Tart Citrus Tart

Meyer lemon tart

Meyer lemon tart

Having been born and raised in Florida, I guess it’s pretty much inevitable that Key lime pie is one of my ideal desserts. I’m not talking about the cloyingly sweet custard kind that sticks to your teeth, though, and definitely not the fake green kind. (If you’re ever served bright green Key lime pie, just run away! I know it’s just food coloring, but seriously people…really?) My ideal is the kind my aunt, Jojo, in Miami introduced me to, which is perfect on a hot summer day, perhaps primarily because it doesn’t even involve turning on the oven unless you need to prebake the crust. (One of my most treasured memories is when I made this key lime pie for a party about ten years ago, and my friend’s very quiet son confessed to her, “I could write a song about that pie. A love song…”)

The fall and winter, though, are when so many other amazing tart citrus fruits are in season, so my family has adapted this pie to be perfect for all seasons. In November, I jumped on a Freecycle offer for someone’s excess calamansi fruit (I grew up knowing them as calamondins), juiced a ton of them, and made my mom’s version of this tart. Unprompted, my husband decreed that it was “what Creamsicles bow down and worship as a god.” Perhaps it’s an exaggeration—or perhaps Penzeys’ double strength vanilla extract has mystical powers—but I’ll take it!

Today was my first attempt at making a Meyer lemon version as part of my quest to keep my Meyer lemon tree from thinking that its overflow of fruit isn’t appreciated. I tried infusing the lemon juice with a bit of rosemary, but in my attempt to not overdo the rosemary, the herb pretty much went undetected. (I’m going to try again though!) The resulting tart had a perfect blend of sweetness and tartness, though, and the Tahitian vanilla extract I used was a bit more subtle than in the calamondin version. (I also carefully peeled the rind off of ten of the lemons and have them infusing in vodka for limoncello, so the Meyer lemon tree is definitely feeling the love now!)

Recipe: Tart Citrus Tart

Summary: easiest, no-fail, no-bake key lime (or any tart citrus!) pie/tart

Ingredients

  • prepared tart shell or graham cracker crust
  • 1 package (8 oz.) neufchatel (light cream cheese)
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup tart citrus juice (e.g., Key lime, Meyer lemon, calamondin/calamansi), preferably fresh
  • 1-2 tsp zest of said citrus
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Blend cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, juice, zest, and vanilla in blender or food processor until smooth and slightly fluffy (a minute or two), scraping down the sides occasionally.
  2. Pour filling into prepared tart or pie crust, smoothing it out evenly in the crust.
  3. Chill for a couple hours so the filling can thicken a bit, then gleefully serve.

Variations

You can use regular cream cheese, of course, but it’s so good as a lighter version that I don’t know why you would. If you want a few more fat calories, serve the pie topped with some whipped cream!

Number of servings (yield): 12

This recipe has been written on so many napkins and been relayed over innumerable phone calls among my family, so while it may not be the original, it’s definitely been thoroughly tested!

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2 Responses to Tart Citrus Tart

  1. Jon says:

    Having miraculously gotten to taste this Meyer lemon tart, I would like to second Dan’s summation, so maybe the Tahitian vanilla has similar powers. Also, since I hate Creamsicles but adored your tart, I would recommend it highly to anyone :)

  2. Carolyn says:

    I will definitely be trying this one very soon!

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