Saturday, June 1, 2013

Key Lime Tartlets with Shortbread Crust & Rhubarb Sauce

These are always a summertime favorite in our house. I have made them a bunch of times for bbq's or parties and they are always a big hit. They are so easy to make and are incredibly portable and super easy to serve because they come in individual portions. I just set them out on a pretty plate and that's it, no serving required! I love to dollop them with a fruit sauce; whatever is in season. It's May here in New York so rhubarb is in season and I am crazy about it. The key lime pie that I make is creamy, cool and tart sort of like a cheesecake. I love to pair it with a very sweet and slightly salty crust, it gives your mouth and entire flavor explosion. I use shortbread cookies, that I whir in the food processor, they are so incredibly buttery and sweet I think they make the ultimate crust. These tartlets only bake for a tiny bit of time and then they chill out in the fridge, so they are perfect for summer.

So I have had a few problems when making this dessert and hopefully you won't run into the same thing because we will talk about it here. First not all limes are created equal. Some are more sour than others and they are definitely finicky about how much juice they will give you. Key limes are smaller than the regular green Persian limes. They are much more sour and bitter so you definitely want to taste your batter for sweetness, you may want to add sugar to it. I happen to like mine very tart, hence why I serve it with fruit sauce and the super sweet shortbread crust. Feel free to add some sugar though if you find the amounts a bit too tart for your taste. So now that we have taken care of the taste issue, lets talk about the juice issue. Key limes are very small and yield a very small amount of juice so you will need quite a few for this recipe, my grocery store sells them in bags and I buy 3 bags of them to get the amount of juice I need. If you are annoyed with squeezing this many small tiny limes feel free to use regular Persian limes. When I first made the recipe I was so annoyed because I didn't get enough limes and had to go back to the store, so I highly recommend, to buy more than you think you will need.

This recipe makes 12 tartlets. Depending on how big your muffin tins are you may have batter left over, I freeze it and use it for popsicles or just make extra tartlets.

For Tartlets

1 1/2 Cups your favorite, all natural or homemade shortbread crumbs, I just take shortbread cookies and whir them in the food processor, make extra and store in the freezer.
1/3 Cup fair trade, organic, raw cane sugar
4 Tbsp organic salted butter, melted.
2 (14oz) Cans organic, sweetened condensed milk
1 Cup fresh squeezed key lime juice, Persian lime juice can be substituted.
2 Local, farm eggs, I used Feather Ridge Farm Eggs

For Rhubarb Sauce

4 Stalks of organic rhubarb
1/3 Cup fair trade, organic, raw cane sugar
1/3 Cup water


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix the shortbread crumbs, butter and sugar in a small bowl until combined and it resembles wet sand. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and press a few tablespoons of crumbs into each liner to make a tiny crust in each. Press them onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of the liner. Bake the crusts for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove and set aside. Lower the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and eggs. Mix till well combined and creamy. Ladle batter into the cooled crusts filling the liners all the way to the top. Bake for 15 minutes and remove. Allow to cool and place them in the fridge for at least 2 hours, up to 24.

In a small saucepan combine all sauce ingredients and cook over medium high heat till the rhubarb breaks down and becomes very soft, it will create a chunky sauce; about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

To serve: remove the liners from the tartlets very carefully and place on a large platter. Spoon the rhubarb sauce onto each one, it will be very thick and will hold its place nicely on top. Enjoy a taste of summer!

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