Today should be the last of a long line of rainy days. At least I hope so. I have two days of golf this week, something that hasn’t happened since December.
To celebrate the sun I decided to make some Key Lime Tartlets. I guessed how much tart dough I would need, and was pretty close.
I also guessed how much key lime filling would be required and missed it by a country mile. (Which makes me wonder, is a country mile longer that a city or suburb mile?)
If you know (or follow me) you know I am not one to throw away anything, so I made two 6” graham cracker pie crusts to use the excellent left over filling
Once the tart dough rested 30 minutes in the fridge I rolled it, and used a cookie cutter to cut circles about the diameter of each tart pan, plus twice the height. Once pressed into the pan I docked the bottoms with a knife then lined them with parchment paper. It’s easier to line them if you crumple the paper first.
I should have applied the egg was before filling the paper lined cups with beans. I had to unload, egg wash, and replace the paper and beans. Live and learn.
I used Italian merengue to counter the tartness of the key lime. I also added some lime zest to counter the sweetness of the merengue… a never ending wormhole.
The filling was sharp, the shell sweet and melt-in-your-mouth, and the merengue perfect. What more could you ask for?
Key Lime Tartlets
• 100 g cold butter cut into small cubes
• 200 g all-purpose flour
• 60 g icing sugar
• ½ tsp vanilla
• ¼ tsp salt
• 2 egg – 1 for the dough and the other 1 reserved for an egg wash
• zest (grated rind) of 1 lime
• 4 large egg yolks
• 14-ounce can (397g) sweetened condensed milk, (1 1/4 cups)
• 3/4 cup (170g) Key lime juice or lime juice
• 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon lime oil, optional
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Mix butter with sugar
- Add salt then vanilla
- Add egg
- Stir in flour. Mix by hand until incorporated
- Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 min
- Butter tartlet pans, or use non-stick pans
- Roll dough to about ⅛” thick
- Lay over tart mold and press into all crevices
- Roll top to cut off excess
- Prick holes in bottom and sides of formed dough
- Fill tarts with pastry weights (I put beans in a cupcake paper and remove 5 minutes before the end of the bake.)
- Paint edges of the tartlet with the egg wash.
- Bake in preheated oven 350 deg F (175 C) for 15 min
- Immediately remove from pans and cool on a wire rack
- Whisk the lime zest and egg yolks at high speed of an electric mixer for about 4 minutes. The mixture will lighten in color and thicken somewhat, appearing similar to Hollandaise sauce.
- Stir in the sweetened condensed milk, mixing until smooth. Beat at high speed for 3 minutes; the filling will become slightly thicker and gain a bit of volume.
- Add the lime juice, stirring just to combine. The mixture will thicken again. Add lime oil to taste.
- Pour the filling into the crust and return the tart (on the baking sheet) to the oven. Bake the tart for 18 to 22 minutes, until it appears set around the edges though still a bit wobbly in the center. The center should read about 145°F on a digital thermometer.
- Remove the tart from the oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
- Once chilled, serve the key lime pies cold with whipped cream and a lime slice if desired. Store leftover pies in the refrigerator (covered) for up to 1 week. If they last that long!
Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Up to 1 day in advance, you can prepare the crust ingredients and the filling ingredients separately. Store each covered tightly in the refrigerator until ready to assemble and bake. Likewise, as noted in set 4, you can bake the key lime pies and store in the refrigerator for 1 day before serving. Key lime pies freeze well, up to 2–3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
• 150g (or ¾ cup) granulated sugar
• 60ml (or ¼ cup) water
• 60g (or ¼ cup) egg whites (about 2 large egg whites)
- In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat over low heat, stirring until the sugar has
dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat to medium-high and allow the syrup to come to a boil.
- In the meantime, add the egg whites to a medium-sized, heatproof bowl and mix (with a mixer fitted with the
whisk attachment) until foamy and the whites are almost able to hold soft peaks.
- Once the syrup is boiling, clip on a candy (or sugar) thermometer.
- Cook until the syrup reaches 116°C/240°F, then take the pan off the heat and slowly drizzle the hot syrup into
the bowl with the foamy egg whites, mixing continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Don’t pour the
syrup onto the whisk, or the syrup may splatter against the sides of the bowl (or into your face!). Instead, aim
for a spot close to the whisk.
- Once all the syrup has been added, keep mixing until the bottom of the bowl feels cool to the touch and the
meringue has cooled down to body temperature.
- Use immediately or keep in the fridge (covered) until ready to use. It’s a very stable meringue, so it won’t start
weeping, leaking or collapsing.
Italian meringue can be made two days in advance and stored in the fridge until needed (covered with plastic wrap).
I know I say the same thing every time but this was definitely my all time favorite (for now). The crust…perfection…the filling…indescribable…the meringue….well, I think I could easily sit down with a bowl of that and be the most content person on earth! I have no shame, I ate every crumb (without a single morsel of regret) before the day ended.
Excellent in every way!
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