Happy New Year! The holidays are finally behind us, which means citrus season is in full swing. Here in California the citrus is absolutely amazing—just this morning I was perusing several varieties of grapefruit bursting forth with flavor, color, juiciness, and delectability. The light, bright tastes and textures of citrus really are a welcome relief from the decadence of recent seasonal meals and desserts.
With all this in mind, a key lime pie seemed like a perfect way to introduce the fresh citrus of the season. Key limes feature a more concentrated flavor in comparison to standard limes, and their zest is very potent. They’re also much more aromatic, which gave me the idea of including cardamom, itself a very aromatic, citrusy, and floral spice. This combination might be a little surprising at first, but these two flavors work together very well, with impressive flavors and aromas to spare. All this atop a graham cracker crust basically equals the best of desserts. So if this pie is calling your name, go ahead and follow the recipe below.
Key Lime Cardamom Tart
Yields 1, 9-inch tart
2 1/4 cups graham crackers, finely crushed
6-7 tbs unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg yolks
1 scant tbs key lime, or lime zest
1 can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup + 2 tbs key lime, or lime juice
1 ¼ tsp cardamom
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving
Equipment: Hand held or standing mixer, 1, 9.5 x 1 inch Tart pan with removable bottom, large baking sheet
For the crust: Heat the oven to 350°F. Add the crushed graham crackers to a medium bowl, along with 6 tbs of melted butter. Stir everything together with a spoon until it begins to look like wet sand. If the mixture seems a bit dry, add the additional tablespoon of butter.
Add the mixture to a tart pan and press the crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom and up sides of the tart pan. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce oven’s heat to 325°F
For the filling: Add the 3 egg yolks + lime zest to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high for about 4 minutes.
Stop the mixer and add the condensed milk to the yolks and beat for 4 minutes. Add the lime juice and cardamom, whisking by hand until combined.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust and place in the oven. Bake the tart for about 25 minutes. The tart is ready when the edges are set, and the center still jiggles ever so slightly.
Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator. Store in the fridge until fully chilled. Garnish with whipped cream before serving.