Recipe from Cake Boy by Eric Lanlard (Mitchell Beazley, 2011)This is my own cheese-free version of the Florida favorite. It should be white, not made with food coloring-as they say in Key West, "if it's green, don't touch it"!
Preparation time: 1 day in advance for the poached lime slices, + about 35 minutes, + chilling
Cooking time: 35-45 minutes
For the poached lime slices
- ½ cup superfine sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1/3 cup fresh mint
- 4 limes, finely sliced
For the base
- 3½ cups crushed graham crackers
- ¼lb plus 1 tbsp (11/8 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
For the filling
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 2½ cups condensed milk
- finely grated zest and juice of 4 limes
- ¼ cup superfine sugar
For the topping
- 2/3 cup whipping cream
- confectioners' sugar, for dusting
The day before making the pie, prepare the poached lime slices for the decoration. Place the sugar in a pan with the water and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sugar has melted, then add half the mint leaves and all the lime slices. Poach the lime in this minty syrup for about 10 minutes, then allow to cool and infuse overnight.
To make the base, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and press into a buttered deep 10 inch removable-bottomed, preferably fluted, tart pan. If you don't have one of the latter, use a springform pan of the same size and just press the crumbs two-thirds of the way up the side. Let the base rest for another hour in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Line the crumb shell with waxed paper and half-fill it with ceramic pie weights or uncooked dried beans. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the weights and cook for another 5 minutes until the base has darkened slightly in color. Remove from the oven and cool.
For the filling, beat the egg yolks in a bowl until light and fluffy, then beat in the condensed milk and lime zest and juice.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and superfine sugar until firm, then gently fold into the lime mixture, using a large metal spoon.
Completely fill the crumb shell with the lime mixture and bake in the preheated oven, at the same temperature, for 20-25 minutes until set and lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool. It will sink slightly, so don't worry.
Loosen the edges of the tart, remove the pan and transfer to a serving plate. Finally, whip the cream until it peaks, spoon into a pastry bag, and pipe around the edge of the cold tart. Dust the top with confectioners' sugar, then decorate with the poached lime slices and some of the syrup, discarding the cooked mint and adding the remaining fresh mint leaves.