Kaffir Lime Tartlets

Since we love Thai food and many recipes require kaffir lime leaves and kaffir lime zest, I decided to put 2 kaffir lime trees in my garden. They are in pots, so I can move them inside in winter. Kaffir limes are more fragrant than regular limes, so I thought it would be nice to make a Key Lime Pie with kaffir limes from my own trees.

Instead of making one large pie I made individual tartlets, as that is nicer for serving. Because the tartlet shapes I own are only 2 cm (3/4 inch) high, there is relatively less custard than in a Key Lime Pie. If you prefer more custard, use shapes that are 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) high, and double the amount of custard.


For 4 tartlets

For the crust

125 grams (5/6 cup) pastry flour

62 grams (4 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter

25 grams (2 Tbsp) sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 Tbsp cold water

1 egg white

For the custard (this is for shapes of 2 cm high, double the amount for deeper shapes)

45 grams (3 1/2 Tbsp) sugar

1 egg

45 grams (4 1/2 Tbsp) heavy cream

37 grams (2 1/2 Tbsp) freshly squeezed kaffir lime juice (juices from about 1 lime)

grated zest of 1 kaffir lime

pinch of salt

To serve

kaffir lime leaf chiffonade

icing sugar


Combine 85 grams of the pastry flour with 25 grams sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of the food processor, and process until mixed.

Add 62 grams cold butter in cubes.


…until the dough has come together.

Sprinkle the remaining 40 grams of pastry flour on top.

Pulse a few times, until you get small clumps of dough that are covered with flour.

Transfer this to a bowl.

Sprinkle 1 1/2 Tbsp cold water on top, and fold in the water with a spoon or spatula until the dough just comes together. Mix as little as possible.

This technique of making the dough will make it more flaky.

Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.

Butter the tartlet shapes.

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.

After the dough has rested in the refrigerator, take it out and divide it into 4 equal parts.

Roll out each piece of pastry into a circle of 15 cm (6″) on a floured work surface. Roll out the pastry to 20 cm (8″) if you are using deeper shapes.

Place the circle of pastry in the buttered shape, and push with your fingers to line the shape smoothly with the pastry.

Use a rolling pin to remove the excess pastry.

Repeat with the other shapes. Prick the pastry a few times with a fork.

Line each tartlet with oven paper and pie weights.

Bake for 15 minutes at 190C/375F.

Brush with egg white, and bake for another 5 minutes at 190C/375F.

In the meantime, combine an egg with 45 grams of sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl.

Whisk until the mixture becomes pale and creamy.

Add the grated zest of a kaffir lime, 37 grams kaffir lime juice, and 45 grams heavy cream.

Stir to mix.

Pour this mixture into the tartlet shells.

Lower the oven temperature to 180C/350F, and bake until the filling has set, about 30 minutes.

Allow the tartlets to cool before you remove the shapes.

Take them out of the shapes, and sprinkle with icing sugar.

To make kaffir lime leaf chiffonade, remove the central rib and slice the leaf very thinly. Garnish the kaffir lime tartlet with the chiffonade.

Wine pairing

This is great with Moscato d’Asti or with a sweet Riesling Auslese from Mosel in Germany.


Spaghetti with mackerel and breadcrumbs is a typical dish from the South of Italy, where it is more often prepared with fresh anchovies.


4 thoughts on “Kaffir Lime Tartlets

  1. Hi Stefan, nice recipe, but on the side; what a revelation! I’m a huge fan of kafir. It was one of my greatest culinary discoveries. It’s so great on fish, saté sauce and even great with chocolate mousse. Unfortunately is very rarely for sale. Even wholesalers don’t have it always in stock. What a great idea to buy a little tree! So they grow/survive easy? Where did you you buy it?


  2. I’ve been growing these limes in pots for several years now for their leaves, and occasionally for zesting with the fruit, but thought the juice too bitter to use. Combining it for a custard with sugar and cream sounds like a great way to tame the bitterness. I’ll have to try this!

    Side note: We have been trying to use the term “Thai Lime” or “Makrut” in place of “Kaffir Lime” because that term is very offensive to many, especially in South Africa: https://modernfarmer.com/2014/07/getting-rid-k-word/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent, old friend. Believe it or not, I own the first “legal” Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystrix) in Texas. Back in the early 2000s I owned a citrus farm and the Kaffir Lime was just becoming popular. It was hell getting the bud wood to graft it. That tree still lives with me in Houston, and I give away fruit regularly so that people can plant the seeds for their own source.

    Liked by 1 person

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