Kicked Up Key Lime Tarts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 6 individual tarts
Homemade Graham Cracker Tart Shells adapted from The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern
Alternative (Easier) Graham Cracker Tart Shells adapted from Joy of Baking
White Chocolate Mousse courtesy of my friend, Dennis, chef extraordinaire
Homemade Graham Cracker Tart Shells*
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup ground macadamia nuts
  • 6-12 teaspoons of raspberry preserves or jam (optional)
Alternative (Easier) Graham Cracker Tart Shells
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
Key Lime Filling
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup bottled or fresh key lime juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons key lime or lime zest (use a microplane!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
White Chocolate Mousse
  • 9 ounces white chocolate
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 leaves gelatin soaked in cold water, then squeezed dry prior to adding to mousse mixture (or one half of a ¼ oz package of granulated gelatin dissolved in 2 tablespoons of cold water)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 large egg whites
  • pinch sea salt
Macadamia simple syrup
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup whole macadamia nuts
Candied Macadamia Nuts
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 cup whole macadamia nuts
  • A favorite spice or two, like cayenne pepper, or coriander (optional)
For the Homemade Graham Cracker Tart Shells
  1. To prepare the graham cracker shells, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the buter and sugars until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the honey and beat until well combined.2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, macadamia nuts, salt, and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Mix until the dough is well combined. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a disc. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ⅛ inch thick, about a 13×16 rectangle. Using a 6-inch cookie cutter or glass, cut out 6 circles of dough and press them into lightly greased 4 to 4½-inch tart pans, preferably with removable bottoms (you can use smaller tart pans if you like, just cut out smaller circles of dough and adjust the baking time. Obviously, the smaller the tart pan, the more tarts you'll get out of this recipe. You can make TWO 9-inch tarts, just double the key lime filling and, again, adjust the baking time, trimming away excess dough. Prick the dough in each tart pan all over with a fork and chill on a baking sheet for 20 minutes or more.
  3. Bake until golden brown, 15-18 mins. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. When they're cool, I like to lightly spread the bottom of each tart with about 1-2 teaspoons of raspberry preserves or seedless jam.
For the Alternative (Easier) Graham Cracker Tart Shells
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Evenly divide the mixture and press onto the bottom and up the sides of the 6 - 4 inch tart pans with removable bottoms. (Each tart will use about ¼ cup of the graham cracker crumb mixture.) Place the tart shells in the refrigerator to chill for 10-15 minutes Bake at 325 for 10-15 minutes, let cool, then fill and bake as directed.
For the Key Lime Filling
  1. Raise the oven temperature to 350 F. Whisk together the condensed milk,lime juice, eggs, lime zest and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the baked tart shells and bake for 15 minutes, or until barely set. Let come to room temperature, then chill in the fridge for about an hour.
For the White Chocolate Mousse
  1. In a bowl, over a double boiler or in the microwave, melt the white chocolate. Meanwhile, also over a double boiler, combine the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until the sugar crystals are no longer visible and the mixture is hot but not curdled. Add the chocolate in increments to the hot egg mixture, mixing well before each addition. Whisk in gelatin.
  2. Either in a stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachment or by hand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, do the same with the egg whites and the salt. Set aside both.
  3. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate-whipped cream mixture. Chill at least 1 hour prior to serving.
For the Macadamia simple syrup
  1. In small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved and you have a slightly thick, but clear syrup.
  2. In a food processor, grind the macadamia nuts until they reach a paste consistency (you'll be able to see oil in the paste). Gather up the paste and oil into some cheesecloth, and squeeze some of the oil into the simple syrup. Add some of the paste too, if desired. Save the paste in a sealed container in the fridge for any recipe you'd like to add it too, or just grind it with some cocoa, sugar, and cream, for a sort of macadamia nutella.
For the Candied Macadamia Nuts
  1. In a skillet or pan, melt down the sugar and water and let it cook until it's golden brown, or reaches the hard ball to hard crack stage. Quickly add the nuts, coating them in the caramel, then remove to a parchment lined sheet pan, making sure you separate them before they stick together. Add spices (if using) while the caramel is still hot, and roll the nuts around in them using a silicone spatula or spoon. Chop coarsely when cool.
  1. Place each tart in the center of a serving plate. Pipe or scoop a quenelle of the white chocolate mousse onto one side of each tart. Garnish with a slice or two of lime, some raspberries, the candied nuts, and a light drizzle of the macadamia syrup all over everything, so each tart glistens. Sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt, if desired,
*I made the tart shells a little too thick. If desired, make yours thinner and increase the filling recipe by half for two or three more tarts!
Recipe by parsley sage sweet at