Café Key Lime Crunch Tart

With a crunchy coconut-almond shortbread crust and a creamy, light, key lime filling, this easy, make-ahead Key Lime Crunch Tart is ALWAYS a hit!

Do you remember the children’s game called “telephone”? I clearly recall the first time I ever played it, at a young friends birthday party. We all sat in a circle and the birthday girl’s parent whispered a “secret” phrase to one of the children. That child whispered the words to the participant beside him or her and it was passed around the circle. The last child to hear the “secret” had to say it aloud to the group. The final phrase was nothing like the original. Did you ever think about the fact that lots of recipes go through the “telephone” game? This delicious Key Lime Crunch Tart is the perfect example!

Horizontal photo of a Key Lime Crunch Tart on a glass cake pedestal with serving plates and supplies below.

I saw a recipe for Lemon Crunch Bars over at The View from Great Island, one of my favorite blogs. (If you’re not familiar with this beautiful blog, be sure to check it out. I never fail to be amazed at Sue’s creativity, gorgeous photography and delicious recipes.) The light lemony dessert looked so good, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It wasn’t more than a few days before I had to try it out.

If you’ve been following The Café for any length of time, you might be guessing that I “personalized” the dessert a bit. Yup, you’re right!

Closeup photo of a slice of Key Lime Crunch Tart on a white serving plate.

I decided to double the filling and since we’re huge fans of Key-lime desserts, I went that route instead of lemon. The crust is a little different too, with crushed shortbread cookies, almonds and coconut; versus the gingersnaps called for in the original recipe.


Closeup photo of the side of a Key Lime Crunch Tart on a glass cake plate.

I’ve been serving this wonderful dessert to everyone who’s come my way for the past month, each time tweaking it just a bit. It’s perfect now and ready for you. I love that it can be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge, or a week in advance and plopped in the freezer! If frozen, all you need to do is transfer it to the refrigerator a few hours before serving.

It’s fabulous on it’s own, or with a dollop of whipped cream and a few fresh berries for a pretty garnish. I make it in a 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, but you could also make it in a square pan (like Sue does) or a springform pan. It’s one of those desserts that seems to go with just about any kind of meal; traditional, international, casual, fancy…

Sue adapted her recipe from a recipe from The Guardian. The Guardian got the recipe from Tim Siadatan, the chef at Trullo, a British Italian restaurant in North London. Siadatan got the recipe from his mom. I love what he said about the original recipe, “I asked my siblings for their favourite dishes and everyone said the lemon crunch pie. I haven’t met a human being yet who doesn’t dig it.” Now that description, in addition to Sue’s pictures and blurb, was what took me over the top, I had to try it (to the delight of my numerous taste-testers).

Closeup photo of the top of a Key Lime Crunch Tart decorated with lime zest.

Okay, so you know what I’m wondering, right? What did his mom’s Lemon Crunch Pie look like and where in the world (literally) did she get the recipe and who originally came up with the recipe? Hey, maybe it started out as Key Lime and now we’ve come full-circle! See what I mean? Just like the telephone game…

P.S. Okay, true confessions here. I don’t use Key limes in this recipe (or in my Key lime pie either). I use regular old grocery store limes. I just think there’s something more enticing and exciting about the name Key Lime Crunch Tart versus Lime Crunch Tart, but you can call it whatever you want. Everyone who tastes it will be sure to call it delicious!

Café Tips for making this Key Lime Crunch Tart…

  • Use other good quality shortbread cookies if you can’t find Lorna Dunes.
  • I use one of these zesters. They’re inexpensive and easy to use.
  • You can also use a 9-inch square pan (bars will be a bit deeper) or a 10-inch springform pan.
  • If you can find Key limes, they are wonderful, but they’re not always readily available. Regular fresh lime juice will work just fine.
Key Lime Crunch Tart - with a crunchy coconut-almond shortbread crust and a creamy, light key lime filling, this easy, make-ahead tart is ALWAYS a hit!


Key Lime Crunch Tart

Key Lime Crunch Tart - with a crunch coconut-almond shortbread crust and a creamy key lime filling this easy make-ahead tart is ALWAYS a hit!

5 from 5 reviews

With a crunchy coconut-almond shortbread crust and a creamy, light key lime filling, this easy, make-ahead tart is ALWAYS a hit!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Category: Dessert


  • 5 ounces Lorna Dune Shortbread Cookies*
  • 1 cup coconut, very lightly packed
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (I use raw, sliced almonds)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • finely grated zest from 3 medium size limes, reserve about 1 teaspoon for garnishing top of tart.**


  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
  2. Combine Lorna Dune cookies, sliced almonds, coconut and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture is coarsely chopped. Add butter and pulse a few more times to combine.
  3. Dump cookie mixture into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom**. Pat mixture up sides of pan forming a fairly thick edge. Pat remaining crumbs across bottom of pan.
  4. Place pan in oven and bake crust for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.
  5. Whip the cream until soft peaks form when you lift the beater. Fold in the condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest (save a teaspoon for the top). Spread the filling into the pan evenly, swirling the top a bit. Sprinkle with reserved lime zest and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, a thin half slice of lime and a sprig of mint, if desired.
  6. If you want to make this farther in advance (a week or two), just freeze it instead of refrigerating. Transfer from freezer to refridg a few hours before serving. Serves 8-10




With a crunchy coconut-almond shortbread crust and a creamy, light, key lime filling, this easy, make-ahead dessert is ALWAYS a hit!

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