Brûléed Key Lime Tartlets

May 14, 2011

brûléed key Lime tartlets | une gamine dans la cuisine

How has your weekend been so far? I'm happy to report that the temperature has finally caught up with the season, although sadly it bypassed spring, completely. Literally overnight, the trees sprouted wee celery green leaves + the annoyingly darling dandelions are peeking through blades of too-high grass. Cold weather has finally relinquished its iron grip there is a lush heaviness that carries the aroma of lilacs & daffodils.

My mother prefers the chill of autumn & early spring, while I relish in the heat and humidity of summer. Oddly enough, her personality is warm and sunny. I'm the one who, at times, can be a bit icy and reticent; except while writing & baking, of course.

I wonder if there is a science behind what season one prefers? They say that what we dislike the most in other people usually depends upon what we see in ourselves. But who are 'they,' and how far can that theory be taken? Certainly not to food, I hope! Because I hate Brussels sprouts & liver and I'd prefer to not think of myself as bitter and nauseating...I'll leave that up for you to decide.

brûléed key Lime tartlets | une gamine dans la cuisine

Speaking of my mother, I made these tartelettes for mother's day (yes, I'm behind), because despite our difference in approachability, my mom and I share a love for all things well as the tendency to worry over every little thing on the face of the earth. Did the car always make that noise? I wonder if that cat I saw run across the road last week is okay? Is that a faint smell of ammonia, and is that a sign of cancer? (Thank you, House), Why does my left eye sometimes twitch uncontrollably? *phew* It's not easy to be a worry wart, but it helps when your enabler is also your mom and you can both, eventually, laugh it off. Tartlets, such as these, make that process much smoother.

Basically these are mini Key lime pies with the volume cranked up. The graham cracker crust is replaced with crushed Oreo cookies, the surface has a light coating of burnt sugar & each tartelette is topped with a twangy, cheek-tickling lime simple syrup. I never thought my beloved Key lime pie could be dethroned  but, alas, it has.

brûléed key Lime tartlets | une gamine dans la cuisine

Brûléed Key Lime Tartlets (adapted from Food & Wine)
makes four 4 1/2-inch tartelettes

Crust ingredients
17 Oreo cookies [note: The original recipe called for 10, which is perfect if you only want the crust on the bottom and not all around the edges.]
3 tablespoons ( 2 if you're only using 10 cookies) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 teaspoon of salt

Filling ingredients
5 egg yolks
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup of fresh lime juice (about 5-6 limes)
Finely grated zest of 2 limes

Topping ingredients
About 8 teaspoons of granulated sugar

Syrup ingredients
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup of fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly spray four 4 1/2-inch fluted tartlet pans with removable bottoms.

In a food processor, finely grind the Oreos and salt. Pulse in the butter until evenly moistened. Press the ground Oreo mixture into the bottoms [and up the sides, if you used 17 cookies.] Note: I had a difficult time making my crust stay against the sides of the pan, which is why they didn't come out perfect. Set the pans on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until the edges look dry. Remove from the oven, and reduce the temperature to 325°. Let the tarts cool as you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, whisk the yolks, condensed milk, lime juice and the lime zest. Pour the filling into the pans and bake at 325° for about 15 minutes, until the edges are just firm. Let cool for 30 minutes, then freeze until very cold, about 2 hours.

In a small saucepan, combine the 3 tablespoons of sugar with 3 tablespoons of water. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, then let cool. Discard the lime leaves. Stir in the remaining 1/3 cup of lime juice and refrigerate.

Divide the 8 teaspoons of sugar and sprinkle about 2 teaspoons over each tart and caramelize with a blow torch. If you don't have a blow torch, you can place the tarts on a baking sheet and hold them under your ovens broiler, carefully rotating them from time to time. Don't wander off while they're under the broiler, the sugar can burn in a matter of seconds. I only did 2 tarts at a time for more control.

Unmold the tarts and place in shallow bowls. Drizzle with the Key lime sauce, and garnish with fresh whipped cream if desired.


  1. Would you please stop tempting me like this? Better than key lime pie?? You are a cruel woman.

  2. The flavor of limes is just marvelous. Your tartlets looks divine!



  3. Always I love little tarts like this specially with lima or lemon and this look delicious, gloria

  4. These look incredible! I bet your Mom was thrilled! You must share your love of citrus with her.

    Ps. I'm jealous of your seasonal change! In Australia we rarely see a change in seasons.

  5. This looks amazing! So pretty are your photos~

  6. What a gorgeous dessert! Yay for better weather:-)

  7. Key lime brulee? Oh wow. These look so good!

  8. Such a decadent little tart. It looks fabulous.

  9. It almost looks like it's worth dying for!

  10. What a super idea to combine the oreo crust with the tart curd filling. Sound and looks delicious!

  11. Oooooh, this looks so yummy! Love the idea of doing an oreo crust with lime filling - YUM! :)

  12. That's funny! I've often wondered the same thing. I'm a fall kind of girl with colors, temperature, and clothing, but for food it's summer all the way. If only they could line up for me, that would be awesome...

  13. I can see you doing a happy dance, with that first bite. I love recipe victories like these. These are lovely.


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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