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Feb 9, 2007 11:38 AM

Killer Key Lime Tart (specifically Tartlette) recipe?

Does anyone have a tried and true key lime tart recipe? I'm actually hoping to make tartlettes (approximately 1.5 inches in diameter) or tarts (approximately 3-4 inches in diameter) so if you have a recipe for those it would be great, but if not then I can just adjust the full-sized tart recipe accordingly. I've made key lime curd tartlettes before that involved adding the prepared curd to a cooked (homemade) shell, and piping stiff meringue on top. They were great, but I'd prefer to have the whole thing be homemade, as in that case the curd was purchased.

Alternatively, does anyone have a good key lime curd recipe, and is this a good time to be making this sort of thing? I know citrus fruit is in season this time of year, but for some reason when I think of key limes I think of summer and sunshine, so I have no idea if fresh key limes are good at this time of year, or whether I'll need to use a mixture of lemon/lime juice to imitate the key lime flavor in my recipe.


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  1. i used to make the lime tartlet recipe from cooks illustrated mag. unfortunately i checked out the magazine from the library so i don't have the recipe on me. the graham cracker crust was cooked first and then cooled then the lime curd filling was cooked in the crust. i used a muffin pan and popped them out after about 10-15 min in the oven. they were quite good actually.

    we're getting quite a lot of key limes in our markets but i used regular limes in this recipe with decent results.

    1. I bought a whole tray of Key Limes at GRAND CENTRAL MARKET this week, so I guess this is the season.

      I am also looking for a recipe for Key Lime Curd.

      1. I've had good success with the key lime meringue pie from Chez Panisse Fruit. For the curd, the only change I made was to follow the cooking instructions from Best Recipe:

        3/4 cup sugar
        1/3 cup cornstarch
        1/8 t salt
        1 1/2 cups water
        1 T grated key lime zest
        2/3 cup key lime juice
        4 egg yolks
        2 T unsalted butter

        1) Mix sugar through water in saucepan. Simmer over med heat, whisking occasionally at the beginning, more frequently as it thickens.
        2) When it starts to simmer and is translucent, whisk in yolks, 2 at a time. Whisk in zest, then juice, then butter.
        3) Bring to a good simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd.

        Good luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: tinybites

          Thanks Tinybites.

          Won't the egg yolks curdle if they are not tempered before adding to the hot syrup?

          How would you recommend storing the curd? How long does it keep?

          Do you have any idea of how many of the little Key Limes it takes to get the required amount of joice?

        2. My only tip is to top the pie with a half meringue/half whipped cream topping and bake. Here is the Martha Stewart recipe I got the idea from:

          1 ½ c graham cracker crumbs (about 10 sheets)
          ¾ c sugar
          6 T butter, melted and cooled
          pinch of salt
          1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
          4 large eggs separated
          ¾ c key lime juice
          ¾ c heavy cream

          Heat oven to 375. In a bowl, combine crumbs, 3 T sugar, butter and salt. Press into buttered pie plate, bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Reduce oven to 325. In a bowl, combine condensed milk, yolks and lime juice. Pour into crust. Return pie to oven and bake until center is just set, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together remaining sugar and egg whites. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water, and stir until warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved. Place bowl on mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on med-high speed until stiff peaks form and meringue is glassy, about 5 minutes. Place cream in a chilled bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Gently whisk 1/3 of the cream into meringue. Using a rubber spatula, fold in remaining cream. Top pie with meringue mixture; freeze until topping is firm enough to serve.

          1 Reply
          1. re: fabkc

            Wow...thanks for the idea regarding the meringue/whipped cream mixture. I've been sitting here debating whether to top the tarts with meringue or whipped cream, but didn't think that perhaps a combination of both would work best. Have you by chance made the completed tart a day in advance? I really need to do it ahead of time due to my work schedule, but I worry that the topping might weep if it sits for that long. Also, the filling that I am using is unbaked (it is basically a curd that is poured into a blind baked shell and left to set in the refrigerator). Do you think this would still be good with the whipped cream/meringue topping you suggested, given that the above recipe involves a baked filling? Thanks!

          2. This is for Fleur regarding the tempering of the yolks prior to adding to the syrup. If you keep the temperature at a medium heat, you should not have a problem with the yolks curdling. When it's time to add the yolks, whisk them in, two at a time rapidly. If you are unsure of using this method, simply temper the yolks and add half the mixture at a time when necessary. Hope this helps!
            PS: Store the curd with plastic wrap on the surface in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

            1 Reply
            1. re: windhaml

              Thanks windhaml, you beat me to it. I second what you say!!