Well, it seems summer has finally arrived. Temperatures here in Oregon have been steadily rising, and the stifling heat has helped us to realize there is no air conditioning in the new house. We’ll be getting a little AC unit soon, but until then we’ve been using some chilled sweets (and lots of popsicles) to help us stay cool. There’s nothing quite like the refreshing zest of citrus once the summer heat comes back around, and if you pair that citrus with a bit of toasted meringue and a sweet custard, you have quite the winning combination. I know key lime pie is usually served chilled, but I snuck one of these guys right out of the oven after the meringue finished toasting and it was just as delicious, although it definitely wasn’t as refreshing as the cold ones in the middle of a heat wave.
I made these as individual serving sizes in miniature tart pans, but you could also make this recipe in a standard single 9-inch tart pan as well. It will make for a tasty and striking dessert either way, and please even the finickiest eaters (given that they enjoy lime and meringue). I forgot to add the water to the lipped baking sheet so you can see the filling cracked a little around the meringue, so please learn from my mistakes and make sure to add water to the lipped baking sheet in the recipe below, otherwise you risk some unfortunate-looking cracking of the filling (but don’t worry, it still tastes just as awesome.)
I’ve also been toying with the idea of making a key lime ice cream with a graham cracker swirl, which would be another great addition to the replacing-AC-with-amazing-cold-foods contingency plan. Once the temperature really start to spike in August, you may see that coming your way. But until then, I’ll leave you with this delicious and refreshing sweet that’s as adorable as it is tasty. Enjoy!
This post also appears on Coca Cola Journey
Key Lime Tartlets
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling TIme 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
- 1 and 1/3 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons corn meal
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter very cold
- 1 egg whisked
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 14 oz can evaporated milk
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To prepare the crust, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl until blended. Cut the butter into pea-sized pieces over the bowl, stir to coat the pieces in the flour mixture. Use a dough scraper or pastry cutter to chop at the mixture in the bowl to cut the butter into even smaller pieces. Empty the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the egg and mix at medium-low speed until it is just incorporated, taking care not to overwork the dough.
- Grease and lightly flour (6) 4 ½ inch tart pans. Set aside. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper until it is ¼ inch thick. Cut out (6) 5 ½ inch circles out of the dough. Flip each dough circle over onto each tart pan. Press the dough into the pan and trim excess dough to form the crust to the pan. Poke the crust in several places with a fork to keep bubbles from forming. Place the pans in the freezer for 30 minutes. Grease 6 small sheets of aluminum foil and press the greased side snugly onto the crust. Bake the crusts for 15 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove and set aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
- To prepare the filling, mix together the milk, sugars, lime juice, lime zest, and egg yolks until well blended and smooth. Set aside.
- Remove the tin foil sheets from the tarts and discard the tin foil pieces. Place the tartlets on a lipped baking sheet. Pour water into the sheet around the tartlets so that there’s about ½ inch of water in the sheet. Evenly distribute the filling within the tartlets and place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they just begin to set. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, you can prepared the meringue. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed with a whisk until firm peaks form. Add the sugar while mixing and continue beating the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue over each of the tart pans with a spatula, or fit a pastry bag with a large circular tip and pipe out the meringue in quick short bursts.
- Place the pan back in the oven and allow to bake for 5 minutes or until the meringue gets a golden hue at the tips. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled and serve.