This Key Lime Torte is a fresh, light and fancy (but not difficult) dessert, it’s packed full of fresh lime with a light graham cracker crust, garnished with pillows of fresh whipped cream finished with bright green lime zest sprinkled on top.
We went 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 freeing. 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 (extra points!) and ate our way up the Central Coast of California. Renewing old friendships, made new friends, stayed with old friends, ate, asked hard questions, laughed and cried together; another 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:
“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 (they aren’t in Colorado), boogie boarded, read, chilled, stayed up late and slept in, rented 3 wheelers, toured Missions, spent time on our favorite beach (Carmel-by-the-Sea), helped with some yard work, ate the delicious Artichoke Soup from The Tap Room at Pebble Beach.
All-in-all, I did a pretty good job disconnecting, I think. 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; 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…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 “Squirrel” syndrome? HA! I know I sure do, so as always, I hope you know you are free to skip my rantings and jump to the recipe.
Key Lime Torte, let’s get it started!
How to Make a Graham Cracker Crust (+Gluten Free Option)
Pulse your graham crackers in a food processor into 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 fine crumbs.
NOTE | Transform this torte easily into a gluten free dessert, simply replace regular graham crackers with GF grahams.
Add 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.
HOW TO MAKE KEY LIME FILLING
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 lime and lemon juice…whisking well.
TIP | Zest your limes BEFORE you juice them!
Then add lime zest, whisking it all together. Oh how I love lime zest, it’s so bright and pretty and packed with flavor.
If your crust is done chilling, now would be a great time to preheat your oven to 325°.
In a separate, clean bowl; using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until they are frothy. Then add your sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. You’ll know they are ready when you lift your mixers beaters; if ready there will 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 using a large spatula literally “fold” the mixtures together. Don’t stir! 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 and this will leave you with a lighter than air filling.
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 cooling 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 “spring” your pan and gently lift off the collar from the pan. Slice into pie sized servings.
HOW TO MAKE GREAT, STABLE WHIPPING CREAM
Purchase real heavy whipping cream and 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 whipped cream into a baggie or a piping bag, 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 scoop a dollop onto each piece.
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GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- 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
KEY LIME FILLING
- 3 large eggs, separated (save both whites and yolks)
- 1 (14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup fresh Key lime juice (Persian Limes may be substituted)
- 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° 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 immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers.
* Gluten Free Graham Crackers may be used cup for cup, the rest of the ingredients should be GF, but always check your packaging labels.
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- DOWAN Porcelain Platters, Oval Serving Plates for Parties, 12 Inches, 14 Inches, 15.5 Inches, Set of 3, White
- Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer (Lime)
- Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer (Lemon)
- Silicone Spatula Set - Heat Resistant BPA FREE
- KitchenAid 5-Qt. Artisan Design Series with Glass Bowl - Sea Glass
- JAMIE OLIVER Round Springform Cake Tin, 9 Inches, Nonstick
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 92mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 3g
The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc.