Saturday, April 12, 2014

Riding the High

Smiling medical students: not something one often encounters, not unless you count the "it's-early-in-the-morning-but-I-need-to-be-enthusiastic-to-get-honors" fixed grin. Match Day was a different story. My classmates matched incredibly well, and they all looked so, so happy. It'll continue to warm my cold, puckered ticker for some time; I'm smiling now just thinking of it.

Match Day was three weeks ago now, but my last day of medical school wasn't until yesterday. I've been on a second rotation in the medical ICU and loved it just as much as the first one, perhaps more (it helped that neurology knowledge came in handy). I'm not sure whether to be excited or not. Med school was frustrating, exhausting, embarrassing, devastatingly expensive, and totally awesome. Intern year is supposed to be the first three of those. I'll let you know in July.

To commemorate the Fin de Med School, I made these MICU-themed lime cream tarts. The writing is messier than I would have liked because I forgot to pick up some 12-cc syringes from the utility cart on my way home and had to use a much too large one that I had at home. It was much harder to control the flow of chocolate.

To make these, fill pre-baked tart shells (or shell) with slightly warm curd, then refrigerate the whole thing until the curd is firm or sliceable. I view using condensed milk for citrus pies as cheating; the turnabout is that it's a little harder to get a pie that slices instead of oozing.

Lime curd
3-4 limes, or enough for 1/2 cup juice
1 to 1 1/4 cups white sugar (I like a more sour curd and use less sugar)
4 oz (1/4 lb, or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 eggs, room temperature
pinch salt
To fully juice the limes, warm them slightly in the microwave before squeezing. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar with the zest from 4 limes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing until just blended, then add the lime juice and salt and mix until just combined.
Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened. If you have a food thermometer, this will occur at about 175 F; otherwise, cook until it is just below a simmer. This will take slightly longer if you used less sugar, but generally will be 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool until still warm, but easily handled. Pour into the cooled crust and allow to cool fully to room temperature, then refrigerate. I find that the pie cuts best after setting in the fridge for at least an hour, but it's not necessary. To mix it up, toss some fresh mint into the curd as it cools (and fish out the herbs afterwards) or add some cinnamon, cloves, or black pepper.