Make Ahead

Key Lime Tarts

January 16, 2012
1 Ratings
  • Makes 6 individual tarts
Author Notes

Key lime pie is my very favorite dessert, when it is done properly. Real key lime pie, the kind you might find in a Florida steakhouse, only has four ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, key lime zest and egg yolks. It is pale yellow, almost white, in color and has the consistency of thick custard. The crust is important too. For a long time, I tried different combinations with graham crackers, but the results never had the proper balance of butter, sugar and salt. Finally, I tried a crust using English digestive crackers, and I really like the results. I have added some grapefruit zest to this tart, and I think it adds a lot of extra citrus flavor. —Cristina Sciarra

What You'll Need
  • Crust
  • 1 package Mcvities digestive biscuits
  • 3/4 stick salted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • Filling
  • 2 14-ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup key lime juice
  • zest of 1 lime, or 2 key limes
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
  • 4 large egg yolks
  1. Empty the digestives into a large bowl. Using the heel of a glass, crush the digestives until you achieve the consistency of sand. (I promise, it doesn’t take more than 5 minutes).
  2. Cut the butter into slices, and then use your fingers to incorporate into the crumbled digestives. Add the sugar, and mix with your fingers until you achieve the texture of wet sand. Spoon the mixture into tart shells, and press into a crust.
  3. Empty the sweetened condensed milk into a medium bowl. Add the key lime juice, a bit at a time. (If you can’t find fresh key limes, use Nellie and Joe’s Key West Juice from the supermarket). Mix in lime and grapefruit zest, then mix in the egg yolks; stir until just incorporated.
  4. Pour the filling into the tart shells and cook at 350F for 12 minutes. When they come out of the oven, allow them to cool, and then chill before serving.
  5. Optional: Serve with freshly whipped cream.
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  • Bevi
  • Cristina Sciarra
    Cristina Sciarra
  • Susan Gordon
    Susan Gordon
  • Kate Fogarty
    Kate Fogarty
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at

6 Reviews

Susan G. March 19, 2022
Terrific recipe. Crust is outstanding and the whole thing comes together very quickly. Has been a big hit with family and guests!!
Kate F. March 1, 2014
We had a little key lime pie taste test at our house the other night, and this was the clear winner! So tart, so creamy, and the crust was delicious.
kcallison January 6, 2013
I made this today with a store crust. I also omitted the grapefruit zest. Very good! Made one for my sister's too. They loved it!
Bevi September 30, 2012
I put everything in an 11" tart pan with a removable bottom, and did not add the grapefruit zest. it was delicious! And so so easy. I baked for 13 minutes, let cool completely, and topped with whipped cream. Next time I might try topping with a mixture of mascarpone and sour cream.
Cristina S. September 30, 2012
I'm so glad you liked it! I'm still experimenting with the crust; it's not perfect yet. One day!
Bevi October 1, 2012
The Mcvities biscuits are a vast improvement over graham crackers - I would use this crust in
other recipes with graham cracker crusts.