Key Lime Pie Tarts

by Lauren Matthies


Today was the day and this was the recipe!  For the first time, Henry and I baked together.  Good thing this recipe is easy because it turns out baking with a baby is much more challenging than baking without one.  The good news is that, although we made a mess, no one got hurt (I was so terrified I was going to burn him on the oven) and we have a somewhat finished product in the kitchen right now!

I strapped Henry onto me and, while he was a little fussy at first, he quickly fell asleep.  His favorite place to be is my arms, so, although it was harder to bake with him attached to me, I knew that keeping him on me was the best way to avoid more fuss.

Like I said before, this recipe is really easy.  I made a bit of a mistake that I'll tell you about in a bit because I haven't made these in a while.  Normally I make key lime pie rather than key lime tarts (same recipe, just put in a circular pan instead of cupcake liners).  When I make the pie, I use the whole graham cracker crumb mixture to line the bottom and sides of the pan and then use the filling.  I forgot that when I make the tarts, I usually need more filling for the amount of crust.  I made 24 pie crust tarts, but only had enough filling for 13 (you can see my extra ones in my post-baking mess picture above).  If I had enough lime juice I would have made another batch of filling, but unfortunately I didn't and had to waste the liners and extra crust.

The reason I made the tarts today instead of the pie is because my husband is taking them to work tomorrow.  I generally make the pie, but prefer the tarts when I am making them for an event.

I'll say it again, the recipe is super easy.  Basically, you make the crust and line the bottom of your tarts or your pie.  I generally just use my hands to press down the crust.  You can either use pre-crumbed graham crackers or break them up yourself.  I used the premade ones this time--they're obviously a bit more convenient to work with.  Also, you can choose how think you want your crust and whether or not you want it flat on the bottom or to rise up the sides.  When I make my pie, the crust rises up the sides fairly high.  For my tarts, it's mostly just across the bottom.  Play with it and see what crust to filling ratio you prefer.

After you bake the crusts, you will see that they are a little darker, sometimes slightly bubbly when first removed, and, if you are using liners, you can see that the butter has seeped into the liner some.

I always make the filling while the crusts are baking, and, although I should technically let the crusts cool some before I pour the lining in, I generally don't.  I like to use lime zest in my filling, but it is optional.  I usually top my finished tarts with some lime zest too.  You can also top them with whipped cream and/or a lime zest, lime skin, or lime wedge decoration.  Sorry for the baby overload (not really), he's so darn cute, I can't help myself.

After the cups bake, I let them cool in the pans.  If you try and move them too quickly you risk them losing their form, or dropping one (which I have sadly done before).  I find that once they cool, they are easier to pick up by grabbing two sides of the cupcake liner and lifting.  I typically place them immediately into a cupcake carrier and put them in the refrigerator for storage.

Henry and I have yet to decorate them so far.  We might do it later, or we might just send them out like this.  Either way, they are tasty and the pictures here don't really do them justice.  If you are a lime lover or know someone who is, these are a perfect treat to make.  If you prefer lemon, you can simply substitute the lime juice and/or lime zest for lemon juice and lemon zest.  Enjoy!

                                                                        Sleep deprived eyes, but happy we did it :)

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 5 tbs melted butter
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup lime juice
  • Lime zest (optional)
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line your cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
  3. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter together.
  4. Place about a spoonful of the graham cracker mixture into each liner and press down to form a crust (you can choose how thick you want the crust and whether you want it just on the bottom or up the sides as well).
  5. Bake the crusts for 10 minutes.
  6. Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice, and lime zest (if using) together until smooth.  If you make this too early, you may want to whisk it again before pouring into your crusts.
  7. Remove the crusts and allow to cool slightly.
  8. Pour the filling into the crusts (I fill them with almost 1/4 cup of filling so the liners are about 3/4 of the way full, but you can choose how much you like.  Again, with this method I end up needing more filling for the amount of crust I have).
  9. Bake for 15 minutes,
  10. Let cool in cupcake pans.
  11. Remove tarts and put in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
  12. Decorate them if you would like, and enjoy!

We did end up decorating them, and apparently they went over well.  Henry and I are proud of our first joint baking adventure!