Very few scents evoke such vivid memories that instantly transport you to where you long to be. From the first hint of toasted coconut wafting through the air and I am on the beach…lungs devouring the salty air and the water slowly inching closer to feet that find a bit of solace buried into the cool, gleaming, glittery sand. Today finds my heart on a Florida beach and my hands baking a bit of summer, this perfectly bright and seasonally summer Mango Key Lime Pie with a Speculoos Coconut Cookie Crust.
As you may have guessed, I relish the ocean and I’m a Florida girl at heart. I was born a few miles from the Mediterranean Sea, raised in central Florida (shout out to Polk County!), and have lived as far north as Tallahassee and as down south as West Palm Beach. The first concert I ever attended was Jimmy Buffet and my daughter’s first steps were on a boat in the middle of the ocean. Even decades later, our family finds its way to the shore each summer to revel in blissful waves and soothing sands that are a welcome respite from life’s demands the remainder of the year. So as the plethora of summer’s seasonal, juicy and bright fruits begin to dwindle, I struggle to hold to on those last bits of sunshine and this recipe is my way of doing just that. So this tart is my version of keeping the sunshine in my kitchen…in its bright combination of fresh squeezed, mouth puckering Key lime, with luscious and succulent mango. While a traditional Key lime pie is made with a graham cracker crust, I prefer the spice tinged buttery caramel deliciousness of a speculoos cookie and fragrant toasted coconut crust. Trust me, one taste of this crust and you will want to use it on every cookie crust pie you make! It’s seriously addictive.
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (90 grams) shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
1 ½ cups (8.8 ounces/250 grams/32 cookies) speculoos cookies, homemade or Biscoff brand
1 cup (165 grams) mango, chopped
1 teaspoon key lime zest, preferably organic
½ cup (118 milliliters/4 ounces) key lime juice, preferably organic
1 can (300 milliliters/14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks, preferably organic
1 medium mango, ripe but firm and peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 lime, squeezed over sliced mangoes to preserve freshness
1 cup seasonal berries
1 Tablespoon toasted coconut
How to use them:
This recipe can be made in an 8 inch or 9 inch tart pan or pie pan. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter or spray your tart pan liberally with oil and set aside.
Melt the butter in the microwave until just melted and set aside. You want to toast the coconut next. You can skip this step if you like, however, toasting the coconut draws out it’s distinct flavor and fragrance, so I highly recommend it. It takes very little effort and yields great rewards. Spread the coconut evenly on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until lightly brown approximately 4-6 minutes. You have to monitor the coconut closely, and stir it every 1-2 minutes as it toasts very quickly and you will go from perfectly toasted fragrant coconut to a scorched mess in a matter of seconds. Once toasted, reserve 2 tablespoons for decorating your tart.
Add your speculoos cookies and toasted coconut to a food processor and process for 1 minute until fine crumbs are formed. Pour in the melted butter evenly over this mixture and process for another 30 seconds. Pour the crumb mixture into the tart pan and press evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Using a tamper or flat bottom glass will help you press the crumbs evenly and create a perfect edge. I always set a tart pan onto a cookie sheet to bake as it’s easier to transport without accidentally pushing through the removable bottom (can you tell that this was a lesson learned moment?!?)
Bake for 6 minutes until just set and slightly browned. Allow the tart shell to cool on a cooling rack. In the meantime, make you filling by simply blending the mango, lime zest and lime juice in a blender until completely smooth. Add the condensed milk and egg yolks and blend for a few seconds until just smooth. Do not over blend.
Pour the filling into the tart pan, smooth the top evenly with a small offset spatula. Bake for 25 minutes for an 8 inch tart pan and 20 minutes for a 9 inch part pan. The filling will still appear to jiggle a bit, but don’t be concerned as that will set when the tart cools and is chilled. Allow the tart to cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate for at least 12 hours or overnight.
I love decorating this tart with a ripe, juicy, fresh mango that I slice thinly and then gently fan out around the tart.
A huge thank you to reader Maria for the suggestion of tossing the fresh mangoes in an acid to preserve the freshness and keep them from browning. So, please listen to Maria’s fantastic suggestion, and if you’re planning on decorating your tart as I have here, then squeeze some lime juice over the mangoes before placing on the tart. I added some organic farmer’s market seasonal blackberries and sprinkled some toasted coconut on top to finish. Slice and serve immediately. This is a perfect make ahead dessert that will instantly transport you to the shore in the first bite.