A few years ago, I stopped making New Year’s resolutions. No matter how good my intentions in January, before long I always found myself holding a bag full of broken promises with nothing but a guilty heart to show for it. In an effort to make our commitments for the new year a little stickier, instead of a long list of resolutions, my husband and I started coming up with a simple word or two that we want to hang on to for the year. A motto of sorts. Something we can repeat to ourselves or each other throughout the year when we need a little kick in the pants. In 2011, it was “Jump In”, meaning “take risks”, “try new things” (like starting a blog, for example), “what the hell are we waiting for?”.
On January 1, 2012, with the year’s mantra still up for grabs, we decided to start the year with an impromptu adventure. We put the kayaks on the roof of the car, packed our overnight bags and headed north towards Pt. Reyes. It was one of those weekends that was good to the last drop: a late afternoon paddle, followed with cold beer and fresh oysters on the half shell, sleeping late under a pile of quilts at the Olema Inn, a hike that was long enough to make our legs ache for days, and lots of time to reflect on the ups and downs of 2011 and hopes for the year ahead. During one of those moments, we settled on the catch phrase for 2012: “Savor.” A reminder to slow down and enjoy. To appreciate the fleeting moments that threaten to pass by unnoticed. To find joy in simple pleasures.
And with that in mind, the recipe I want to share with you is simple and sweet. For all the wonderful restaurant meals and elaborate home-cooked feasts of 2011, our simple New Year’s eve dinner at home in front of the fire was one of my favorites. Our main course was Dungeness crabs, steamed with champagne, butter, garlic and fennel, inspired by this beautiful post on The Year in Food. For dessert, the limes from our backyard tree were the stars. After two years of nurturing and fertilizing, our little tree is finally beginning to yield some fruit, which seemed just right for our last taste of 2011.
Inspired by the Vanilla Lime Posset at Twenty-Five Lusk in San Francisco, and using mrslarkin’s Lemon Posset recipe from Food52 as a guide, I made a Lime Posset, which is a rich and creamy custard. With only three ingredients, fifteen minutes of active prep and cooking time, it really could not be any simpler…and yet so elegant and cleansing. Not a bad way to end the year. And it just so happens to taste great with champagne. Also not a bad way to end the year.
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup lime juice (you’ll need 2-3 limes)
zest from two limes
Heat cream and sugar in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Continue cooking at a gentle boil for five minutes. Watch the heat closely, and turn it down slightly if the cream begins to froth up–you don’t want it to boil over. The mixture will still be very liquidy, and you might be tempted–as I did the first time I made this–to keep boiling a little longer to let it thicken, because it’s hard to believe that this hot, runny liquid will turn into the beautiful, creamy custard you envision. Have faith. Five minutes, no more, no less, will get you the perfect texture.
Remove pan from heat and stir in lime juice, and half of the lime zest. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, and then pour custard into small ramekins, espresso cups or port glasses. Sprinkle a little of the remaining lime zest on the top of each serving. This is a pretty rich and flavorful dessert, and a few bites go a long way. I like using a dish that holds about 1/4 cup if liquid, in which case, the recipe makes 6-8 servings.
Happy New Year! May you have many moments that are worth savoring.
PS- Right after I published this post, my friend The Wimpy Vegetarian turned me onto the concept of a bloghop, where the food blog community connects with other blogs to share recipes. It just so happens that the theme this month is “Citrus Love”, so I joined in on the fun. To read more about it and discover over 100 great citrus recipes from other food bloggers, pucker up and check out this post on The Wimpy Vegetarian.