Lime Curd Tart

I like lime curd with character. Lime curd is wonderful on a slice of toast, for dipping long-stemmed strawberries in, or to serve with[ pound cake and fresh fruit. Here we use it to fill a prebaked tart shell. Grating the zest in the food processor is very quick. Lime curd lasts for weeks in the refrigerator.]

Total Time:
3 hr 45 min
25 min
2 hr 30 min
50 min

1 (9 or 10-inch) tart

  • Tart Shell:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • Filling:
  • 4 limes at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Press the dough into a 10-inch-round or 9-inch-square false-bottom tart pan, making sure that the finished edge is flat. Chill until firm.

Butter 1 side of a square of aluminum foil to fit inside the tart and place it, buttered side down, on the pastry. Fill with beans or rice. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, prick the tart all over with the tines of a fork, and bake again for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Remove the zest of 4 limes with a vegetable peeler or zester, being careful to avoid the white pith. Squeeze the limes to make 1/2 cup of juice and set the juice aside. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the sugar and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the zest is very finely minced. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and lime zest. Add-- the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lime juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. The lime curd will thicken at about 175 degrees F, or just below a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Fill the tart shell with warm lime curd and allow to set at room temperature. Once set, serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

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    This is the best dessert and can easily be made ahead of time! Perfect for company!
    I loved this dessert, it was so refreshing! The crust was just a little hard, but that's how it's suppose to be! I love Ina, she is so good at cooking.
    This dessert is absolutely delicious! I saw Ina make it on TV and I made it that night. The flavor is so refreshing and light, and the crust just really perfectly crunchy and sweet. Perfect! 
    That said, if I make it again, I would probably cut the crust portion in half. My crust was so thick -- we all had difficulty cutting through it with our forks. (And it's not because I skimped on the sides of the crust. The sides on mine were really too tall -- my mistake!. 
    A person shouldn't be surprised by a high calorie count in a dessert, but this one did surprise me. One slice (one eighth of the tart is a whopping 603 calories!
    I use the lime curd as cake filling and have several friends and family who call and want 'the usual'. It's great and easy to make.
    This recipe requires some proficiency, but the payoff is fabulous! Beats any Key Lime Pie I've ever tasted -- the lime flavor absolutely pops, and I "turned up the volume" -- (thank you, Ina -- by making a graham cracker crust. The sweet crumbly crust vs. the tart smooth lime -- oooh-la-la. It also looks beautiful with the dark ring of cracker crumbs. I also found a finer consistency by zesting the lime with a Microplane right off the fruit rather than in strips that go into the processor with the sugar. Either way, this is a REALLY special pie. Made it for Thanksgiving and got a standing ovation.
    I made this with a graham cracker crust. I also used key limes instead of regular persian limes. Key limes have a more intense flavor and they cut the sweetness better. I topped with strawberries and it's definitely a keeper!
    Great flavor, but the lime curd did not completely set. Did anyone else have this problem? It was the consistency of pudding, and lime curd should be firmer when it sets. I recently made a lemon curd tart and didn't have this problem (different recipe. I also made this with a graham cracker crust (definitely better than a regular crust, and covered the tart top with raspberries.
    I had trouble with the crust turning out very hard so I think maybe the baking time should be less. Otherwise, this was a very good desert and I will definitely try making it again!
    could someone please confirm proportions for a successful tart? i see conflicting measurements. before i try this, i'd appreciate feedback on quantities from our faithful reviewers. thanks in advance!
    Well, I tried this with lime and did not like it. I tried it with lemons and adored it. The crust though, came out for me, hard as a brick so I substituted a recipe for lemons bars from one of those church lady cookbooks my mom used to get. Two stick of butter or margerine, 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar and two cups flour. Process in the food processor and push it into the pan. It comes out sooooo tender. You can also just mix the filling and put it on top of the partially bake crust and put it in the oven. It bakes perfectly. No need for thermometers on the stove. church ladies are efficient cooks.
    Too, too, too, sweet. Directions for crust are not accurate--had to make another. Like the idea of a graham cracker crust. Added more lime juice to get some lime flavor. I looked for the recipe because my lime tree has given off a bounty of fruit. Will not make this again.
    Nothing to it...Turned out perfect, sweetness and all. I used a thermometer to bring it to 175 degrees. On the rind, I actually peeled it with a razor blade tool that you're supposed to use on your foot calluses, with which only gets the green part and no white pith at all. Then I set these peels on my cutting board and with my very sharp chef's knife, chop, chop, chopped you would a pile of parsley, etc. It was fine as powder, believe me. But lately, because it's so convenient, and actually more fragrant and equal to rind, I've been using the citrus oils sold by, where I get all my baking needs. One thing I would have liked it to be just a tiny more thick than it was, although it did seem to thicken more in the fridge over night. Also, I happened to use Cook;s Illustrated Foolproof Pie Crust recipe that I wanted to try because it's made using half water, half vodka instead of all water. Wonderful too. It was all great. Ina's recipe is pure "heaven on a plate" just as it is. Between just my husband and I, it was gone in a day and a half flat. Not good for the scale, but, it was satisfying to have successfully made a great pie. Uh, I used the recipe that's in her book and here of course. I've never seen the show that this is supposedly in.

    One very important thing about this rind business. It depends on the quality of the lime. They're pretty awful here, even in S. fact the ones I bought were from Peru...they're not in season. I tasted the rind and it was awful too. This is why that lime oil I mentioned comes in handy. One teaspoon of it equals 1 teaspoon of rind. If something tastes nasty to you, don't go ahead and use it, for heaven're better off using lime extract in it than putting that tastes badly or leave it all together if you must. Beats ruining your whole investment of products, right? Common sense rules.
    Made this tonight for dessert it was awesome!!!! all I had was 3 limes not 4 that the recipe called for... it worked GREAT!!! A+ INA
    Wonderful flavors and a perfect crust.
    BRIAN - recipe calls for 3/4 cup, or 1 1/2 sticks of butter, not 3 sticks for the crust.
    I loved this! Very lime-y and delicious. Not very hard to make either. I used Ina's recipe from her cookbook, so I'm not quite sure if there is any difference between that and the directions/measurements here -- but there were a few issues. First the crust. Three sticks of butter to the specificied flour made for a very hard to work with dough, very moist and kept falling apart. I had to keep rolling it around in flour and adding flour to get it to a workable state. Once it held together though, it baked into a delicious sweet and buttery tart shell. Also experienced the lime zest issues where they did not get ground fine enough via food processor and would have benefitted form strainging. Last issue is the curd might be just a tad cloy or too sweet. May want to decrease surgar about a 1/4 a cup. Otherwise, very tasty and delicious.
    I I watched the show only today ( Ina is one of my very favorites) but the amounts did seem to be drastically diferent. I am also waiting for some clarification before I apply this recipe. I must say that I can't wait!!! I gave this a five because her recipes always are, and I'm quite sure this will be as well. Elizabeth
    The recipe for the curd has been halved.
    I was ready to add this to recipe box until I read ingredient amounts & reviews. I am certain on today's episode Ina used 3 cups of sugar with the lime zest, and 8 eggs, yet the recipe calls for different proportions. Since this recipe would involve a labor-intensive and costly preparation, I've decided to wait to see if Food Network folks issue a correction.
    Roanoke, VA
    Fabulous recipe, just the right balance of sweet and tart. It was very easy to make and will become a staple in my list of "go to" dessert recipes.
    I loved this curd because it used whole eggs and not just the yolks (many curd recipes use yolks only). I always microplane the zest so I had no problems at all with this recipe. We used a crostina crust and topped the curd with fresh blackberries at serving. Unbelievably good!!
    Had the same problem as some of the others with the lime zest not finely chopped- had to strain the curd before cooking to get the zest peices out. Curd thickened beautifully though and overall tasted and looked great.
    Loved it. Just did the curd to mix with yougort. Next time will probably cut a bit on the sugar. But still was superb.
    I make the curd using limes, or lemons, or mandarins from my mom's trees.....any citrus fruit will work. A combo of the zests/juices tastes great too!. The curd makes a wonderful hostess gift and is great used as a "fondue" for dipping fruit, pound cake, shortbread cookies...what ever you like! Works great as a spread for scones and muffins too. Combine with whipped cream for a citrus mousse! I use the micro plane to zest the fruit, mix all the ingredients in the food processor, then cook as directed. No fail recipe.
    This recipe tastes great! I had better results hand grating the lime zest than processing it - more even texture. Also, I decreased the sugar in the filling to 1-1/4 cup - a little less sweet with no effect on the consistency.
    I have made Ina's lemon curd and it is the most wonderful I've ever had. Am planning to make the lime this weekend. When zesting the limes be sure not to get any of the white pith. Try using a micrplane. If you process the zest with the sugar it does mix in very well. Lime zest seems to be a little tougher than lemon so it might take a couple of minutes longer to process, but her recipes are definately worth perfecting. Ina is amazing and I am a huge fan of her show and her recipes.
    I made this the first time with lemons and it turned out great. The second time I used limes, zested four of them and it was so bitter I had to throw it away. Next time I'll try only two zested limes. All in all this is a very impressive and delicious dessert.
    I'm so confused! I just watched the program yesterday and I know Ina used 6 limes, 3 cups of sugar, and 1 cup of juice. I cannot recall how many eggs nor how much butter went into the curd, but the limes and sugar alone are a different ratio than that in the recipe (6 limes to 3 cups sugar vs. 4 limes to 1 1/2 cups sugar), so which is correct? I'm anxious about trying this until I know the accurate amounts. If someone who recorded the program could help out I'd appreciate it.
    I made this recipe for my family's Easter gathering, and although they loved it, I felt it had two fundamental flaws...

    1) The crust was too hard/crunchy. I didn't even bake it the entire recommended time, and it came out pretty tough. I am certain I did not over mix the flour, which would be my first reaction... so I believe the recipe time is inaccurate. I live in the mid-west, so humidity could be an issue? not sure.

    2) Food processing the lime peel does not work well enough for me. I processed the heck out of the peel (for probably five minutes on a brand new Kitchen Aid food processor), and it was still too large. When I try this recipe again, I will zest the limes by hand.

    I will say that the taste of the tart is phenomenal, and with these two issues rectified, it's a definite five-star dessert.
    I made this recipe as a pie instead of a tart. Instead of the shortbread crust I used the graham cracker crust she uses for her frozen key lime pie. Then I froze it and topped it with whipped cream when I served it. The curd did not harden in the freezer so it remained slightly soft and gooey. To the person who said it spilled all over her oven while it was baking, you aren't supposed to bake the tart with the filling in it. Only the crust. I also had no problems with bitterness, but I also zested the limes the same way I always do (with my box grater).
    I made this for my family, and they fell in love with it. My wife particularly liked the cookie taste and texture of the crust. I plan to make it again.
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