Tyler asked for Key Lime Pie for his birthday, so I made him Key Lime Pie because whatever the birthday boy wants, the birthday boy gets even if I wished he asked for something different. Something involving chocolate and cake and maybe some sprinkles. Something that felt a little more birthday since he's a 29 year old man with an epic year ahead of him. But this isn't about me, it's about him, and if he wanted Key Lime Pie I was going to make him the best damm Key Lime Pie.
But I didn't make a Key Lime Pie. I made a Key Lime Tart which is practically the same thing except for the pan and while it didn't involve chocolate or sprinkles, it was pretty awesome. A homemade graham cracker crust with its strong notes of cinnamon and ginger makes for the perfect base to a lime curd/custard I'm not entirely sure what to call it filling. The filling is tart and refreshing with an amazingly smooth consistency and a zippy finish due to the additional of lime zest. It wasn't a birthday cake but it made the boy very happy and isn't that the point of a homemade birthday dessert?
Key Lime Tart
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Of course I made some changes. The original recipe suggested adding more sugar to the filling which I found absurd. Sweetened condensed milk is sweet enough that you don't need any more sugar. Omitting the extra sugar results is a tart that's tart but doesn't make your mouth pucker (which is how Key Lime Tart should be). I also added some zest to the filling for a little added color and an extra dimension of flavor. I also used homemade graham crackers (my recipe can be found here) because I had some dough in the freezer but store-bought is perfectly fine!
9 to 10 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
Zest of 1 lime
3/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 4 to 6 limes)
4 large egg yolks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process graham crackers and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until fine crumbs form; add butter. Process until combined. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom; pat into bottom and up sides. Place pan on a baking sheet, and bake until crust is fragrant and slightly colored, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, lime zest, lime juice, egg yolks, and salt; whisk until smooth. Pour mixture into crust (warm or cool is fine), leaving 1/8 inch at the top; return to oven. Bake until filling is set around edge but still slightly loose in center, 20 to 25 minutes.