Mini Key Lime Tarts

for a tropical fall

I think everyone goes through an emotional ebb and flow. I know I’m not the only one! I’m obviously a very fortunate person. I have an awesome job, the best husband anyone could ever ask for, a great group of friends, and pretty much anything any twenty a something could ask for. I live in New York. I made it! I don’t have crippling debt and I can go out to eat, see a movie, and do a bit of traveling. This is my mantra and I try to tell myself this every single day. But of course there are always those other, less positive thoughts that can occasionally gnaw away at you no matter how hard you try to push them out of your head. I’ve always had anxiety. For as long as I can remember it’s just been a part of me. The trick is knowing that, being okay with that, and letting yourself be sad every so often instead of beating yourself up over it. I can’t pretend that everything is always perfect. It’s definitely not and it never will be. I am aware that other people, or better yet, most people, have it a lot harder than me and probably don’t even have the time to consider their own feelings. But you can’t compare your own experiences to someone else’s because each person is different and views the world from a unique perspective. Everyone has his or her own problems and histories and you can’t deny yourself some time to be sad and cry because you don’t think you’ve earned it. That should probably be my new mantra. I have no idea what I’m getting at here. Probably that a lot of us are in the same cushy boat where we feel guilty if we have anxieties or frustrations because life as a whole is good and we should be grateful 24/7. It’s not always that easy, though.

Mini Key Lime Tarts

Posing with my Darth Vader sweater + Star Wars stuff, the LIC waterfront on Sunday, mint juleps at home and Kramer’s awesome sliders at Madison Square Eats.
Not that I am horribly depressed or anything like that. It’s just that sometimes I look through my blog and realize that I’m painting a picture that isn’t always so accurate. Yes, I go out and have fun with friends. We eat and do karaoke and have some beers together. I cook and work out and relax with Kramer. My life is generally easy, breezy, beautiful. But I am also an ordinary person with the same worries and thoughts that a lot of other people have, and I don’t want to come off as some kind of laxadasical schmo who doesn’t have a care in the world. I do, but sometimes I’m uncertain if this is the proper forum in which to share them. I’m not famous, obviously, but this is a public space and sometimes it’s hard to open up and truly share what I’m thinking or feeling because in theory, a food blog should be light and fun and share a few recipes without making people bummed out, which is probably what I’m doing right now. That’s life, though, and that’s me. Dun dun dun. It’s hard to write and try to be all of these things at once; happy, funny, serious, down to earth, creative…just to name a few. I put the pressure on myself, I think, which is odd considering it’s just supposed to be a blog. I think it’s become at least a little bit more than that, though, and every so often I get the urge to share another side of myself that doesn’t necessarily come out on these pages everyday. Welcome to my brain.

Mini Key Lime Tarts

Anyway, sorry to take you guys to that place, but sometimes you just have to do it. It’s fun to be surprised, right? Ha. So, let’s turn that frown upside down with some key lime tarts. I remember there was a point in my life where I thought key lime was just some kind of way to make regular limes taste different. Don’t ask me why or how I came to that conclusion. I just didn’t know that there was a difference between limes and key limes. The difference is now clear to me. Key limes are incredibly adorable (because they are so tiny) and have an intensely sweet aroma and flavor. I don’t think that I have ever baked with key limes before this, which is probably because their size makes them a huge pain in the ass to juice. But sometimes you gotta do it. I made these tarts for a happy hour at work, after which I discovered that people love key lime. I’ll be honest: Kramer wasn’t a big fan. He said that he didn’t like the taste at all. I have a feeling that he’s not a lime guy, because I really liked them and they disappeared at the office. The combination of rich, sweetened condensed milk alongside a buttery graham cracker crust and bright, fresh key lime is certainly, well, delightful. Don’t let the weather get you down – a few of these will put you right back into a tropical, summery mood.

Mini Key Lime TartsThe bird doctor (what?), Maitri and I eating at The Meatball Shop, Kramer asking me for a drink via our whiteboard, and my massive brisket sandwich from Eisenberg’s (I ate the whole thing).

Mini Key Lime TartsTime to make graham cracker crumbs! Ohmygod I hate using my food processor because it is such a pain in the ass to clean, but I will make an exception for these tarts.

Mini Key Lime TartsCrumbs!

Mini Key Lime TartsI won’t lie to you – I may have just stuck a spoon in here and ate this on its own.

Mini Key Lime TartsIn goes the crust.

Mini Key Lime TartsLook how tiny! They’re cute until you realize how many you have to juice.

Mini Key Lime TartsFill up your tarts and bake until set.

Mini Key Lime TartsMini Key Lime Tarts

Miniature Key Lime Tarts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 60 mini tarts
The key lime pie that everyone loves shrunk down into a handheld, miniature form.
  • 2½ cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs (about 2 sealed packages worth)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 egg yolks
  • zest of 3 key limes
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk (28 ounces total)
  • juice of about 50 key limes (I know, I know - beware ye who juice 50 key limes)
  1. First, make your crust. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together your graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter with a wooden spoon in a large bowl until well combined. Press the crust into lined mini-muffin pans, about 1 teaspoon per key lime tart. I found a shot glass that was small enough to press the crumbs into the pan for me, which saved my thumb a lot of ache and pain. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. While the crust bakes, make your filling by adding your egg yolks to the bowl of your mixer and with your whisk, whisk on high speed until thick and pale yellow, about 5 solid minutes. Add in your lime zest, then add in your condensed milk, about ½ cup at a time, whisking on medium-high speed until all of the condensed milk has been added and the mixture is thick - be sure to whisk on medium-high for at least 5 minutes. Reduce the speed a bit and add in your key lime juice.
  3. Add about 1½ teaspoons of filling to each miniature tart, then bake for 8-10 minutes or so, until set. Repeat with your remaining crust and filling until you've used it all up. These will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days or frozen for 2 weeks and thawed out in the fridge (which is what I did for a party).


15 Responses

  1. hAAthi says:

    OMG i made a version of these too!

    These look so much cuter though. And the key-lime-ey-ness just totally made me drool 😛

  2. These look awesome! Did you happen to measure what the juice of said key limes came to? I would not be above using a good bottled key lime juice rather than juicing my own (if I could even find them).

  3. Stacey Evans says:

    I think its very honorable of you to let your real feelings show! You have a beautiful way of expressing yourself! Ignore all those hateful people that write bad things. They are just not happy in their own life! I have been following your blog for years, and know other people that have too! You should be very proud of your beautiful work, amazing recipes, and interesting post’s. I can’t wait to try these Key Lime Tarts, my Father lived in the Florida Keys and had a key lime tree right outside his door!

  4. Kirby Consier says:

    Any time you feel down in the dumps, think about how lucky we are to no longer be working at the salon (ahahahahaah, but seriously, there were times where I thought that place was going to swallow us whole).

  5. a) cute, tiny food is the best food! These sound delish!
    b) food blogs are about food, but the best ones allow us to get to know the writer in a real way. It’s actually nice to be reminded that not everyone on Instagram or a food blog has as perfect of a life as it looks to the rest of us 😉 Thanks for being honest! I have struggled (and continue to struggle) with anxiety myself and you’re right, sometimes we just have to allow it, accept it, and breathe. And then move on!

  6. Hey, nice to meet you. I’m a regular person too. We are the coolest.

  7. pensilje says:

    Sydney, I am a faithful reader (and poor commenter, sorry) of your blog and I absolutely think that it is OK for you to post what ever thoughts or feelings you have. It is YOUR space and us readers are just lucky that you share so many incredible things as you already are. I, for one (but I’m sure others agree) would never judge if you decided to divulge more or less etc. It’s all up to you.

  8. First these look adorable and I love key lime!

    Now I feel your pain exactly. I know I’m lucky, luckier than the vast majority of people. My parents support me and let me chase my dreams, I have a closet full of stuff and get to do all kinds of fun things, but those dreams I’m chasing, I can’t get them to come to fruition and I don’t really have any friends, no boyfriend, and the weather, oh the weather. So depressing. I’m feeling your pain and understand exactly how you feel!

  9. Lynna says:

    Aww, this blog is all yours, so write as you please! :) I know you mentioned something similar before, but it`s okay to not always be happy and dandy. I never realized key limes were so small. LOL. You just blew my mind. Haha.

  10. Kristine says:

    My key limes are pretty big. They are from a from in Palm Desert’s back yard, so organic, more yellow in color and super juicy. The smell and sweetness is definitely key lime. She dropped off about 100 of these little delights, and your recipe was the most interesting. But I have one problem, exactly how much juice? I have 16 oz from the limes I squeezed, and I feel in my gut that is too much juice. I am thinking 1 cup of juice.

    Can anyone confirm the amount of key lime juice to make this recipe a success?

  11. MK in NY says:

    As a long-time reader of Crepes of Wrath (your blog name got my interest, but you’re amazing bread pudding recipe got my heart) and a new blogger (school required, but still counts) I found this post refreshing and inspirational.

    I read through my measly seven posts just yesterday and realized that I already sounded nothing like myself. My blog is about living in NYC (I also moved here from Arizona. ASU! ASU!) and, although I do love New York, I don’t always like it. Yet, the tone of my blog is overwhelmingly cheery.

    Thank you for expressing yourself! You showed me how to write a blog post about some negative feelings that still left me feeling positive (the adorable baby limes prob helped).

    Seriously, bloggers on the whole are too damn cheery and sometimes it makes me hate the internet.

    I know this comment is a little late, but I finally got the time to sit down and catch up on my reading. Anyway, great post. I will also be trying out these tropical treats soon!

  12. zozo says:

    Love key-lime anything!

    Sometimes it’s easy to forget there are real people behind these slick, professional-looking photos & blog posts. Everybody is allowed to feel down once in a while! Thanks for sharing.

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