We love limes at our house, so when I saw the cute little Key Limes for 10 cents in my local produce department, I knew it was time for a Key Lime Pie.
Normally, I’d make this easy pie in a big pie pan with a graham cracker crust. Only we’ve had a few bugs going around and individual, sanitary servings seemed to match my constant commenting, “Keep your hands to your self.” Great reason to bust out the mini tart pans for our Key Lime Tarts!
Once I got the limes warmed up*, rolled and squeezed, I realized I didn’t have any graham crackers. Pause here to make batch of Soft Gingersnap Cookies and chop them up in my food processor. Just like that and I had a new crust option! If you don’t have time to make a batch of cookies so you can make a pie [Really? I must like to bake and then bake some more], you can always use store-bought ginger cookies.
Did you know that Key Limes have a chartreuse yellow color skin when ripe? The fruit is more tart than its cousin, the Persian Lime, which is sour tasting. Key Limes are also more potent than regular limes, so a 1/2 cup of Key Lime juice gives plenty of flavor to the dessert. To get the most juice out of a lime, warm it in the microwave for 10 seconds or less and then roll it on your cutting board. The heat and friction help release the juices so squeezing is more productive. I was able to juice 1/2 cup from ten walnut-sized Key Limes. If you must substitute fresh for bottled, use authentic Key Lime juice. Never use regular bottle lime juice unless you’re trying to make a Cherry Limeade.
Don’t forget the whipped cream! Your Key Lime tarts will need the creamy sweetness to balance out the tart filling.
Mini Key Lime Tarts with Gingersnap Cookie Crust
2 cups crushed ginger cookie (or graham crackers)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed Key Lime juice (approx. 10 Key Limes)
5 egg yolks
1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup whipping cream + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, softly whipped
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Add crushed cookies and blend until moistened. Divide evenly into 10-12 mini tart pans. (You can also use shallow muffin tin or a 9-inch pie pan.) Press crumbs firmly against the sides and bottom of the pans and place on a baking sheet.
Squeeze your limes into a large liquid measuring cup and set aside. In a small bowl, separate eggs. (Eggs whites can be used to make a meringue topping or for macarons another day.) Whisk yolks for 1 minute before adding a can of sweetened condensed milk. Stir until even consistency. Add lime juice and continue to whisk together until creamy. Pour evenly into prepared tart pans.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Once cooled, refrigerate until ready to serve. Once chilled, the tarts pop right out of the pans (or muffin pan) for an individual serving. Garnish with whipped cream.
With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, you can add some green food coloring and serve this to all your Irish-born, Florida-loving neighbors! Erin Go Bragh!