Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Key Lime Tarts

Key Lime Tarts

I got schoolgirl giddy when I passed by a sign at a local bakery that read, "KEY LIME SEASON IS HERE!" O.M.G. Key Lime Pie. WOOOT! If you've ever tasted key lime pie, and I mean real key lime pie (you know, with key limes) you know there's almost nothing that can beat that lip-puckering tart/sweet combo. Regular limes just don't cut it.

Sliced Key Limes

The thing about key limes is that they are annoyingly small. To get a good cup of juice you have to go through the agony of squeezing about 2 pounds worth of limes. Without the aid of a juicer or reamer, it can be a bit of a nightmare. Of course, I have neither. I found it helpful to slice the key limes in half and first press them in a bowl with the palm of my hand, to get most of the juice out, then tackle the last few squeezes with my fingertips.

Key Limes, Zested

Traditional key lime pie is made with a graham cracker crust. I wanted to practice my dough rolling skills, so I tapped into my French memory bank and decided to make my tarts with a pâte sablée. Pâte sablée is a sweet, crumbly, cookie-like French pastry dough that is usually made with confectioner's sugar, egg, butter, all-purpose flour and almond flour. Breaking from tradition, I folded in some key lime zest to take it to that next level of tartness.

Key Lime Tarts

Although this dough can be difficult to roll out, the best thing about it is that it is easily patchable. Dough ripped? Missed a spot? Just add a piece of leftover dough and no one will ever know. ;)

This is totally worth the bruised fingertips.


Key Lime Tarts 

*I weighed out the ingredients to ensure consistency for future use, so the conversions in parentheses are close estimates.

Pâte Sablée:
250 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
125 grams (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
80 grams (1 cup) powdered sugar
40 grams (1/3 cup) almond flour
1 tablespoon key lime zest
a pinch of salt

In a mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and powdered sugar with a wooden spoon. Sift the almond flour into the bowl to be sure that there are no lumps, and mix thoroughly to combine. Add the whole egg, key lime zest and pinch of salt, and stir to combine.

Add all of the flour to the bowl at one time and gently mix until the dough just starts to come together. Use your hands to continue to mix it until it starts to form a ball. Remove from the bowl and place onto a floured work surface or counter, and knead a couple times until the flour has become incorporated into the dough.

Form the dough into a round disc and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

After the dough has rested, roll out onto a floured work surface until it is about 1/8" in thickness. Using a paring knife, cut the dough in circles about one and a half inches larger than your tart mold, (I used 4-1/2" tart molds) and gently lay the dough into each mold, pressing the dough along the bottom and up the sides with your fingertips. Roll the rolling pin along the top of the tart mold to remove any excess dough.

*You can also use the back of a floured, stainless steel measuring cup to gently press the bottom and sides of the dough against the mold.

To blind-bake the dough, poke the bottom of the tart dough all over with a fork, and bake in a preheated 400° Fahrenheit oven for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.

*If the bottom of the tarts start to bubble and rise up, just quickly open the oven and poke the dough with a fork once or twice.

Tart Filling:
332 grams (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
85 grams (3oz) key lime juice

In a bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks until combined.

Whisk the whole egg in a separate bowl, and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl. You will only need half of this egg, so passing it through the strainer makes for easier pouring. Pour half of the egg into the bowl with the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. Whisk to combine.

While whisking, pour the lime juice into the bowl in a small steady stream to ensure the filling doesn't curdle. Whisk until everything has been incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

Pour the filling into the tart pans and smooth out the tops with the back of a spoon.

Bake in a preheated oven at 300° Fahrenheit for about 8-10 minutes. 

Makes four 4-1/2" tarts.


  1. lime tart is one of the best tart that I ever tasted my mother baked for us every time we visit her I never tried to bake my self but I guess this recipe is quit simple and easy to follow.

    1. Katrina @ Lardon My FrenchMarch 27, 2012 at 10:34 PM

      Ooh mine probably can't compare to your mothers, but I hope it's good enough! Nothing can beat mom's home cooking though :)

  2. Thanks for the really nice comment on my blog regarding the food porn sites. You really made my day. If TasteSpotting is declining your photos, they are really missing out. Your photos are gorgeous... so is your blog, for that matter. I have enjoyed looking around your site very much. I'll be back.

    1. Katrina @ Lardon My FrenchMarch 27, 2012 at 10:32 PM

      Thanks Lynne - I really enjoyed your blog as well... look forward to sharing recipes :)

  3. Absolutely gorgeous. Got to be one of my top 5 treats, pity key limes are so hard to find here. What I wouldn't give for a slice right now with my tea!

  4. I love key limes! I also giggled at your blog name--tres clever!

  5. I remember making key lime pie without a juicer once...totally worth the $8 to pick one up though! Looks delicious!

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  7. can this recipe be made into one large tart ?

    1. Yes it can be made as one large tart. You will have to double the recipe and add an additional 5 min to the cooking time but I have used this recipe plenty of times for parties, etc.