Prolific writer, food critic and chef Michael Ruhlman's latest cookbook uniquely centers around a single key ingredient: the egg, or as he so poetically describes it, a “singularity with a thousand ends." Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient contains more than 100 egg-cellent recipes ranging from Aged Eggnog to Eggs in Puttanesca Sauce, and Ruhlman provides easy to understand instructions along with a practiced chef's eye for precision. This bright and citrusy Key Lime Tart with Almond Crust and Meringue Topping looks stunning, and it uses eggs in three different ways.

Key Lime Tart with Almond Crust and Meringue Topping

Makes 1 (9-inch) tart

I was planning to do a yolk-based lemon tart but had recently been in Key West, so I decided to do a lime version. I love this preparation because it uses the egg in three different ways. The yolks enrich and help set the custard, while the white both helps bind the crust and is the basis for the meringue garnish. You can use a standard pie plate if you don’t have a tart mold.


  • 1¼ cups/175 grams almond flour (almond meal)
  • ¼ cup/35 grams all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup/100 grams plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (14-ounce/396-gram) can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters fresh Key lime juice (or Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest

Preheat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C. Position a rack in the center of the oven.

To make the crust, combine the almond flour and all-purpose flour in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, lightly whip 2 of the egg whites with 3 tablespoons of the sugar to dissolve the sugar. Add the egg white mixture and the melted butter to the flour mixture. Stir till it all comes together. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch/23-centimeter tart pan.

Bake the crust till it looks appealingly golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the filling, whisk together all 5 egg yolks, the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture into the cooled tart crust.

Bake until the center is set but still moves a bit when the pan is nudged, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool completely.

Before serving, make an Italian meringue with the remaining 3 egg whites (equal parts egg white and sugar by weight, cooking the sugar to 250˚F/120˚C). Pipe or spread the meringue onto the cooled pie and broil the top to brown it lightly or hit it with a blowtorch for color. Serve.

Recipes reprinted from Egg. Copyright 2014 by Michael Ruhlman. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or printed without permission in writing from the publisher. Reprinted by arrangement with Little, Brown and Company. Photographs by Donna Turner Ruhlman. Read our review of this book.

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