Key Lime Tart lightly toasted and ready to slice. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Down in Key West on my annual boondoggle to cook for my cousins Rob and Ab and their merry band of sailors as they narrowly hang onto second place in their J-111 class, and their son, Ryan, skippers the 88, with his sister cousin Maegan aboard. And so, in honor of place, I’m posting this recipe from my book Egg: An Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient: a key lime tart. It is indeed one of the finer desserts I know, custard made with yolks, topped with sweetened, whipped egg whites that are lightly browned.

It’s been a week of fun food, fish tacos (using beautiful yellow tail snapper), a lobster night which is always something of a celebratory meal (with leftover strip steaks), last night an easy protein for me, D’Artagnan’s most excellent duck confit, cheesy grits, a soft-egg cooked sous vide on the grits, sautéed zucchini, and salad. And tonight, the crowd pleasing paella, with local fish, un-local mussels, and sausages. Rain or no rain, goddammit. At least we’re not in the blizzard.

Have been delighted that the Washington Post published my opinion piece on the bankrupt word healthy, which got tons of traction. We need to have a common and meaningful language to describe our food and how we eat.

The below is pretty straightforward food word: delicious.

Key Lime Tart with Almond Crust and Meringue Topping

  • 1 1/4 cups/175 grams almond flour (almond meal)
  • 1/4 cup/35 grams all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup/100 grams plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (14-ounce/396-gram) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup/120 milliliters fresh key lime juice or Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F./180 degrees C. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
  2. To make the crust, combine the almond flour and all-purpose flour in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, light whip 2 of the egg whites with 3 tablespoons of sugar, whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add the egg white mixture and the melted butter to the flour mixture. Stir till it all comes together. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch/23-centimeter tart pan.
  3. Bake the crust till it looks appealingly golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Set as side to cool.
  4. For the filling, whisk together all 5 egg yolks, the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture into the cooled tart crust.
  5. Bake until the center is set but still moves a bit when the pan is nudged, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
  6. Before serving, make an Italian meringue with the remaining 3 egg whites (equal parts egg white and sugar by weight, cooking the sugar to 250 degrees F./120 degrees C.) Pipe or spread the meringue onto the cooled pie and broil the top to brown it lightly or hit it with a blowtorch for color. Slice and serve.

Yield: 1 9-inch tart

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© 2016 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2016 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.