Tuesday, April 30, 2013

key lime curd & mascarpone tartlets




In the small town of The Plains, Virginia, about 8 minutes from my front door, the legendary Virginia Gold Cup takes place each year on the first Saturday in May.  This year will be the 88th running of this steeplechase race tradition, always on the same day as the Kentucky Derby.  Over 50,000 spectators come to beautiful Fauquier County from all around the metropolitan DC area, and beyond, dressed in their finest dresses, hats, suits and bow ties.  It's the social event of the spring! 






Obviously, with any splendid social event comes food!  Gorgeous spreads of food, drinks and beautifully decorated tables, are found in the sponsored tents and tailgating spots throughout Great Meadow.

This year, although being held a day before Cinco de Mayo, a friend is having a "key lime theme" - everything key limes.  What fun!  My contribution to this delightful cuisine theme are my colorful and luscious key lime curd & mascarpone tartlets!  I took photos for the blog during a trial run a few weeks ago, so I have the pleasure of enjoying them twice!






Key lime curd's beautiful shade of yellow, with its tangy flavor, and the creamy, sweetened texture from delicious mascarpone cheese, are blended together and encased in a free-formed, sweet shortcrust pastry shell.  These tartlets are unforgettable!  Hope you agree!

Until next time...mangia! xox

Carol






Key Lime Curd & Mascarpone Tartlets
Yield:  Key Lime Curd - approximately 2 cups / Tartlets - 24

Ingredients:

for the key lime curd:
6 egg yolks (reserve whites for another use - I use them for egg white omelets)
1 cup granulated sugar
zest from 1 lb. bag of key limes
1/2 cup fresh key lime juice (juice yielded from the same 1 lb. bag of key limes)
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

for the sweet shortcrust pastry:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup plus 1 tsp cold butter, chopped
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 egg yolks (reserve whites for another use)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon iced water

for the key lime curd & mascarpone filling:
key lime curd (approximately 2 cups)
8 ounce container of a good mascarpone (drained of any liquid)
heaping 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar
additional 1/8 cup confectioners sugar for dusting tartlets (optional)
mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Create the Key Lime Curd & Mascarpone Tartlets:

prepare the key lime curd:
In a bowl, whisk together until smooth, the egg yolks and sugar.  Whisk in the zest and juice from the key limes.  In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the whisked mixture, and the 1/2 cup of butter pieces.  Continue to watch and stir often with a heat proof spatula.  Do not leave unattended.  Continue cooking and stirring until mixture begins to thicken, about 15 minutes, or until a thermometer reaches 170 degrees F.  If you are not using a thermometer, test doneness with the back of a wooden spoon.  It should coat the spoon, and if you run your finger through it, it should leave a clear path on the spoon.  The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.

Pour the curd through a strainer over a bowl, then pour into jar(s).  The strainer will catch any of the remaining zest or congealed egg.  Cool to room temperature, seal jar(s), and store in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

prepare the sweet shortcrust pastry:
Place the flour, butter, and confectioners sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process in short bursts until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  While the motor is running, add the egg yolks and vanilla.  Add the iced water and process until the dough just comes together.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and bring together to form a ball.  Flatten into a two equally sized discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Preheat over to 350 degrees F.  Roll one of the pastry discs out between 2 sheets of parchment paper to approximately 1/8" thick.  With a round shaped cookie cutter, large enough to line the cups of a mini cupcake pan, cut 12 circles.  Repeat with the other disc.  Line a lightly greased mini cupcake pan(s) with the 24 pastry circles. Free form each circle into each cup.  Prick the base of each with a fork.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Line each cup with mini cupcake papers, fill with ceramic pie weights (or rice or dry beans) and bake for 9 minutes.  Remove the weights and papers (be careful-hot!), and bake for an additional 8 - 9 minutes or until golden.  Set aside to cool.

prepare the key lime curd & mascarpone filling:
In a bowl, mix together the key lime curd and mascarpone.  Add in a heaping 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar and mix until smooth and creamy.  Cover with plastic wrap, and set in the refrigerator to chill until ready to fill the tartlet shells.

assemble the tartlets:
Fill each tart shell with the key lime curd & mascarpone filling, about 2 teaspoons.  Loosely cover the plate of tarts with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve, up to 24 hours ahead.  Lightly dust with confectioners sugar and garnish with a mint leaf just prior to serving, if desired.  The tartlets keep well for several days in the refrigerator, but trust me, they will not last that long!

Carol's notes:
  • This is a wonderful make ahead recipe!  The curd can be made up to a week ahead or more.  The tartlet shells can be made a day ahead.  The tartlets can be assembled a day ahead and kept chilled in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • I used a 2:1 ratio for the filling - 2 cups curd:1 cup mascarpone to get more key lime flavor.  You can use a ratio of your choosing, or just curd alone.
  • If you prefer, just make the key lime curd!  Use it to spread on hot scones, toast, fill cupcakes, line layers of cake, add to oatmeal, or eat by the spoonful! ;)  You may choose to create a different size tart as well!  Use your imagination, and have fun!
  • You will have enough filling for approximately 36 tartlet shells.  You can make an additional 1/2 pastry recipe, or use it in the same ways mentioned for the curd.
  • When looking to buy your key limes, look for a yellowish color or yellow spots on the skin.  This color shows they were picked ripened on the tree.  If they are dark green, they were picked too early - still fine to use, but may be a bit more bitter.


The Sweet Shortcrust Pastry recipe is adapted from Donna Hay.  This delicious pastry was also used in my Blueberry and Lemon Mascarpone Tart found here.

The Key Lime Curd and Key Lime Curd & Mascarpone filling are a cup of mascarpone's own recipes.

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65 comments:

  1. These are absolutely gorgeous Carol! I seriously need one of these in my life. I can't tell you how much I adore anything key lime flavored.

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    1. Thank you, Jocelyn! This was my first time making key lime curd, and I love it just as much as lemon curd...very similar, with a slight more tang! Thanks for stopping by!!!

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  2. I'm about ready to pack my things and take a plane ride down to Virgina - just so I can have a few of these tartlets (by few, I mean all of them!). :D

    Stellar photos!

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    1. Val, I would absolutely love to have you...and would make up plenty of these for you! ;) Thank you for the lovely comment on the photos. Each time I take them, I try to understand what made one better than others...I'll get it one day!

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  3. These look fantastic and your photos are just amazing! Have fun!

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  4. These are the cutest little tartlets, Carol! Love the lime curd and mascarpone.

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    1. Thanks, Laura! They kind of reminded me of the lovely individual sweets you do such a beautiful job on!!!

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  5. Very pretty Carol! I'm a Key lime fan and especially love the lime curd with mascarpone! Beautiful pictures;-)

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    1. Thanks so much, Patty! The mascarpone is such a nice compliment to the tangy curd. Thank you also for sharing my recipe on FB...so appreciated!

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  6. I think luscious is the best adjective to use here! I love the sight of all those juiced limes, my mouth is puckering and drooling at the same time!

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    1. LOL! You're too sweet, Sue! I like luscious...funny, don't think I've ever used that adjective...but love it! Thanks for stopping by, always enjoy seeing you!!!

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  7. Oh how I love lemon curd and lime curd so I know this key lime curd would be perfect. Making homemade curd is a wonderful labor of love. Your tartlets are scrumptious looking, my mouth is watering.

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne! You're so right...it is a labor of love...so delicious and so welcomed by everyone. Just to borrow your blog name, it's one of those things people say, "you made that?" :)

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  8. These are incredible. Patience is a virtue and you have it. The photography is so professional. Someone should hire you to do food photos.

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    1. Thank you, Mom! You're my biggest fan...love you!!! xox

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  9. This year I'll pay closer attention to key limes in stores. Maybe I see them but don't realize them. I love all kinds of curds and last time I made Meyer lemon curd I pretty much ate everything with the curd. I can't imagine making this key lime curd. Ahhh my mouth water as I type. These tartlets are SO pretty. Wish I lived next door so I could help your taste test earlier. Have fun this weekend!
    p.s. By the way, I've been eating THE ice cream every night after kids go to sleep. Thanks for the recipe. I took the pics - not as good as yours but will post one day and let you know! :)

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    1. Nami, you brighten my day...you are just the sweetest person! Key limes are about half the size of a regular lime, and although you would think it'd be a pain to work with them, because they're so small, it's not. The skin is very thin, so the zest comes off very quickly. I can't wait to see the ice cream post...so glad you liked it...and kept it all for yourself!!!

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  10. This post is so beautifully styled Carol. I´m stealing your idea of the fork pattern inside the molds! I just used limes yesterday in a coconut cake and am smitten with them, since I can´t always find good ones. This little tartlets sound so creamy and a perfect bite!

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    1. Actually Paula, the fork was only used to prick the bottoms. The pattern was actually not planned, but I loved it too! Instead of cutting pieces of parchment for each tart shell to fill with the weights, I had a brainstorm to use mini plain cupcake papers. I put one inside each shell and filled with weights. When I removed the weights and papers half way through the baking cycle, the indentations were there! It gave them a custom look! :) Thanks as always for stopping by, love to see you!!!

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  11. How cute! I could just gobble all of these up in the blink of an eye!

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  12. These look wonderful, I love the way the photos are styled! I don't think I've ever had a lime curd before, it sounds wonderful though. Going to be trying it soon!

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Eva!! Key lime curd is very similar to lemon curd, just a bit more tangy...and delicious! Thank you for stopping by!!!

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  13. Your tartlets look incredible! I love the sound of the lime curd and mascarpone combination!

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    1. Thank you so much, Rosie! Although I'm not compelled to use mascarpone in every recipe I make, it adds so much creaminess and flavor to the curd! Have a great day! :)

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  14. Carol - these look delicious! Lime and mascarpone...what a great combination! (And your photography is so beautiful too!)

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    1. You are too sweet, Martha, thank you!! Lime and mascarpone truly is a great combo! I never know until I try it...and then it's, why didn't I do this sooner! Thank you so much for stopping by, headed your way soon to see what you have happening in your kitchen!

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  15. I absolutely love key limes!! Those are some of the cutest tartlets ever :)

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    1. Me too, Kiran! Last year, I literally had to call my Wegmans on the days they received a shipment of them, to have them hold a bag for me when I got out of work...otherwise, they were sold out! Very popular little fruits! :)

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  16. Oh, I would love a couple dozen of these! I just made key lime bars, but had to use conventional limes :/ Still yummy, but I really want yours!

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    1. Thanks so much Liz! I would love to share them with you!! Key lime bars sound amazing...can't wait for the recipe! LOVING your Apple Kuchen!!!

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  17. Carol...what fun to have a key lime theme! I LOVE baking with key lime and it's such a welcome flavor now that spring is finally here! Your tarts look incredible and your photos....beautiful as always! : )

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    1. You're a Sweetheart, Anne! (no pun intended!) :) Thanks so much...I have become a big fan of key lime as well!!

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  18. I love that every element is from scratch, from the curd to the tart shells. And they are so ADORABLE. You spared nothing on the workload of these little gems and I love key lime and these would be so good! Pinned!

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    1. You're sweet Averie...thank you so much for noticing! They truly are little gems of deliciousness! :) xox

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  19. Looks Great Carol! And just in time for spring :D

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  20. One word - GORGEOUS!!!
    Lime curd & mascarpone...oh.my.gah. Did you share these?! WHY?!?!? I would hide them and eat them up all by myself!

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    1. Thanks, Kate...you're so cute! Confession: I did not share the first batch that my post is from. The second batch will be shared - darn! ;)

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  21. Wow, Carol, these tartlets are so perfect! I loooooooove key lime curd, so I know these would be a sure winner in my book!

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    1. Thanks so much, Ashley! Key lime curd is a new winner in my book too! I never thought I'd like anything as well as lemon curd, but this makes it pretty much even!

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  22. These are perfectly stunning little lime delights! Your event sounds like fun, especially since it is the event of the year. I bet these did not last long. :) Happy almost weekend!

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    1. Hi Lisa! Hope you're feeling better! Thanks so much, I have to admit, the tartlets are quite delightful! Gold Cup is always so much fun, thanks! You have a wonderful weekend, as well!!!

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  23. My husband and I adore key lime pie. Your little tartlets with homemade key lime curd just sound amazing. These will be perfect for parties. I will sure try to find some key limes in my area. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Hi Lokness! Thanks so much for stopping by! If you and your husband adore key lime pie, you will enjoy these just as much! You're so right, they are excellent for a party table! ...and they are very easy to create since you can do everything ahead of time! You have a great weekend, as well, Lokness!!!

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  24. Hi Carol, beautiful tarts and one of my favorite flavors! Thanks for stopping by my blog for a visit. ~ Melissa www.melissassouthernstylekitchen.com

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    1. Good morning, Melissa, so nice to meet you! Thank you for the return visit, so happy to have you! Thanks for the compliment on the tarts...they taste as good as they are pretty. Wishing you a great weekend!

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  25. These photos are perfection!

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  26. What a beautiful and yummy looking tart, I would love to try to make a key lime curd,great recipe thanks for sharing :) and thanks for visit my blog, will join FB page as well.

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    1. Hi Ridwan! Thanks so mucy for your kind words! I adored your tiramisu macarons, and pinned them! So nice to meet you!!

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    2. Ridman, just noticed my typo - was supposed to be much - not mucy!! :) :)

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  27. Good morning, Carol! I love citrus desserts. Usually I cook with lemons, I have to try with key limes as well. I love curds, they are so addictive. Tartlets looks so cute, I love that they are so small, just a bite size. I just wonder how many I can eat with cup of coffee-)))

    Have a productive and creative week!

    Yelena

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    1. Hi Yelena! Thanks so much for your sweet words. I totally agree...I love baking with citrus! I think that you may eat several of these little tarts with your coffee...it's very hard to stop at one or two! :) I love your ending thought...you have a creative week as well! xox

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  28. Hi Carol,

    Your miniature tartlets looks so pretty and one is never enough for me :D

    Zoe

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    1. Hi Zoe! So nice to see you! Thanks...totally agree, one is not enough for me either!!!

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  29. Oh my goodness do these look good!! I'm a citrus girl at heart, and anything lime definitely has my name on it. I've not heard of the Virginia Gold Cup!! We lived in Louisville for 3 years, so it's all Derby for me. Funny, out here in California no one even mentioned Derby Day, let alone the Virginia Gold Cup day. Our friends in Louisville always had a Derby party and we had so much fun, watched (and bet on!) every race, tons of food, a super fun day. One of these days I'm going to hold one out here. No one will have any idea what is going on!
    Liv is better! The antibiotics are taking hold, ears are clearing and the pressure in her face is better. My son is better and I'm not coughing. Fingers crossed my husband stays well! Hopefully we will banish sickness until next season.
    Happy Weekend!! Wishing I lived in Virginia so I could have had some of these beauties!!

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    1. Hi Kim! Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I love hearing from you!!! So happy the household is all feeling better...what a horrible bout you all went through! Anytime you want to come east, I will be happy to make these beauties for you! Have a beautiful Mother's Day, Kim! xox

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  30. I'm running out of printer paper and ink from all of the printing of your recipes Carol! Love key limes and these tartlets are so darling! I've never been to a steeplechase race and would love to go at least just once (and of course wear an outrageously gorgeous hat)! Sounds like a lot of fun with a great tradition!

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    1. LOL! Thanks for making me laugh, Roz! I'm so happy you're enjoying the recipes! Gold Cup is so much fun...steeplechase racing is big in Virginia. Of course being from a horse city, Saratoga Springs, NY...I feel right at home! Thanks so much for stopping by, Roz!

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  31. These look marvellous :) I've not yet made my own curd, I should really try that.

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    1. Thank you, Rachel!! You really should try making your own, you'll never go back to store bought again...and it's so easy, too!

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  32. Hi, I'd like to make these like a meringue pie, I don't want to change the filling at all it sounds great, but I know meringue must be placed over a hot pie and then baked again. You're recipe does not need to be baked but I wonder if it can be? What do you think? Thanks in advance :) Melanie

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    1. Hi Melanie! Thanks for your question, and for stopping by "a cup of mascarpone". A key lime meringue pie sounds absolutely delicious!! I have never baked my curds. I've always added them to the cooled tart shells only. If you want the flavor of the key lime, my suggestion would be to follow a lemon meringue pie recipe, and substitute the lemons with key limes. Hope this helps! Thanks again…let me know what you decide to do, or how it turns out. I'd love to know! Carol

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Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by a cup of mascarpone, and taking the time to leave a comment! I read, smile, and cherish each and every one of them! xox

Carol