|Sweets made simple with strawberries and key limes|
Two delightful spring fruits have no culinary connection to each other, but we are going out on a limb and featuring both of them anyway! Each speaks to the freshness of spring in color and taste, and both make wonderful desserts. The tiny, bright, and remarkably flavorful key lime and the luscious, ripe strawberry are two of nature’s finest accomplishments.
Peak season for key lime (Citrus aurantifolia Swingle) is May through August. Also known as Mexican lime, this fruit was most often grown in the Florida Keys until the 1926 hurricane entirely wiped out the crop. Key limes are much smaller than the standard supermarket lime you can find year round and have a more intense flavor. The original crops were replanted with slightly hardier and easier-to-grow Persian lime trees, which you find in markets today.
We offer you our simple version of a classic key lime pie, the most popular recipe for this tiny fruit. We use a key lime curd from Stonewall Kitchen, but you can substitute any good lemon or lime curd, or make one of your own. The recipe is simple and impressive—perfect for a late spring dinner party. You can make the tartlets ahead of time and assemble them in minutes. We go to this recipe over and over again when company’s coming.
Now to everyone’s favorite—the humble strawberry. Warmed by the sun and free of pesticides, local famers open their fields at the end of June, the best time to gather these wonderful berries. In this age of farming and transportation, however, the strawberry harvest lasts all year, and they are available whenever you want them. Practically speaking, using strawberries in creative ways, as you would any mild fruit, adds vitamin C and potassium to your diet. In fact, eight strawberries have more Vitamin C than an orange and only 50 calories.
Strawberry tart is a delicious spring dessert that can also be made ahead of time. It serves about eight people and is just the right way to end a casual dinner. The tart does call for a little strawberry jam and, as always, you can use any good quality, all natural jam.
Strawberry Sour Cream Tart
Preheat oven to 375° F.
1. Bake graham cracker crust until crust is firm to touch, about 8 minutes. Cool on rack.
2. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla.
3. Spread filling in cooled crust. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours. (Can be made a day ahead. Cover well and keep chilled.)
4. Arrange berries over filling. Whisk jam in small bowl to a loose consistency and drizzle over berries. Serve immediately.
Key Lime Tartlets
Makes 36, 2¼-inch tarts
1. Roll out pie dough and cut 36, 3 1/4-inch rounds. Press each pastry round into 2 1/4-inch tartlet pans. Bake in preheated oven for 8–12 minutes until golden brown.
2. Combine cream cheese and condensed milk in a bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix on medium speed until uniform.
3. Mix in key lime curd on low speed until combined.
4. Spoon mixture into prepared crusts and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Top with sweetened whipped cream and lime zest for garnish.