key lime tart

Last week was not my week. I wont get into the nitty gritty of it, but I will say that I had planned on sharing a tres leches cake with you. And I did bake the cake. And soaked the layers in a heavenly concoction of goat milk, heavy cream, and condensed milk. I even started to cover the entire cake with lightly sweetened whipped cream. And then in the blink of an eye, the cake was airborne. And then it was on the floor. Actually, it was everywhere. On the floor, allover a cookbook, on the legs of a chair. Normally, I would have had an episode after such a travesty. But I remained strangely calm, grabbed an empty paper bag, and started filling it with hunks of leche soaked cake. Did I mention that it was filled with fresh raspberries? Yeah, there were raspberries.

When things like this happen, I feel that the universe is trying to tell me something. Like maybe I shouldn’t try to do so many things at the same time. Or maybe I need a more organized workspace.

Or maybe, just maybe, the universe didn’t care for that tres leches cake. Maybe what the universe really wanted was a key lime tart. I had extra condensed milk and heavy cream left over from the tres leches. And I happened to have a sack of key limes. So, it seemed that maybe a key lime tart was meant to be.

For anyone who isn’t a fan of your typical graham cracker crusts, I’ve got the answer for you. This homemade graham cracker crust is perfect. It reminds me of a cross between a graham cracker and a shortbread cookie. It’s buttery and crunchy and sweetened with brown sugar and honey. It’s an excellent platform for a tart, silky key lime filling. And a healthy dollop of whipped cream. You know what they say, when life gives you limes…

key lime tart

adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart

makes one 9-inch tart (and a few tartlets)

for the graham cracker crust:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1-1/2 cups graham flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar and honey on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Dust off any excess flour with a pastry brush. Fit the dough into a 9-inch tart ring set on a parchment lined baking sheet or a tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing into the sides. Using a sharp pairing knife, trim the excess dough. Prick the bottom of the dough allover with a fork. Chill the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line tart shell with parchment paper and  fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until crust is just beginning to turn golden. Remove parchment and weights. Return to oven and continue to bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

for the key lime filling:

4 egg yolks

1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14-ounces

2 teaspoons grated Key lime zest

1/2 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice (about 12 limes)

pinch of salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat yolks on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add condensed milk, lime zest, lime juice, and salt and beat until combined, about 1 minute, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer tart (still on parchment if using a tart ring) to a wire rack to cool completely. When completely cool, cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

When ready to serve, combine heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until soft peaks form. Serve tart with whipped cream on the side and a bit of freshly grated lime zest (optional).

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