Individual Key Lime Tarts

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“Keep calm…it’s almost summer.”

Yes! What kind of desserts make you think of summer? I’ll tell ya one of mine is definitely Key Lime Pie. So Key Lime Pie originates from none other than Key West, Florida. It’s a bit embarrassing but I had never actually tried the pie until I went to Key West and ordered it…and let me tell you, though nothing compares to the original, this recipe comes preeeetty close! It got rave reviews from family and friends – so I hope you like it!

Since I like to make mini things, and hadn’t used my tart pans for a long time, I decided it was time to break those babies out and put ’em to work! This recipe makes 6 individual sized Key Lime tarts. I topped these with meringue – Key Lime pie can also be topped with whipped cream, but since the recipe for the filling calls for egg yolks, I prefer to use the whites for the topping so as not to be wasteful 🙂

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Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

Chop graham crackers in food processor until you get smooth crumbs. Add the brown sugar and continue to process for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth. Pour this mix into a large bowl and add melted butter and mix. Use a spoon to press these into the tart pans (with removable bottoms – makes everything that much easier).

Bake this crust in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

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Key Lime Filling

1 tbsp. Key lime zest

1/2 cup Key lime juice

3 large egg yolks

14 oz sweetened condensed milk

Zest limes and then squeeze zested limes to collect juice into a separate bowl. This will take anywhere from 6-12 limes depending on the size of your Key Limes. Set aside. Beat egg yolks in your stand mixer until the yolks become thickened and pale. Mix zest in, then add in the condensed milk and beat for a couple minutes. Now mix in the juice for another minute.

Pour filling into the crusts that have been cooling. Bake tarts in preheated 350F oven again, for 12-15 minutes – but do not let the tops brown! Turn off oven and remove tarts. Let cool completely to room temperature and remove from tart pans before topping with meringue.

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Meringue topping

3 egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place a large metal bowl over a saucepan of just boiling water. In the bowl, add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Transfer this to your stand mixer and beat with whisk attachment to firm peaks. Add vanilla and beat to stiff peaks. Pipe the meringue onto your cooled Key Lime tarts in whatever fashion you prefer. I used the closed star tip and did three different styles. I did the rose design (pipe from inside out), a cupcake style swirl (from outside in), and little star dollops (squeeze piping  bag at 90 degrees to get a star shape, then stop squeezing, and quickly release and lift). Then use a kitchen torch to brown the tips a bit. Make sure to always hold the torch at a safe distance and turn it off when you’re all done. (Follow the directions that come with your torch.) Top your finished tarts with some lime zest and dig in!

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