Thursday, June 17, 2010

Double Take: Key Lime Curd Tartlets

Key Lime Curd Tartlet

I love lime. I might like it more than garlic. ...maybe. Its close and they're very different. However, I think more recipes need garlic than lime...but I digress.

When I was little, my favorite ice cream was a seasonal variety made by PET called Key Lime Pie. It was lovely. Creamy key lime ice cream with little chunks of pie crust. My dad and I always did grocery shopping together. The ice cream freezers were always included in our shopping. We made sure to check for new flavors and often tried some strange varieties...banana pudding for example. I was not a fan of that one. However, we decided to try key lime pie. I loved it. I was perhaps the only one in the family that felt that way about it. However, since I liked it that much and finished it, my dad made sure to get that ice cream again in the following years when it came out around Christmastime. One year, sadly, PET stopped making it. I was disappointed but dealt with it. After all, there were other ice cream flavors to try! Other than that, most of my lime exposure has been regular limes. I enjoy them especially in lime meringue pie. Ahh..its so good.

Anywho, this spring I participated in a food co-op. Every other week I've gotten random fruits and vegetables. One week, I got KEY LIMES! I was super excited. I told Mel and she said to save them and we'd make the key lime tartlets. I wasn't sure how many limes I needed to get the juice for the recipe but Mel reassured me that key lime juice is sold near the mixers at the grocery store. I must confess, I hoped my limes would yield enough juice. However, after juicing 4 and having less than 2 Tbsp to show for my effort (key limes are small and hard to squeeze), I was thankful the store sold the juice. The price wasn't bad but seemed like an enhanced bargain after I experienced the labor involved. With ingredients in hand, Mel and I needed to squeeze some time in to make the tarts. We found a small window and went for it..Results follow.

Preparation: This recipe has two key parts: curd and tarts. Having made both before I figured this would be pretty easy.

Curd: Whisk eggs, key lime juice (in case you're wondering, I found it a bit sweeter than regular lime juice, yummy), sugar and butter together. Cook in a small to medium sauce pot for 10-15 minutes. When done, the mixture should be thick and smooth, like cooked jello pudding. Add some lime zest and pour all into a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate 4-6 hours. (Refrigeration allows the curd to become more firm. It will be runny if you don't wait. Its worth the wait.)

The Curd

Tartlets: 2 c. flour, some sugar, a little salt and baking powder, butter, and 6 TBSP of water. I've made tarts before, as I mentioned. This seemed like a lot of water. I decided to add the water one Tbsp at a time after mixing the other ingredients together. Unfortunately, even 4 Tbsp is too many. In case you're wondering, 4 Tbsp of water results in a mixture that will not stand up and when heated will fall and collapse to make a flat shell at the base of your cute tartlet tin. Disappointing. To fix this recipe, add only 2 to 3 Tbsp of water. Add only enough to get your flour to all stick together and form a ball. If its sticky, add a bit more flour to compensate. I highly recommend the Williams-Sonoma recipe I posted previously. It works the first time. The recipe is at the bottom listed under Pineapple cream cheese tartlets. After a second round of dough, the tarts were rolled out and placed in tart pans. I cut out a large circle, rolled it up on a smooth glass (you can use a rolling pin but a cup or glass works well if you have limited space to work), and unrolled it over the tartlet pans. Press gently and TADA, tart dough in a tart pan. Using a fork, press some holes in the tart to keep the bottom flat during baking. You can chill these for a couple hours or go ahead and bake. If you go ahead and bake, the dough may pull away from the sides a bit but its nothing major if you are in a hurry. Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes. Allow the dough to cool.

Tart Before Baking

Tart After Baking

Assembly: Put the lime curd in the tart. If desired, make a little whipped cream by adding heavy whipping cream and some sugar to a pint jar and shaking vigorously for about 10 minutes. Alternately, you can whip it with your mixer but that takes 15 minutes or so. A dollop of whipped cream goes well with these. Unfortunately, I could no longer wait to take pictures once the whipped cream was on mine. It was gone.

Completed Tart...Just before adding the whipped cream and being devoured!

Evaluation: Make again! and again! The curd is so awesome you could eat it by itself. Be sure to reduce the water for the tart crust to 2-3 Tbsp or it WILL NOT WORK. A dollop of whipped cream on top makes these especially tasty. Lauren and Ruthann agreed they were awesome and Ruthann helped me finish off the curd..we definitely were eating it crustless by the spoonful!

Be sure to pop over to Fabulously Fun Food to get Mel's take.

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