I never need an excuse to dash out and purchase a ‘necessary’ tool for my kitchen and these tart tins were no exception.  I’m sure you could make one large tart, but the little ones are perfect servings AND the crust holds together perfectly – you need 8, 4-inch tart pans with removable bottoms.  Borrowed from ‘Baked Elements’, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, these are not only weirdly good, they’re weirdly straightforward to whip up – and while I thought they were too boozy (tasting) for the kids, our sitter loved them! – enjoy!

Key Lime Tarts (with a Pretzel Crust)

For the crustsKey Lime Tarts (with a Pretzel Crust)

10 T. butter

2 T. packed brown sugar

1 1/2 c. (about 6 oz) ground pretzel sticks

Preheat the oven to 325, lightly oil (or spray) 8, 4-inch tart pans with removable bottoms, and place them on a large rimmed baking sheet covered in parchment (to make your life easier).  Melt the butter in a medium pot, whisk in the brown sugar and then remove the pot from the heat and add the pretzel crumbs.  Stir until well combined and then press about 3 tablespoons evenly into each tart pan – I used my fingers and the bottom of a small cup, you want the mixture evenly up all of the sides.  Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and use a spoon to carefully re-press the crust into all of the tarts (I find this help makes them stay together), and then allow them all to cool completely.

For the filling

3 egg yolks

1 can (300 mL/14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1/4 c. + 2 T. key lime juice (12-15 key limes)

1 T. key lime zest (about 4 key limes)

2 T. good tequila

1 T. Triple Sec

Topping – whipped cream or key lime slices or more zest as you wish

In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks and condensed milk until well blended, then add in the lime juice, zest, tequila and Triple Sec and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens slightly.  Divide the filling evenly amoung the cooled tart shells and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until you can give the pan a wiggle and the centers are set and don’t move.  Allow the tarts to cool completely and then refrigerate until they’re cold – a couple of hours at least.  They should pop out of the tart pans no problem and then top as you wish before serving.

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