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Classic Key Lime Tart

I got my start as a serious home cook through pie. I love pie, and relish making all types, from apple to cherry. But if you look at the recipes I have made and shared over the years (see here, here, or here), you would be pretty certain that my true affinity lies with the tart. Tarts are so straightforward, and are a great sweet for smaller families. Pies don’t keep more than a few days, and it can be hard for three people to eat all that pie. But tarts, they’re simple to make, smaller, and very forgiving.

I picked up bag of key limes at the store recently and spent a full week wondering what to do with them. I had planned on a key lime coconut sorbet, but when it came time to make something, I had to admit to myself that what I really wanted was a bright and tangy tart with a buttery, sweet graham cracker crust. And that’s just what I’ve made. This version isn’t too sweet so you can taste the limes, and has a “homemade” graham cracker crust, which might be one of my favorite things ever. As the weather on the east coast heats up, this is a great way to kick off tart season!

Key Lime Tart (adapted from Martha Stewart)
makes one 9″ tart

for the crust
10 graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
large pinch salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Liberally butter a 9″ tart pan. Using a food processor pulverize the graham crackers to a fine texture. Pulse in the sugar and salt, and then add in the melted butter. Dump the mixture in to the prepared tart pan.

Using the flat bottom of a glass or other similar device, firmly press the graham cracker mixture into the tart pan. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until the crust is fragrant and takes on a bit of color.

Set aside while you prepare the filling.

for the tart
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup fresh squeezed key limes (roughly 15 small limes)
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar (I used slightly less)
big pinch salt

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Then add the lime juice, zest, condensed milk, sugar, and salt. Whisk until smooth.

Pour into prepared tart shell, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the sides are set, but the center still has a bit of movement. Remove from over and cool to room temperature. Then, cover carefully with foil (so as not to brush the surface) and chill in the refrigerator for several hours.

Serve with a key lime slice and a dollop of whipped cream.

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