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Let me take a moment to apologize profusely for being missing-in-action during the past few days. Life is just getting in the way.  Gosh darn it, doesn’t Life know that blogging is my life?!  You know, when I’m not being a wife-mother-chauffeur-maid-teacher-rambling-idiot-friend-coach-baker?

Which brings me to the real reason that I’ve been MIA:  I have a wicked case of writer’s block.  So bad in fact, that the other day I struggled with writing a check. Seriously.  This rarely happens, and when it does, I plug through it by posting 67 photos along with a recipe.  (Not that every recipe is a sign of my mental blockage. ;))

The. Words. Just. Aren’t. Flowing.  ARGH!!

I totally blame it on the Trenta.

Naturally, I did the only reasonable thing when faced with a dilemma: I baked it out.  My baking production has increased exponentially this week. That’s saying something considering I am a prolific baker anyway.  Production has noticeably increased.  As in, even my boys are starting to wonder why I’ve been churning out so many baked goods.  Not that they are complaining or anything.

So please accept my most sincerest apologies along with these lovely little tangy bites of  buttery sunshine.  Little Lime Tarts are just what this mentally-blocked blogger needed.  They are so simple and come together in a snap! And, if you are like me and gluttony is the rules your world, then these little tarts come with the moderation built right in.  Win-win-win.

Only five ingredients required: limes, flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.  That’s it!

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (F) and spray 24 cup mini-muffin pan with baking spray. (24 cups or wells, not 24-cups in capacity.)

Start by zesting a couple of limes. You’ll need a few teaspoons, which I was able to zest from 2 smallish Persian limes.  Key limes may be used if you prefer, but man! Have you ever zested those tiny little things?! Takes for-ev-ah!  Set the zest aside when you are done.

Go ahead and juice the limes, while you are at it.  I like to juice citrus fruits over a fine mesh strainer so that I don’t have to fish out the seeds later.  Set the lime juice aside. (By the way–this recipe is also great with lemon or orange juice/zest.)

Pour some sugar over a stick of softened butter.

Then cream the sugar into the butter until it fluffs up a bit. Then mix in the egg whites until they are well incorporated.

Stir in the flour until it is well combined with the butter mixture.  This is the pastry for the little tarts.

Use a small cookie scoop or rounded teaspoon to portion the pastry dough into the prepared mini-muffin pan.

Dip a few fingers into some flour.

Then use the floured fingers to form the dough around the wells of the pan–like little pie shells.

Or, if you are a big kitchen-gadget dork like me and own a mini-tart shaper, go ahead and use it.  Once all of the pastry shells have been formed, set them aside and make the filling.

Melt a tablespoon of butter, and let it cool slightly.

Whisk a few eggs until they are light and fluffy before pouring in the sugar.

Add the melted, then cooled butter. I kind of forgot about my butter, so it started to set up again. Everything worked out fine in the end.  Whisk the sugar and butter into the eggs until well blended.

Dump in a couple of teaspoons of lime zest, and pour in the juice.  Whisk the lime parts in the egg mixture until everything is nice and emulsified.  The filling will be thin, but will bake into a custard-like consistency.

Fill the pastry shells 2/3 of the way full.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly browned and filling is set.

Before.

After.

Allow the tarts to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. After, run a paring knife around the edges of the tarts to pop them out of the pan.

Cool the tarts on a wire rack before serving.

These little cuties are sweet enough to serve as is, but I like to dust a little powdered sugar on top.  You know, just for pretty.

Or, if you want to get all fancy-pants and happen to have a little of The Only Frosting You’ll Ever Need leftover from a prior baking event, put it into a zippered bag, snip off the bottom corner, and squeeze a drop on top of each tart.

If you are feeling a little ultra-fancy-pants, then zest a little more lime peel, and sprinkle that on top of the frosting.

Ultra-fancy-pants, right here!

And speaking of fancy-pants stuff, I love to bring Little Lime Tarts to cocktail parties or summer barbecues because they are so cute, and easy to eat while mingling in a crowd.

Thanks again for tolerating my brief hiatus and listening to my writer’s block tale of woe.  I think once you make these little tarts, you’ll agree that my time away was well spent. :)

Little Lime Tarts

http://comfortablydomestic.com

Serves 12

Tart Crust:

½ C. unsalted butter, softened

1/3 C. granulated sugar

1 egg white

Pinch of salt

1 ¼ C. all-purpose flour

Custard Filling:

2 large eggs

1/3 C. granulated sugar

1 Tbs. butter, melted then cooled

2 tsp. lime zest

3 Tbs. fresh lime juice

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F). Spray 24 mini-muffin cups with baking spray; set aside.
  2. For tart dough: Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until fluffy.
  3. Mix egg white into creamed mixture until blended.
  4. Add flour and a pinch of salt, mixing until well incorporated.
  5. Use a small cookie scoop to scoop dough into the prepared mini-muffin cups.
  6. Dip a few fingers into some flour, and press dough into one of the cups to form a shell for the filling.  Repeat with remaining dough. Dust fingers with more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking.
  7. Once all of the dough has been shaped into shells, set them aside.
  8. For the custard filling:  Whisk eggs in a small bowl, until fluffy.
  9. Pour sugar, and the melted/cooled butter into the beaten eggs; whisk until well incorporated.
  10. Add the lime zest and juice, then whisk until just combined.
  11. Pour filling into the tart dough shells, filling them ¾ of the way full.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the shells are very lightly browned, and filling is set.
  13. Remove from oven, and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  14. Gently run a paring knife along the edges of the tarts to remove them from the pan.
  15. Cool completely on the wire rack.
  16. To serve, dust with powdered sugar, or a dab of whipped cream or cream cheese frosting.
  17. Store leftover tarts in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
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