Baking in Eagle County
Vail CO, Colorado
Editor’s note: Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful.
Cool, smooth and refreshing … this Lime Ice Cream Tart is a great choice for dessert on a hot evening or after a spicy meal. I first tasted it in Santa Fe after a southwestern dinner. I liked it so much that I started trying to duplicate it as soon as I got home.
I found several recipes for similar desserts and, after a bit of experimentation, created a tart that is very close to the one I’d devoured so happily in New Mexico. I was delighted with the result and equally pleased with its ease of preparation. This is, truly, a no-brainer!
The crumb crust is completed in about 15 minutes, but if that isn’t fast enough for you, you can always substitute a store-bought graham cracker crust; the tart will still be good. The filling is made in a single bowl and requires only stirring the ingredients until they are fully combined, pouring it into the crust, and sticking it in the freezer. Voila!
Real lime juice can be substituted for the limeade concentrate. Use about two-thirds of a cup (about 6 limes, squeezed) if you want the added zip of fresh juice.
The finished tart is fine unaccompanied. However, a topping of sweetened whipped cream complements the sour lime taste very well. Fresh raspberries and a sweetened raspberry sauce also pair well with the dessert and I love the color contrasts of this combination.
Plan ahead: The tart needs to freeze for at least eight hours or, if possible, overnight.
Make in a 9 inch tart or pie pan
Graham Cracker Crust
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs (I pulverize about 12 graham crackers in a food processor. You can also seal them in a plastic bag and mash them into crumbs by rolling a rolling pin over them or smashing them with a heavy pot)
4 to 5 tablespoons of butter, melted
14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk (one can)
1 12 ounce can of limeade concentrate, undiluted
1 pint of vanilla ice ream (I use Haagen-Dazs vanilla), softened
Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the center position. Combine the sugar and graham cracker crumbs in a bowl, add about four tablespoons of the melted butter and stir with a fork until all of the crumbs are uniformly moistened. It takes a minute or two of stirring for the cookies to absorb all of the butter. Press a tablespoon or so of the moistened crumbs between your fingers.
They should stick together easily. If they don’t, add the remaining tablespoon of melted butter and stir again. Dump the crumb combination into the tart or pie pan and press them up the sides and across the pan bottom. Press through a piece of plastic wrap if the moistened crumbs stick to your fingers. Don’t make the crust too thick (not more than three-sixteenths of an inch) or it will be hard to cut. If you don’t need all of the crumbs (I usually have about two tablespoons left over), save the remainder to decorate the top of the frozen pie. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes until set. Let it cool completely.
Make the filling: Combine the sweetened condensed milk and one cup of the undiluted limeade concentrate (or the lime juice, if you are using it) in a medium bowl. Whisk until they are well mixed. Spoon the softened ice cream into the mixture and continue to whisk or beat with an electric mixer, until the combination is completely smooth (no lumps of ice cream should be visible). If you are using the limeade concentrate, give the filling a taste, and add more concentrate, two tablespoons at a time, until the intensity of the lime flavor is to your liking.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top. Freeze the tart for at least eight hours or overnight. When the filling is frozen enough that you can cover the tart without disturbing the filling, do so.
When you are ready to serve the tart, sprinkle any remaining graham cracker crumbs decoratively around its perimeter. Dip a thin, sharp knife in hot water, and cut from the center to the edge. Clean the knife between cuts and re-dip it in warm water. Serve with whipped cream or raspberries, if desired.
This recipe is a variation of one in “Best Loved Desserts,” by Good Housekeeping.
Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact Dawson with your comments about this column and/or your baking questions at email@example.com.