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Thai-Inspired Mini Kaffir Lime Tarts

Thai-Inspired Kaffir Lime Tart

Did I ever tell you how excited I was to find my kaffir lime tree a few years ago?

I wasn’t actually looking for it — it just happened to be at my local nursery at the same time I was.  Funny how that works — with kaffir lime trees and relationships too — they have a way of finding you when you’re least expecting them :)  Needless to say, when I spotted this kaffir lime tree, I was overcome with happiness, thinking about all of the many ways I could use its leaves!  Tom yum goong, tom kha gai, and all sorts of Thai curries were now suddenly possible by simply walking outside to my little balcony garden!

Kaffir Limes | Thai-Inspired Kaffir Lime Tart

Back then, I never once thought that my kaffir lime tree might actually produce limes.  I was more than happy just using it for its leaves!  But this year, I was surprised once again when buds slowly emerged, flowers grew into little baby limes, and before I knew it, I had gorgeous kaffir limes hanging heavily from the delicate branches of my dwarf tree!

I have all kinds of plans of how to use these kaffir limes, but first on my list were these Thai-inspired mini kaffir lime tarts.

Kaffir Lime Zest

Why kaffir lime tarts?  Well, because who doesn’t love lime tarts?  And, honestly, because they seemed a little more approachable to me than making my own curry paste (which is definitely still on the list, just saved for a day with a little more time…)

Kaffir Lime | Kaffir Lime Tarts

One touch of the kaffir lime and you’ll realize how incredibly potent it is.   The zest, especially, emanates with its wonderfully strong limey fragrance.  I decided to use the zest of one of these small limes in making my mini tarts and it was just the right amount to get the true flavor and scent of the kaffir lime.

I was really happy with how these little mini tarts turned out…  Giddy, really, if you consider that I wasn’t even looking for a kaffir lime tree when I found it a few years ago, much less have it produce limes for me!  So if you happen to run into a kaffir lime tree, I’d recommend taking it home with you.  You might just find it to be full of wonderful surprises, season after season!

Kaffir Lime Tart

Kaffir Lime Tart

Thai-Inspired Mini Kaffir Lime Tarts

Makes 18 Mini Tarts

Thai-Inspired Mini Kaffir Lime Tarts


    Kaffir Lime Curd Ingredients:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • Zest of 1 kaffir lime
  • Pastry Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


    To Make Kaffir Lime Curd:
  1. Combine sugar and kaffir lime zest in a food processor. Pulse until the zest is finely minced and completely incorporated into the sugar.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar + zest mixture.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated.
  4. Add the lime juice and water.
  5. Pour the whole mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it has thickened (approximately 10 minutes).
  6. Save in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  7. To Make Mini Pastry Crusts:
  8. Cream the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy.
  9. Add the beaten egg and mix until just incorporated.
  10. Add the flour and salt and mix until a soft dough is formed.
  11. Form the dough into a ball and place in saran wrap in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  12. Once chilled, press the dough into your mini tart pans.
  13. Use a fork to prick the bottom of each crust and place into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove and let the mini tarts cool completely.
  14. To Assemble Mini Tarts:
  15. Fill the mini tart pastry shells with the cooled kaffir lime curd.
  16. Sprinkle with additional kaffir lime zest, as desired. Enjoy!

Lime Curd recipe adapted from Ina Garten's Lime Curd

Pastry Crust recipe adapted from Joy of Baking Fruit Tart

21 comments… add one
  • Kate McDougall April 2, 2018, 11:30 am

    Hi there! I’m so glad to have found a use for the fruit off my mature Kaffir Lime Tree! The internet is rather vague on what they can be used for :).

    Just a quick question, is there a way to tell when the fruit is ready to harvest or just wait till they drop off the tree?


    • Rachel April 2, 2018, 4:48 pm

      Hi Kate! I usually pick them when they’re about the size of a large fig or small plum and are slightly squeezable, indicating there’s a little juice inside. Best of luck!

  • Mairead September 5, 2017, 11:00 am

    Hi Rachel. I just found your blog when searching for a dessert to serve at a Thai themed dinner party. Can I use regular limes rather than Kaffir limes, or will I need to change quantities? I can buy dried kaffir lime leaves here in Ireland, but I have never seen the actual Kaffir limes for sale.

    • Rachel September 7, 2017, 3:07 am

      Hi there! I haven’t tried making these tarts with regular lime zest, so I can’t be certain, but I’d imagine the quantities should be roughly equivalent. If you try it out, I’d love to know what you find :)

  • Drew Murray May 11, 2017, 9:39 am

    Hi Rachel
    I found your website while looking for a kanom krok recipe, the market style didn’t appeal for such an old food, your recipe was just the thing, the first lot turned out pretty good, now all I have to do is practice. Back to your kaffir limes; I crystallized them, sliced the limes really thinly, seeds and all then gently poached them in a simple sugar syrup (cup off water and a cup of sugar) until the pith went translucent and then put them on a rack till they dried. Intense flavour but works well mixed with other candied citrus and in pickles.
    Comboyne Farm, NSW Australia

  • Sally February 16, 2016, 3:24 am

    Hi Rachel
    Hope I don’t sound dumb here,do you have a site I can join? as I have been unable to find one one your page.
    By that way, we love Thai Food so finding your site is inspiring

    • Rachel February 17, 2016, 3:46 pm

      Hi Sally, we’re actually updating the site right now, so it’ll be easier to subscribe for email updates, and to follow along on social media. Stay tuned!

  • MissySlim November 9, 2015, 1:53 am

    I missed the part about not using the Kaffir limes for the juice – so yup, I got some intense flavor, but the results are yummy if you love lime in your lime with some more lime!

  • rossinhawaii June 30, 2014, 3:24 am

    My son brought home Kaffir lime “leftovers” from his culinary class. We harvested all the seeds and threw them into a pot of soil. Sometime later we ended up with 24 shoots. Careful transplanting gave us (now) 22 seedlings. As they grow we are planning to pull various things out of the garden to make room for them. We’ll have both leaves and plants available for sale soon-but more importantly leaves and rind for cooking!

    • Matt Trask September 26, 2017, 12:21 pm

      The problem with growing citrus from seeds is that they take about 18 years to reach sexual maturity and capable of reproducing (making fruit). Most commercially grown citrus is grafted, using 2-year old root stock and cuttings from mature trees. Thy will then try to fruit the next year but don’t let them – they are not strong enough yet. The year after is when you start getting fruit.

  • kathleen winters September 29, 2013, 11:39 pm

    was just wondering in this recipe when you say 1/4 lime juice is that the kaffir lime juice or just a normal lime?
    kaf : )

    • Rachel September 29, 2013, 11:59 pm

      Hi Kaf, I used normal lime juice since kaffir lime juice can be quite potent (soapy/bitter) in large amounts. Best, Rachel

  • Chammy September 9, 2013, 2:12 pm

    Please could you advise were the Gardener Centre was were you purchased your Kaffir Lime Tree
    Many thanks

  • Alyssa February 18, 2013, 2:26 pm

    I’m just stumbled across your blog looking for a yellow curry recipe. I absolutely LOVE Thai food, and we just moved to an area that lacks Thai restaurants, so I am going to embark on making my favorite recipes myself. Love your blog, and I’m sure I’ll be visiting often (after the yellow curry, I need to make Tom Yum Soup – my absolute favorite).

  • Ishita February 12, 2013, 11:51 pm

    Hi Rachel,
    I found your blog from foodgawker and I’ve already bookmarked several recipes. I use these lime leaves a lot in my recipes too. I only wish I had a dwarf kaffir lime tree like you. Till I can find one, frozen leaves will have to do.
    Keep the scrumptous recipes coming!!!

    Ishita from saffrontales.com :)

  • Eileen February 12, 2013, 7:22 pm

    Okay, we have both a meyer lemon and an orange tree–and I am STILL jealous of your lime tree! Maybe I should start an orangery or something. :) These tarts look amazing!

  • Debs @ The Spanish Wok February 12, 2013, 5:27 pm

    My hubby bought me a Kaffir lime tree for christmas. A very rare thing to be able to purchase in Spain! so you can only imagine my excitment.

    My dishes have been transformed with the use of fresh leaves. Never will I buy dried ones again!

    Whilst I was happy to wait for it to fruit eventually, I’m now impatient as I love your tarts and want to make some too. Looks like this is one recipe for the to do list when my tree eventually provides fruit to. Thanks for sharing.

    • Rachel February 13, 2013, 3:29 am

      Oh, what a wonderful hubby you have, Debs! Enjoy your new tree!

  • May Spackman February 12, 2013, 6:28 am

    Oh.. They look so nice! and WOW.. you have kaffir lime tree!
    How amazing is that? :)

    Enjoy reading your blog as usual

    • Rachel February 12, 2013, 4:06 pm

      Thanks so much, May!

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