BY MONICA DIX . FLORIDA . UNITED STATES
For me, the tart outshines dozens of happy ordinary ways to catch the flavors of summer. (Dear marmalades, freezer jams, syrups, sorbets, smoothies, ice creams, semifreddos, fools, and pavlovas, please don’t be hurt. You’re all so good—at one thing, maybe two.)
When it comes to Florida’s best known dessert, Key Lime Pie, all that puckery lime and sugar piled so high just makes me tired. Too dense and intense.
Here is how I found balance:
Use a bright and light lime filling. Layer it into a crisp tart shell. Toss fruit in syrup, fill the tart, and drizzle more syrup. Chill, slice, eat.
Here are my favorite tweaks: Make the filling the day before. I love Dorie Greenspan’s version of Lime Cream. (I am so glad she wrote ‘be patient’ into the recipe in Baking from My Home to Yours.) I use this formula doubled to make the crispest and easiest-to-handle pastry dough I have found (which pleases everyone including my gluten-free husband). I buy the fruit (one, two, or three kinds) the same day, and keep the balance of sweet and tart in mind as I choose. This time I used blackberries, blueberries, and diced mango. I toss the fruit in a simple syrup infused with lavender, but orange flower water, lime zest, or vanilla are always nearby if I don’t have lavender. To make enough syrup for two tarts, a few cups of tea, and my breakfast yogurt: one cup sugar, half cup water, and a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers.