Sunday, February 14, 2016

Mini (Key) Lime Tarts


The groundhog has spoken- spring is nearing quickly!! Citrus is a staple in my house during spring and summer.  I'll buy 4-5 different types of oranges and everyone creates their perfect orange juice blend.  I'll buy grapefruit 10 pounds at a time and they'll be gone in a few days between grapefruit curd, juice, and breakfast.  Lemons become lemonade and lemon curd. But limes? Limes are reserved for key lime pie (and occasionally a chicken marinade). My entire family LOVES key lime pie. Loves it.  And no, I don't mean the pastel green, sickly sweet, lime gelatin flavored pie you find in the frozen food section.  I mean real key lime. Being this far north, key limes are extremely hard to come by. When I can find them, they should be renamed rock limes- so old that they're mostly brown and rock hard. That's ok though.  I'm resourceful.  By subbing out a bit of regular lime juice for that of clementine or tangerine (those miniature easy peeling kid-friendly snack oranges)- you get really really close to authentic key lime flavor.  So that's what we're going to do here. 


Juice 1 pound of limes and 1 small clementine (or tangerine). Stir in the zest from 2 limes and set it off to the side. 

In the bowl of your food processor, process the graham crackers until fine. Add the 1/4 cup sugar and zest from 1 lime and process again.  Mix in your butter until thoroughly combined.  With graham crackers- look for the honey variety. They are SO much better than the original!  If you have a food processor, use that for the crumbs. It isn't necessary but does make a uniform crust that packs nicely. If you don't- make sure your graham cracker crumbs are really finely crushed and stir everything together in a bowl. 


Divide the crust mix between 12 lined standard cupcake/muffin cups. Lining them isn't absolutely required but does make removal exponentially easier. Take a glass that is slightly smaller than your cupcake liner and pack the crumbs down. Bake them in a 350F for 10 minutes.  They will puff up and you will be scared you messed up.  Don't be scared- they'll settle back down as they cool. 


While the crusts are baking, you'll have just enough time to make the filling. Convenient! Mix the sweetened condensed milk with your egg yolks. (Farmer plug- check out how awesomely orange our free range eggs are!!!)


Add the juice and zest from earlier.  As you stir it will thicken quickly. 

Pour over your mostly cooled graham crusts.  It's ok if the crusts are still a bit warm. Bake for 15 minutes at 350F. 


Here's how they'll look after baking- notice they aren't green. Lime pie isn't green- it should be a yellowish color. 
Also see the little flecks of zest in the tarts- it adds a nice punch of flavor. 


Once they cool to room temperature, refrigerate then for an hour.  This really lets the flavor get better.  As they cool the liners will separate from the tart a bit- makes for easier eating.  Pop them out of their liners and enjoy!! 

crust:
1 1/4 cup honey graham cracker crumbs 
1/4 cup sugar
zest from one lime
5 tablespoons salted butter (you may use margarine or coconut oil here)

Combine the crumbs, sugar, and lime zest.  Mix in the melted butter until everything is evenly moist.
Take the crumbs and divide them as equally as you can into a a standard cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners. Using a cup that approximately fits the bottom of the tin, push the crumbs down to the bottom. 
Bake in a 350F degree oven for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

filling:
2 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk ( fat-free or low-fat work just fine)
1/2 cup lime juice (the equivalent of one pound of limes)
1 clementine or tangerine worth of juice (2-3 Tablespoons)
Zest of 2 limes (just the green, no white pith)

Mix the condensed milk and egg yolks together until combined. Add both of the juices and zest. Stir to combine. It will thicken up almost instantly.

Pour batter into each graham cracker cup until 3/4 full. Cook at 350F for 15 minutes. Cool and chill in the fridge for about an hour. The citrus juice will cause the cupcake liners to peel away a bit, for aesthetics you can remove these before serving. Keep leftovers in a sealed container for up to 4 days in the fridge. 

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