Monday, February 7, 2011

rustic key lime tarts

I found some key limes on clearance the last time I went shopping and I bought them without any actual plan for them. I think it's because I've never had key limes or limes for that matter and aside from imagining them as tiny green cousins to lemons, I really had no idea about them. I consider myself adventurous when it comes to trying new fruits and veggies and I've been craving tart, summery flavours, so I went for it (I also bought two bags of oranges for some mysterious reason. I hate peeling oranges so I never eat them without the peeling power of Idle Husband).

Because they were on clearance, they really didn't look very good. Ranging from brownish to yellowish to greenish, I definitely did not buy them for looks. And since some were about to turn into rock limes, I decided I had to do something with them quickly.

Immediately, I thought about a key lime pie because that's really the only thing I know to do with limes. What else is there? Well, as I continued searching I found bars which eventually led to my hairbrained idea of turning a bar recipe into tarts. Cuz I gotta be different and difficult, I guess.

The problem with that plan was that I had no idea how much graham cracker crumb to put per tart and I had no idea how long to bake them. And what was even worse was that I didn't have any sweetened condensed milk.

Now, on the whole, I really hate recipes that call for sweetened condensed milk. I just never have it around. Never. It's always a special purchase for me. But the longer I looked, the more obvious it became. Every single recipe I found had stupid sweetened condensed milk, and since I'd just been to the store, I wasn't going back.

So I used this recipe for sweetened condensed milk instead. A recipe within a recipe. How wholesome! I make my own ingredients, too. Jel-lous?

Blurgh. I felt so smart by skipping the butter and weighing all my ingredients right in the pot, but confident me didn't read the recipe fully. So I measured the sugar and the milk powder together in a pot, added the water, only to then discover that the milk powder had to be whisked in after melting the sugar and water together. So as it cooled, the whole thing kinda seperated into this weird sweet milk foam (almost like melted marshmallow) and thickened condensed milk underneath. I don't know what the foam was about, but oh well, I forged on.

And surprisingly, it worked. Once I got making the filling (after tediously squeezing a pound of tiny rubber-ball sized key limes), everything worked as predicted. It thickened right up in an instant. If I ever have to make something with sweetened condensed milk again, I'll be using this recipe. I always have milk powder and sugar. Besides, when I have to make an ingredient for a recipe, it means I really want that treat, I'm not just idly pouring it out of a can onto some cracker crumbs and nuts and 10 minutes later, pigging out. That's a good way of keeping yourself off the treats. Ugh. I have to whisk it until it incorporates? Screw it. I'll just have a banana.

I don't know if I recommend making tarts (I recommend eating them, though! buhdum dum ching), but that's only because I have no idea how much crumb I used per tart. I want to say two tablespoons each, followed by a good packing with a cup, but I really didn't measure it. I would suggest going the bar route as I think that would be so much easier in the long run and just as tasty. But if you want to be adventurous, too, be my guest.

slightly adapted from here
makes approx. 10 tarts

1 1/2 cup honey graham cracker crumbs (I didn't know there was a difference, but they taste so much better than regular! Superstore, yellow brand)
1/4 cup sugar
zest from one lime
90 mls or 6 tablespoons salted margarine, melted

Combine the crumbs, sugar, and lime zest (on hindsight, I would crush the zest throughout the sugar first). Mix in the melted butter until everything is evenly moist.
Take the crumbs and divide them as equally as you can into a 12 cup nonstick muffin tin. Using a cup that approximately fits the bottom of the tin, push the crumbs down to the bottom. Kind of wiggle the cup around so the crumbs go up the sides a bit. Get your fingers involved if you need to.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes (mine puffed up and freaked me out, but they settled back down when they came out). Allow to cool.

2 egg yolks
1 can fat free/low fat sweetened condensed milk OR 14 oz homemade sweetened condensed milk (the whole recipe)
1/2 cup key lime juice (the equivalent of exactly one pound of key limes)

Mix the condensed milk and egg yolks together until combined. Add the lime juice and stir to combine. It will thicken up almost instantly.
Pour about 1/2 cup of batter into each graham cracker cup. At first, I didn't want to go over the crumbs, but I ended up going over a few anyway. No big deal. Cook at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool and chill in the fridge for about an hour.

{notes} I worried these would be hard to get out of the cup since I didn't grease the tin (hindsight), but once they cooled, all it took was a knife or spoon around the edge and they popped right out. It still might be better to butter the muffin tin first, though. Less crumb breakage.


Mz.Elle said...

Those look really good! I love that you made them into tarts like that. Perfect sized goodies.

danielle and dinosaur toes said...

well, i think they look delicious, and if it includes a citrus fruit, i'm sure it's good!

i've had that happen too, not realize until after the ingredients are mixed that you didn't do it in the right order. at least yours turned out! and now i'm hungry.

KarmaCucina said...

I'm with you on the sweetened condensed milk... I skip over many recipes for that reason. This one will be the exception! Looks divine!

Unknown said...

I like the rustic look of these tarts!Thanks for the recipe for the condensed milk too! I'm sure it'll come in really handy:)

Anonymous said...

"I'm not just idly pouring it out of a can onto some cracker crumbs and nuts and 10 minutes later, pigging out."


Anonymous said...

I made these and they were a big hit! I made 12 and had to double the recipe for the filling. Also the color of the filling was not quite so bright white. It was more brownish. But thank you for the great recipe!

Anonymous said...

Made these the other night, and they were SO tasty!! I used coconut oil instead of margarine in the crust (same number of tablespoons, +a little under 1/4 tsp of salt to make up for the salted aspect of the margarine) and it added SO much goodness (if you like coconut, the flavor is subtle but complex). The only thing was that this made the crust crunchier, not super moist. I didn't mind though. Additionally, I didn't have enough batter to use 1/2 cup in each tart (not sure if maybe that was a typo?) so I just did my best at distributing it equally. Otherwise they were great, and everyone loved them. They keep well in the refrigerator too, so I'm still enjoying them!

GALaxy said...

Anon2: So glad to hear! I don't know what could have made the filling go brownish. Weird.

Anon3: I honestly didn't measure the batter per tart at the time. That was a guesstimation. Does coconut oil impart a coconutty flavour? I've never had it, but if it does, I'll have to buy some immediately. I love coconut!