Lime Tart with Lime Caramel
When life gives you limes—crates and crates of limes—you find new ways to use them in dessert, like this beachfront interpretation of the French lemon tart, which comes from Eric Werner and Mya Henry’s cookbook Hartwood, which tells the story of their open-air restaurant in the Yucatán. This is a classic recipe, with all the butter and eggs you’d find in its Parisian counterpart. Lime wedges are roasted while the tart bakes for a caramelized sweet-tart garnish. Piloncillo, an unrefined sugar that is sold compressed into a cone shape, is available at most Latin American markets. If you can’t find it, use 1 cup of dark brown sugar instead.
For the crust:
- 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) (6 oz./185 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) sugar
- 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) all-purpose ﬂour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dried chamomile or organic chamomile tea
For the lime curd:
- 3 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar
- 1 Tbs. grated lime zest (from about 3 limes)
- 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./185 ml) fresh lime juice (from 8 to 9 large limes)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
For the lime caramel:
- 1 cone piloncillo (about 8 oz./250 g), chopped
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 lime, halved, sliced into thin wedges and roasted until slightly charred (optional)
- Dried chamomile or organic chamomile tea for garnish
- Zest of 1 lime for garnish
To make the crust, using a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until light and ﬂuffy. Add the ﬂour, salt and chamomile and mix until a dough forms. Shape into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes, or until firm.
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).
Press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch (23-cm) tart pan. Use a fork to poke holes all over it so that the crust doesn’t bubble while baking. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).
To make the lime curd, fill a saucepan about halfway with water and heat it over medium-low heat until simmering. Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl that you can set over the saucepan, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar. Set the bowl over the saucepan and continue whisking until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the lime zest, juice and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 4 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides frequently so that the curd does not overcook. Whisk in the butter piece by piece.
Pour the curd into the crust. Bake until the filling is set, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours. (The tart can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
To make the caramel, in a saucepan over medium heat, melt the piloncillo with the lime juice and salt until completely fluid, stirring to break up any stubborn pieces. Stir in the butter and remove from the heat. Let cool.
To serve, remove the sides of the pan, cut the tart into wedges, and arrange on serving plates. (We bake ours in trays and then slice them into squares.) Top each serving with a drizzle of caramel, a few roasted lime wedges, if using, a sprinkle of chamomile and a pinch of lime zest. Serves 8.
Excerpted from Hartwood by Eric Werner and Mya Henry (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015.