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And this is really made with key limes. Or at least, I thought they were key limes. That’s what the store said they were. It turns out, they were just mini regular—or Persian—limes with seeds in them. Apparently, key limes are yellow and round—not tiny and green. But I don’t want to talk about that right now. It’s embarrassing.

This is what happened when I thought I was being the ultimate foodie. I found the “key limes” on sale a few weeks ago: ten for a dollar. I had never seen such a good price before, so I grabbed a bag and filled it with thirty lovely limes. I was so proud of myself for owning them, that first I had to photograph them.

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And then they sat around for awhile.

They sat around until I had nothing better to do than to juice thirty teeny tiny seeded citrus fruits. While I waited for the royal wedding to start, I buckled down and did it. I would juice about ten at a time, and then the acid would begin to burn so badly I would have to run to the kitchen, wash my hands, lotion them, and watch about a half an hour more of the wedding coverage. When my skin would calm down, I’d go back and juice a few more. I was being a true foodie martyr.

I guess I was expecting some magical Floridian taste to come through as payoff for my self torture, but in the end, I discovered my “key limes” tasted exactly like regular limes. And now I know that’s because they weren’t.

Anyway, you’ll know better. If something claims to be key limes, make sure they’re round and yellow. If you can’t find those, then by all means, buy yourself some regular, large, green limes, and make this. You’ll love it no matter what.

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The photos here are from when I made lemon curd awhile back. Just use your imagination and pretend everything is slightly greener.

key lime cream tart

for the crust:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

for the filling:

zest of 4-5 limes
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
juice of 5 limes (about 1/2 cup)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, salt and sugar until smooth. Slowly add in flour and mix until just combined. Mix dough by hand to be sure all ingredients are distributed evenly.

2. Spread dough in the bottom and up the sides of a 9 or 10 inch tart pan, so the dough is about 1/4 thick. Reserve any extra dough for another use. Use a fork to dock the bottom of the dough several times. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until starting to turn golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

3. Clean the mixer bowl and paddle attachment, and then cream together zest, butter, and sugar.  Incorporate eggs one at a time and mix until smooth.  Add in lime juice and salt.  Mixture will be curdled.

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2.  Pour mixture into a large saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes.  Lime curd will come together and thicken.  When it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove from heat.  Strain into a glass bowl and allow to cool.  Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2-3 hours.

3. In a small bowl, beat heavy cream with the confectioner’s sugar and extracts until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into the chilled lime curd. Spread into the tart shell and chill for 3-4 hours.

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