover with dried beans or pie weights. Blind-bake for 25 minutes, remove beans and foil, and cook an additional three to five minutes until bottom appears cooked. Cool to room temperature.

Grapefruit Lime Custard

++Ingredients:++

Zest of 1 grapefruit
Zest of 1 1/2 limes
Juice of 3 grapefruit
Juice of 2 limes
3/4 c. sugar
3 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 c. hot water
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour

++Directions:++

In a sauté pan on medium-high heat, reduce grapefruit and lime juice to 3/4 cup, roughly half of it’s original volume. This will only take a few minutes; watch for the color to darken in hue. Set this juice aside in a small bowl to cool.

In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, cornstarch, salt and hot water to a boil, whisking frequently. When the mixture boils, it will change in consistency, and will look gloopy and viscous. Cooking, stirring continuously, 2 additional minutes.

Add egg yolks and 1 1/2 tbsp of zest to the cooled juice mixture. Temper eggs slowly with 1/2 cup of the hot sugar-cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly. Return pan to heat, and, whisking continuously, stir in the grapefruit-lime mixture. When all is mixed, add butter. Cook over medium-high heat for three to five minutes. Near the end of cooking, sift flour over mixture and whisk in well. When all is combined, turn off heat and allow to partially cool.

Mixture should be lump free. If so, pour into cooled crust. If not, strain into crust. Cool to room temperature, then place in fridge while making the meringue.

Meringue

++Ingredients:++

1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp water
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 – 2 tsp grapefruit juice, if desired

++Directions:++

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, beat egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Beat in cream of tartar until eggs reach soft peaks. Slowly add boiling hot sugar syrup in a thin stream, mixing constantly on medium speed. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks.

Add grapefruit juice, if desired, to give depth to the meringue. Note: This will reduce the meringue’s ability to remain stiff, but will taste nice !

Spoon or pipe meringue onto cooled pie. Leave no filling exposed.

With the broiler set on low, cook meringue until adequately browned. Remove promptly, and return to fridge.

Enjoy, as we here in northern Maine did, beside a fire created of freshly-split logs taken from the side of the road forest.