[I could not find this exact recipe on Martha's website, but you can find a very, very similar one right here - please let me know if you make it and what you think! Here's why I don't include the recipes in my posts.]
Key Lime Pie is a perfect summer dessert so I was looking forward to making this tart version.
The crust is made with the dough from the MSBH’s recipe for Graham Crackers. This dough is shaped into a tart pan and blind-baked. The recipe calls for a 9-inch flan ring but I don’t have one of those, so I just used a tart pan. I should also point out that the recipe calls for you to roll out the graham cracker dough like a pie crust and form in the pan but I think anyone who has made the MSBH’s recipe for graham cracker dough can agree, that’s just impossible. It’s not that kind of dough.
The filling is incredibly easy – a combination of egg yolks, key lime juice, zest, sweetened condensed milk, and salt.
The filling goes into the baked tart shell and is smoothed/evened out. Then into the oven to bake just a little longer to set.
Because the tart had already browned significantly on the first bake, I used silicone rims to keep the crust from getting any darker. I really like these, they do exactly what they claim to do and can be arranged to fit any size circular pie or tart.
While the tart was cooling, I prepared the candied key lime slices for the garnish. I used my mandoline to create thin, uniform slices.
These then cook in a simmering pot of sugar water for about 45 minutes and then dry on a rack.
And then it is just a matter of arranging the slices on the tart. I copied the photo from the MSBH, simply lining up the slices around the perimeter of the tart.
The candied key lime slices taste god-awful, by the way. Lovely for a garnish, disgusting for a food.
So the verdict on this is: Eh, it’s okay. The quality of my key limes left something to be desired, so that had a lot to do with my lackluster results, but even so this isn’t anything spectacular. A simpler crust made with graham cracker crumbs and butter would be much better than this one made with the dough. And using regular limes (which the recipe says you can do) would have produced a subtler, more enjoyable flavor too I think.
The recipe instructs you to make some whipped cream as a garnish and it’s a good idea. You need something sweet to counter the tartness of the filling (mine actually tasted just plain bitter).
- If you use the recipe for Graham Crackers from the MSBH for the crust, only use as little of it as you possibly need to make a thin crust. It just isn’t an easy dough to work with and, because I used too much, my crust was thick and tough – not good at all.
- The candied key lime slices really do amp up the eye-appeal of the tart but if you don’t need to impress anyone, don’t bother. You certainly aren’t going to want to eat them.
- The whipped cream is a must. The tart itself is not very sweet and I have always found that key limes impart a definite bitter aftertaste to things. That may just be me or the poor quality of key limes available in Wyoming, but I’d feel remiss not mentioning it.