Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A challenging Key Lime Tart

One of the the first ‘grown-up’ books I read as a young teenager was Nora Ephron’s Heartburn. It was grown-up to me because it dealt with adult themes of neurotic Americans in therapy, relationships and divorce.  Believe me, coming from a rich diet of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, Heartburn was quite an eye-opener.

I haven’t read Heartburn at all since then (can’t say the same about ‘Trixie Belden and the Mystery of...’, heehee), but there were 2 memorable things I got out of Heartburn : how to boil the perfect egg, and Key Lime Pie.

Firstly, the boiled egg: place an egg in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and leave for 4 minutes. Rinse under cold water and you have a perfect soft-boiled egg. So, since I was 13, I’ve boiled eggs this way and they are always just right.

Secondly, Key Lime Pie. Oh how I wished I lived in America so that I could experience Key Lime Pie. Just the description of it, all tangy and creamy and lime green, evoked images of Florida and sunshine and graham crackers, whatever they were. And would you believe, I’ve always been too intimidated to make it, even now that I am a ‘food blogger’. Well, I, too, have grown up and I won’t let a dessert scare me no more. This is a lovely pie/tart, I really should not have waited decades to try it. This recipe is not from Heartburn, but I’m sure Nora Ephron would have liked it as well.

By the way, this effort is being entered in Our Growing Edge, a great concept from bunny eats design that showcases learning and experimenting and meeting challenges, like key lime pie. Check it out here.

Key Lime Tart
serves 10

300g plain biscuits (I used Nice biscuits)
50g unsalted butter, melted
4 eggs, lightly beaten
395g can condensed milk
2/3 cup (160ml) cream
Finely grated zest and juice of 4 limes
Whipped cream, to serve
Candied lime
1 lime, sliced 1-2mm thick
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup water


1. Use a food processor to crush biscuits to fine crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse to combine. Press the mixture into the base and sides of a 25cm-wide loose-bottomed tart pan. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 170C/340F. Whisk the eggs, condensed milk, cream, lime zest and jice in a bowl until combined. Pour into tart pan and bake for 40 minutes or until filling is just set. Cool completely in the pan.

3. For the candied lime: Blanch lime slices in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add the lime slices and cook for 10-15 minutes until white pith looks translucent. Drain, then dry on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

4. To serve, decorate the tart with whipped cream and candied lime.

recipe adapted from delicious (April 2011)
Speckled eggs and limes (not Key Limes, but suitable nonetheless)

I used my 22cm tart tin, so had lots of crust and filling left over to fill 2 small (8cm) tins as well.
Even though this was quite an exciting effort for me, Tabitha cat finds desserts quite boring.

My candied lime slices looked pretty but were very bitter to taste, so next time I will just use raw lime to decorate.

A wonderful treat for grown-ups and little ones (not cats, though).


  1. Key limes are pretty rare even in the US which is why I've yet to attempt the pie either! But your tarts look quite lovely!

  2. That key lime pie looks delicious! To the commentor above, I had no idea that they were rare in the US.

    BTW, I love Nora Ephron (RIP) and need to add this book to my list :)

  3. Gorgeous and thank you for submitting to Our Growing edge! I love the candied lime. I wonder why they were bitter? More sugar?

    Isn't it funny how a mere mention of food in a book or in a movie can resonate with you for years to come?

  4. I've never had key lime pie (but I've read my fair share of Trixie Belden - we must be of a similar vintage). Hartsyard did have key lime pie on their menu for awhile but they took it off the week before I went there. D'oh!

  5. I love key lime pie thanks to my friend who is from Sth Carolina. She brings me back key lime juice to stave off my cravings. I am out of it right now but you have inspired me to make some with limes we have here now!

  6. your pastry case looks amazing with just nice biscuits! the tart looks amazing too!

  7. Oh so that's where I got the obsession with key lime pie! I couldn't figure out where it was but I loved Heartburn so it must have been there! :D Your looks fab! I saw some key limes in Canada and dearly wanted to bring some home with me but I knew that customs wouldn't have been too happy! :P

  8. wow it's looking yummy i wanna eat this because now my mouth is watering

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  9. Def joining our growing edge to conquer my food list!
    This looks amazing, even if they are "key limes" gotta do what you can!

  10. omg i love key lime pie! the best version i've had outside of the us was at sweet mother's kitchen in Wellington so that's not too far away! lol. and i also love trixie belden - although i haven't read one in quite a while :)

  11. teehehhehe. Look at Tabitha . She's like " So is this done already or what? I need you to fetch me a treat!"

    I go weak for key lime pie. I'm with you...what did the US do to us. We can't shake off this craving!

  12. Your key lime pie looks awesome, love the candies on top...I love everything with lemon/lime and this is one of my favorite.
    Hope you are having a great week Bel :)

  13. It's a shame the candied limes were bitter when they look so good. Tabitha looks rather bored with the pie, but maybe that's because she doesn't read enough grown-up books.

  14. Hah, poor cat :)

    How about following each other? Let me know on my blog!



  15. Your key lime tart looks so elegant and beyond delicious. My mouth is watering while typing key lime...gorgeous clicks, Bel.

  16. Key Lime always reminds me of Dexter haha. I'd love to try it one day.