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The “Key” to Spring

After the most recent snowstorm, Ryan invited me to one of his favorite bars in the city – Tank Bar. It is one of those great places you go if 1.) you want to escape the world or 2.) you are having an affair and need a discreet place to meet for a drink. So I dragged my cold, whiny self seven blocks in the snow and was glad I did. He greeted me with one of the best bowls of mushroom soup I’ve ever had in my life. The evening was topped off with a slice of key lime pie.

The taste of the lime sent me into a tailspin. I want spring and I want it now.  And before you so anything I know it is not lime season. But I didn’t care. I set off to find some decent limes (which I found) to make a delicious lime tart (which I did not).

What I got was a mess. One of my biggest shortcomings in baking is my carelessness when it comes to precision. That is why I prefer cooking over baking. I never fail to miss something. This experience was no different. I used a little less graham cracker than suggested so my crust was a bit weak. And while I followed the filling directions to the letter, the amount of filling was definitely not enough to fill the tart pan leaving me with a rather unsubstantial tart. The solution to such a problem? A lot of whipped cream. 

And yes, as it goes with all of my baking endeavors, while it might not taste great, we still ate the whole damn thing…

Key Lime Tart (from Martha Stewart)


  • 9 to 10 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 4 to 6 limes), or fresh or bottled key-lime juice
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Pinch salt
  • Slivered lime zest, for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process graham crackers and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until fine crumbs form, add butter. Process until combined. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pat into bottom and up sides. Place pan on a baking sheet, and bake until crust is fragrant and slightly colored, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, lime juice, egg yolks, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and salt; whisk until smooth. Pour mixture into crust (warm or cool is fine), leaving 1/8 inch at the top; return to oven. Bake until filling is set around edge but still slightly loose in center, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. To store longer, cover and refrigerate, up to 2 days. Serve, garnished with zest, if desired.

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