This torte is a fresh, light and fancy (but not difficult) dessert, it’s packed full of lime flavor with a lovely light graham cracker crust, garnished with pillows of fresh whipped cream finished with bright green lime zest sprinkled on top. Well it’s just a perfect ending to a summer evening, or an afternoon luncheon, or to bring to a potluck, you get the idea.
As many of you know, I was on vacation last week; it’s the first week since I started my blog that I didn’t post a new recipe, it felt kind of weird, but I truly wanted to try and immerse myself into this time away, of being together. I wanted to be all in, without the outside or the other side of life creeping in to take over. I wanted to try and say yes, a lot. “Can we stop at this beach”, “Yes!”, “Can we eat at In-N-Out Burger, again”, “YES!” “Can we go to the candy store”, “YES!” “Can we watch a movie even though it’s 10:00 p.m.?” Yawning, but I said yes! Give it a try sometime, it’s kind of freeing in many ways. What I found is that because I was saying yes so often, when I needed to say no, it was understood, no whining or grumping, everyone was reasonable. And I really liked it, I so often feel like the bad guy, that it sure was nice to be a “fun mom” for a change!
We played, laughed, visited, listened to our 15 year olds music (we should get jewels in our crown for that!) and ate our way up the Central Coast of California. Renewing old friendships (stayed with a childhood friend and family, in their lovely home), made some new friends (the son and daughter-in-law of our church friends), stayed with old friends (the pastor and his wife who married us) ate, asked hard questions, laughed and cried together; another “old” friend even drove down from the Bay Area to meet us in Santa Cruz, no simple task in California, it meant the world to us. It reminds me of the verse in the Bible about a cord of three strands not being easily broken, I love this version from The Message:
“By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG)
Invest in friends and family, people; it’ll enhance your life…that’s all I’ve got to say…for now…until the next time!
We visited a couple of colleges (yikes), tried SUP (stand up paddle boarding – much harder than it looks), skipped rocks, collected shells, cruised Santa Cruz, ate more In-N-Out (we don’t have them in Colorado), boogie boarded, read, chilled, stayed up late and slept in, rented 3 wheelers, saw Missions, spent time on our favorite beach (Carmel Beach), helped with some yard work, got Artichoke Soup (my fave!) from The Tap Room at Pebble Beach. Recipe forthcoming in the near future….oh and while we were hanging at Pismo Beach, much to my surprise, beyond the surf, was a whale just smacking his (or her) tail up and down, splashing and playing (at least I think and hope it was). It was amazing and I don’t think many people even noticed it, but as it swam up the coast, it swished and slapped and splashed for some time, it was my little gift for the day! I’m so amazed at God’s creation!
All-in-all, I did a pretty good job disconnecting, I think. Occasionally, I’d succumb to browsing Facebook or Instagram, but I must say that I really was able to totally relax and for the most part unplug. I spent a lot of time watching the waves, while my boys played in the surf, having fun together…WAIT WHAT?!? For a mother of teenage boys who are only 18 months and change apart, that’s a moment to cherish, capture, ponder and watch with awe; for they do not normally do things together, nor can I say do they often play together, and yet that’s exactly what they did last week! More than once I heard them laughing and shouting as they caught a wave together, discovered a great skipping rock, played with our friends dogs…that was priceless! And while the bickering started right back up, it is a nice memory to look back on, in hope that I’ll see more and more glimpses of these times as they grow and mature.
Alas, I digress, does anyone else have a problem with bunny trails? HA! I know I sure do, so as always, I hope you know you are free to skip my rantings and go right to the recipe. I won’t even know you didn’t read all of the above.
Lime Torte, let’s get it started! By the way, this torte is super easy to transform into a Gluten Free dessert just by changing out the graham crackers for GF ones. Of course as always be sure to check your labels to make sure everything else is GF, but all of mine was.
Start by crushing your graham crackers in a food processor until it resembles fine crumbs. Alternately, you can place your grahams in a zip lock baggie and smash with a rolling pin ( which can be quite satisfying sometimes, especially on those heavy bickering days), then roll (on top of the baggie) until you get find crumbs. Or buy already prepared crumbs, if that’s what’s easiest for you!
Add your sugar and pulse to combine.
Slowly drizzle in melted butter while pulsing on low to combine.
Pat crumbs evenly into a 9 or 10″ springform pan.
TIP: Use a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap to press crumbs evenly and firmly.
CHILL in the refrigerator for at least an hour before adding your batter.
Next you’ll make the “fluffy-limey part” of the torte.
Start by separating your eggs, I still do it the old fashioned way, back and forth between the shells. Don’t throw those whites or yolks out though, you’ll need them both.
Add yolks to large mixing bowl, whisk until they lighten slightly in color. Pour in sweetened condensed milk and whisk until combined with egg yolks.
Next pour in your lime and lemon juice…whisking well (oops a bit blurry).
TIP: Zest your limes BEFORE you juice them!
Then add your lime zest, whisking it all together. Oh how I love lime zest, it’s so bright and pretty and packed with flavor.
TIP: If your crust is done chilling, now would be a great time to preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Here’s where you get to use those egg whites. In a separate, clean bowl; pour the egg whites and whip until they are frothy, then add your sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. It’s super easy to tell when they are ready, just lift your mixer and there should literally be little peaks that stay standing and don’t floomp over. If they sag or droop too much, just whip a bit longer. They should get nice and glossy and grow in volume.
Fold the egg whites into the lime batter. Spoon the whole amount of whipped egg whites into the lime batter and using a large spatula literally “fold” the mixtures together. Don’t stir them in, that will remove the airy-ness of the whipped egg whites. Gently, scoop to the bottom, pull the batter up and turn over onto the egg whites, continue doing so until the egg whites are incorporated into the batter. Be patient, this part takes a bit of time, but resist from stirring to get it done, it doesn’t take longer than a couple of minutes.
When it’s all incorporated, pour it onto the chilled graham cracker crust.
Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes until edges start to brown ever so slightly and the middle looks a bit dry. It might even crack as it cools. That’s okay, you’ll cover up those cracks with whipped cream!
Cool completely on a wire rack, refrigerate for 6-8 hours. I only chilled this one 4, I rushed it, it’s better if it goes a bit longer, this is a great make ahead dessert.
When ready to serve, first using a knife, run it between the edge of the pan and the torte, then careful “un-spring” your pan and gently lift off the collar from the pan. Slice into pie sized servings.
WHIPPING CREAM | Purchase real whipping cream (you can always substitute the canned stuff, but why would you when this is so yummy), pour into bowl and whip until thickened slightly. About half way through whipping, add powdered sugar and a touch of vanilla, continue whipping until you have stiff peaks and the whipping cream is firm. Be careful you don’t accidentally make make sweet butter! It’s easy to do.
Spoon whipping cream into a baggie if desired, snip off about ¾ – 1 ” of the baggie corner and “pipe” onto the torte slice. Garnish with a little more lime zest and a slice of lime if desired. Or, just drop a dollop on each peace.
- 2 cups crushed graham crackers* (about 1 ½ packages, 2 pkgs for thicker crust or if you are using 10")
- ¼ cup sugar, less if desired
- 8 TBL (1 stick) butter, melted
- LIME FILLING
- 3 large eggs, separated (save both whites and yolks)
- 1 (14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup fresh lime juice (Persian or Key Limes)
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon lime zest
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- WHIPPED CREAM GARNISH
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1-2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Place graham crackers crushed loosely with hand into bowl of food processor and pulse until crushed. Or place in gallon sized ziplock bag and using rolling pin, smash grahams, then roll until all grahams resemble fine crumbs.
- Add sugar and melted butter, pulse until combined.
- Press into bottom of 9 or 10" springform pan, evenly and firmly.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- In medium sized bowl, whisk egg yolks until slightly lighter in color.
- Add condensed milk, lime juice, lemon juice and lime zest.
- Whisk until smooth
- In separate bowl, pour in reserved egg whites, using whisk or beater attachment beat until frothy.
- Add sugar to egg whites and whip until stiff peaks form. Egg whites will increase in size, and get stiff and glossy.
- Fold whipped egg whites into the egg and milk mixture, gently until combined.
- Spread evenly on cooled prepared crust.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until set and lightly browned. May crack as it cools.
- Cool on a wire rack, cover and chill for a minimum of 4 hours, 8 hours or more preferred.
- Serving: Beat whipping cream at high speed until slightly thickened, then add powdered sugar and vanilla beating until soft peaks form.
- Remove collar from torte (gently run a nice around the edge to lose from collar) and slice into desired sized slices.
- Garnish with a dollop or two of whipped cream, a sprinkle of lime zest and a wedge of lime if desired.
- If you'd prefer to pipe the whipped cream, scoop desired amount into sandwich baggie and snip off a corner about ¾ of an inch up, Squeeze onto torte, serve immediatly.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.
- About half way through