Key Lime Tarts

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, March 1997

Makes 6 Tarts


For the Lime Filling:

  •     4 teaspoons grated lime zest
  •     1/2 cup lime juice from 3 to 4 limes
  •     4 large egg yolks
  •     1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

For the Graham Cracker Crust:

  •     11 graham crackers, processed to fine crumbs (1 1/4 cups)
  •     3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  •     5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Whipped Cream Topping:

  •     3/4 cup heavy cream
  •     1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  •     1/2 lime, sliced paper thin and dipped in sugar (optional)


Step 1: For the Filling: Whisk zest and yolks in medium bowl until tinted light green, about 2 minutes.


Step 2: Beat in milk, then juice; set aside at room temperature to thicken.

Step 3: For the Crust: Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix crumbs and sugar in medium bowl. 

Step 4: Add butter; stir with fork until well blended.

Step 5: Divide mixture into 6 5-inch tart pans; press crumbs over bottom and up sides of pans to form even crust. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Transfer pans to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Step 6: Pour lime filling into crust.

Step 7: Bake until center is set, yet wiggly when jiggled, 15 to 17 minutes.

Step 8: Return pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours. (Can be covered with lightly oiled or oil-sprayed plastic wrap laid directly on filling and refrigerated up to 1 day.)

Step 9: For the Whipped Cream: Up to 2 hours before serving, whip cream in medium bowl to very soft peaks. Adding confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, continue whipping to just-stiff peaks. Decoratively pipe whipped cream over filling or spread evenly with rubber spatula. Garnish with optional sugared lime slices and serve.