Key Lime Meringue Tart with Shortbread Cookie Crust

by Laicie

Key Lime Meringue Tart with Shortbread Cookie Crust

Did you know that there’s really such a thing as a key lime?

(Florida natives shhh.)

Neither did I!

But hey… if you run on down to your local Wegman’s, they probably have them… because Wegman’s is just absurdly wonderful and has everything.  Even these adorably tiny little key limes.**

This weekend was nothing short of crazy.  Mark spent Saturday shooting a friend’s wedding, and I tagged along to fumble with the camera assist.  By the end of the (very hot) day we were spent, and still haven’t nearly recovered, but when we wandered by these little buggers on a Sunday supermarket run I just couldn’t resist.

Key lime pie is Mark’s favorite.  It had to be done.

So I switched up David Lebovitz’ Lime Merigue Tart with a shortbread cookie crust and went to it.

And I will say, even when I’m exhausted… key lime is totally worth the effort.

Key Lime Meringue Tart with Shortbread Cookie Crust

** Okay, okay… I know everyone doesn’t have a Wegmans, and obviously that’s not the only place you might be able to find these little guys… but if you find that you’re all out of luck, I promise, regular limes will work just fine.

Key Lime Meringue Tart with Shortbread Cookie Crust
Adapted from David Lebovitz

For the Crust:
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely ground shortbread cookies

For the Filling:
8 tablespoons (115g) butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces
3/4 cup (180ml) freshly-squeezed lime juice (from about 5-6 limes)
3/4 cups (150g) sugar
zest of two limes, unsprayed (see Note)
pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
3 large eggs

For the Meringue:
2 large egg whites
5 tablespoons (75g) sugar
pinch of salt
a few drops vanilla extract

Key Lime Meringue Tart with Shortbread Cookie Crust

Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add flour and ground shortbread cookies to the mixture and blend a few seconds, until fully incorporated. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-10-inch pie, tart, or springform pan. Bake the crust at 350° F until golden brown (about 20-25 minutes) and allow to cool completely.

Move the temperature on the oven to 375º (180ºC.)

In a medium-sized saucepan, warm the butter, lime juice, sugar, zest, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and the yolks.

When the butter has melted and the mixture is warm, gradually pour some of the warm lime juice mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Scrape the warmed eggs back into the saucepan and cook the mixture over low heat.

Stir the mixture constantly over low heat, using the whisk, until the filling thickens and begins to resemble soft jelly. Do not let it boil.

Remove from heat and scrape the filling into the pre-baked tart shell. Bake for 10 minutes.

To make the meringue, whip the whites on high speed to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and the salt, while whipping on high speed, until the meringue is shiny and stiff. Beat in the vanilla, then scrape the meringue into a pasty bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a ring around the perimeter of the tart. Or spread in a ring around the tart with a spatula.

Last but not least, pop the tart under the broiler, watching carefully, as it will brown quickly. When the top begins to darken, remove the tart from the oven and cool completely before slicing.

The tart is best the same day, but can be refrigerated for up to five.