April 7, 2013

Avocado Key Lime Tart

Or is it pie? If anyone out there can explain the difference to me, I'd be eternally grateful.

But for now, we'll go with Avocado Key Lime Tart. I'm thinking this is a tart because I didn't bake it (except for the crust), it's not really a traditional pie crust, and... well, the filling tastes tart.

Those most likely aren't the correct answers, but it's good enough for me.

So, I bet you're thinking this a completely random combination of flavors. I actually thought so too. I first heard of this combo while I was visiting my Fam back east, and my grandmother suggested a  Latin restaurant for launch, Pescados.

I gotta tell you, the food was fabulous. I loved the Voodoo Shrimp so much, I still dream about it.


I'm definitely considering a remake of that one. But, that's a story for another day. For now, I'll stick with dessert. Which was an Avocado Key Lime Tart... or pie. I can't remember.

Obviously, I don't have their recipe (but I wish I did!). Instead, I've spent a bit of time experimenting myself, in an attempt to re-create their fabulous idea.

Success at last!

This recipe has been through several incarnations, but I think I've hit the magic combination now. Let's get started:

Crust ingredients

We're going to start with the crust. The only sugar in this recipe is in the crust, making the tart not just delicious, but pretty healthy too. Bonus!

To begin, you need to crush 1/2 cup of pecans and 16 squares of graham crackers. I'd suggest using a food processor if you have one, but I am not that fortunate.


Please feel free to tell the Hubs about the necessities of a food processor. I'd especially like this one: Cuisinart 14-cup Food Processor or this one Kitchen Aid 13-cup Food Processor.

Until that day comes, I do things the old-fashioned way...

A rolling pin and a zilpoc bag work just as well as a food processor, when combined with a little elbow grease.

Once crushed, pour both in a bowl, and add 3 tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon of melted butter, and an egg white. Mix it all up until well combined (you can also complete these steps in your food processor if you've got one, you lucky son of a gun).

Once combined, spread into a pie pan or tart plate, like above. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool.

Now onto the really important stuff, like the filling.

Filling ingredients

As you can see, the only "sugar" in the filling comes in the form of honey. Needless to say, this isn't a traditional sweet dessert. Yummy and outrageously good? Yes. But not in the least sugary. Think more tart and creamy as you consider the flavor profile. If you're craving brownies or something, this is not the dessert for you.

You've been warned.

To get started, use 2-3 medium (and ripe) avocados. If you don't know when an avocado is ripe, try this handy trick here. Also, a ripe avocado will be soft, not hard. If yours aren't quite ripe yet, you can speed the process along by placing them in a brown paper bag with an apple. The apple releases gases which will aid in ripening.

Slice your avocados in half, and separate the two pieces, like so:

Remove the seed, then scoop the pulp out into a mixing bowl. I like to blend my avocado first with a hand-mixer before adding the other ingredients, but that's not strictly necessary.

To the avocado pulp, add 1/2 cup vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and the zest from 2-3 key limes. (Hint: When zesting your limes, stop once you see the white part of the key lime. This part is not tart, but especially bitter. It will affect the flavor of your pie if too much of the white is zested into it).

Whirl it all around with your hand-mixer until smooth and creamy. It looks a little (ok, a lot) like green baby food when you're done.

Set this mixture aside for now.

On your stovetop, in a small saucepan, warm 1/2 cup coconut milk. Do not boil. As the milk is warming, add 1/3 cup of key lime juice to a separate, large mixing bowl.

Small note here: itty, bitty key limes are a pain in the butt to juice. However, it only took me about 5-10 minutes tops to get enough juice for 1/3 of a cup. If you want, feel free to substitute regular lime juice if you want. It will taste close to the same, but know this: Key limes are MUCH more tart than regular limes. Adjust the amount of honey you add accordingly, and perhaps amp up the juice a bit. Also, be sure to strain your juice of any seeds/pulp before using in the recipe.

Sprinkle 1 packet of unflavored gelatin over the key lime juice, and let rest one minute. To this, add your warm coconut milk and whisk for five minutes.

Yes, I said five minutes. Don't be a wimp, peeps. The top two photos (below) show this process. Your milk/juice/gelatin combo will be frothy when done.

After all the whisking, add the avocado mixture to your gelatin mixture. You can use your hand-mixer again to combine everything together.

This mixture will be a bit runny, but don't worry. It's supposed to look like that. At this time, dip your finger into the mix and taste for tartness. The flavors will develop some while setting; however, if you like it a bit more tangy, add a small amount of extra lime juice. A bit more sweet, add a tiny amount of honey.

I like it just the way it is, hence why I made the recipe this way, yes?

If your crust has cooled, then pour the avocado/key lime goodness into it. Cool uncovered, in the fridge, for several hours. I prefer to make this the day before and let rest overnight, but it's up to you.

It still looks a little like baby food, huh? No worries! After you slice it, top with whip cream and a garnish. The tart will look fabulous and taste the same. For garnish, I suggest raspberries, candied limes, or mint leaves. I didn't have all of those on hand, so I used raspberries and whip cream. The whip cream is a real necessity, as it balances the tart flavor with a little sweetness. You can use the stuff in a can or make your own. Whatever works.

And that, my friends, is Avocado Key Lime Tart! Or pie.

I know this combo seems a bit out there, but I hope you try it out. My feelings won't be hurt if you don't like it (well, maybe a little), but I'll be pleased you tried something out of your comfort zone.

Happy cooking, my friends! As always, the standard recipe is below.

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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The Standard Form:

Avocado Key Lime Tart


For the crust:
½ cup  pecans, crushed
16 squares Graham crackers, crushed
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 egg white

For the filling:
2-3 ripe avocados
½ cup vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt
½ cup honey
½ teaspoon vanilla
Zest of 2-3 key limes
½ cup coconut milk
1/3 cup key lime juice
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
Whipped cream, for serving


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the all of the crust ingredients together. Spread into a pie plate or tart pan. Bake 10-12 minutes, then cool completely. Shut off oven.

Remove avocado pulp to a mixing bowl. Blend until smooth. Add the yogurt, honey, vanilla, and lime zest to the avocado pulp. Combine completely with hand mixer.

Warm coconut milk over low heat in a saucepan on the stove.

Place the key lime juice in a separate bowl. Sprinkle with the unflavored gelatin. Allow to rest one minute, then add the warmed coconut milk. Whisk for five minutes.

To the gelatin mixture, add your avocado mixture. Combine well. Mixture will be slightly runny. Taste for flavor. If desired, add a small amount of key lime juice or honey to taste.

Pour into crust. Chill in the refrigerator, uncovered, for several hours (at least 4). Cover. Can be made in advance and left to chill in fridge overnight.

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