This creamy key lime parfait recipe is tart sweet and tart with pops of mellow, crunchy goodness. Layered with graham cracker crumbles and topped with a poof of light Swiss meringue, these key lime gems are the perfect summery dessert!
If you’re a serious citrus fan, you will want to check out my key lime pie donuts and deep dish lemon meringue tart also!
For ease of browsing, here are all my individual desserts.
I created this recipe for #SummerDessertWeek! I was sent samples by some of the sponsor companies but as always opinions are 100% mine.
Why Make This Recipe?
Y’all I’m pretty thrilled with this dessert! You really cannot go wrong with this Key West trifecta of flavors:
- key lime
- Graham crackers
And this lime curd? It is the best. It’s enriched with some sour cream and white chocolate, giving it a lovely milky flavor that rounds out but doesn’t cut out the sharp citrus.
The Graham crumbles are wonderfully flavorful, because I start with homemade Graham crackers. The touch of cinnamon and mellow nuttiness of the crackers is the perfect foil for the tart key lime curd.
And last, the key lime flavor carries through in the meringue, because there’s a touch of key lime juice in it!
How To Make Key Lime Parfaits
As with all parfaits, there are a few components to make.
You’ll be making key lime curd, Graham cracker crumbles, and key lime Swiss meringue.
None are too hard to make, and I will share some shortcuts you can take in a bit.
Pastry Definition: like a custard, a curd is an egg-thickened sauce made with citrus juice or other tart fruit juice like passion fruit or raspberry.
What You’ll Need
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make the components:
- key lime juice: provides the main flavor, tartness and liquid for making the curd
- granulated sugar: this recipe contains a lot of sugar. It’s needed to balance the tart juice
- eggs: adds emulsifiers, protein and liquid. I always use large eggs
- egg yolks: adds additional emulsifiers and fats for a smooth mouthfeel
- butter: adds richness
- sour cream: slightly mellows and rounds out the tart citrus juice
- white chocolate: adds additional milky sweetness and lends body once the curd is chilled
These are the ingredients you’ll need to make the Graham cracker crumbles:
These are the same ingredients you’d use to make actual Graham crackers.
The only difference is that rather than forming a cohesive dough and rolling it into sheets, you just cut in the butter and honey until you get a streusel-like consistency.
- Graham flour
- all purpose flour
- brown sugar
- baking soda
- fine sea salt
And for the meringue:
- egg whites
- key lime juice
- fine salt
For the Lime Curd
Curds are actually easy to make. Regardless of what flavor you are making (lemon curd, key lime curd, passion fruit curd, etc), they all follow the same method.
- Cook key lime juice, sugar, eggs, and yolks together until the mixture thickens but doesn’t boil
- Strain into a bowl with the butter, sour cream, and white chocolate
- Whisk until smooth
- Chill and serve
For the Graham Crumble
Think of this as making a streusel, but with Graham cracker ingredients:
- Whisk together the dry ingredients
- Add pieces of butter and the honey
- Blend it together with clean hands
- Spread on a prepared cookie sheet
- Bake until crisp
For the Swiss Meringue
Swiss meringue is a pretty easy meringue to make. It does go more quickly with a stand mixer, but you can also get good results with a hand mixer.
Here’s the easy how-to:
- Place the egg whites, sugar, and key lime juice in the bowl of your stand mixer or a metal bowl
- Bring about an inch of water to a boil in a pot.
- Turn the heat down to a high simmer, and put the bowl on top of the pot, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t dip down into the water.
- Whisk constantly until the whites reach 165F to make sure the whites are cooked.
- Place the bowl on your stand mixer (or use your hand mixer) and whip with the whisk attachment until cool, thick, and billowy.
- Your Swiss meringue is now ready to use.
PRO TIP: You can freeze Swiss meringue right in a piping bag for a week or two. Pull it out an hour or so before you need it so it softens and is pipeable.
How Long Does Key Lime Curd Last?
Generally, these creamy key lime parfaits don’t last long enough to worry about it, but if you want to make the components ahead and then assemble them all at once, the curd will keep in the fridge just fine for 3 or 4 days.
Can I Take Any Shortcuts to Make These Parfaits?
- Instead of making your own Graham crackers, you can start with store-bought Graham crackers, grind them up along with some butter and then bake as crumbles as you would if you were making a crumb crust.
- Instead of topping the parfaits with Swiss meringue, feel free to top them with whipped cream or even whipped topping if you’d like.
I do ask that you make this lime curd as written, though.
Most of the store-bought curds I’ve had taste like Pledge, and that’s not a desirable quality in a dessert.
And if you’ve never had curd, lime or otherwise, with white chocolate and sour cream whisked in, you are really missing out! And that ends today.
If you have questions about this post or recipe, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can leave a comment on the post and I will get back to you within about 24 hours.
If your question is more urgent, please shoot me an email, and I will respond within 4 hours, unless I’m asleep.
A Note About Measurement
NOTE: Most of my recipes are written by weight and not volume, even the liquids.
Even though I try to provide you with volume measurements as well, I encourage you to buy a kitchen scale for ease of measuring, accuracy, and consistency.
Especially when making the Swiss meringue, which is based on the weight of the whites, you really do need a kitchen scale.
This is the scale I use, love, and recommend.
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Alright, enough talk. Let’s make these key lime parfaits, shall we?
For the Key Lime Curd
- 1 cup key lime juice
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 4 egg yolks, (reserve 2 whites for the meringue)
- 3 oz butter
- 3 oz sour cream, (or creme fraiche)
- 3 oz white chocolate
For the Graham Cracker Crumbles
- 1.75 oz whole wheat or Graham flour, (1/4 cup)
- 1.6 oz all purpose flour, (1/4 cup)
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, well, packed
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 2 oz butter, (1/2 stick)
For the Key Lime Swiss Meringue*
- 2 egg whites, (reserved from making the curd)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon key lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Lime Curd
- Place the juice, sugar, eggs, and yolks in a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pan and whisk well to combine.
- Add the butter, sour cream or creme fraiche, and the white chocolate to a medium bowl. Put a fine mesh strainer over the bowl and set aside convenient to the stove.
- Whisk the juice mixture over medium-high heat until it thickens. The juice will get very foamy as you whisk, and you will know it is ready when all the foam goes away and the mixture thickens. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
- Immediately pour the thickened juice mixture through the fine mesh strainer. Press through with a spatula, if necessary.
- Whisk until all the white chocolate and butter has melted and the curd is smooth and completely combined. Chill overnight.
For the Graham Crumbles
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a half sheet pan or other rimmed cookie sheet with Silpat or parchment. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- Cut the butter into 8 pieces and add add it to the bowl. Add the honey.
- Using clean hands, rub in the butter and honey to distribute it evenly. Be thorough. You want the dough to come together in little clumps and have the butter coat all the flour.**
- Dump the crumbled dough onto the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown. The cookie crumbles will crisp as they cool. (Say that 5 times fast). Once cool, break them into small pebbles and pieces of crunchy cookie crumbles and store in an air-tight container for up to a week.
For the Swiss Meringue
- Place all the meringue ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer (metal is best here).
- Put about an inch of water in a pan the mixer bowl will fit into without touching the water. Put this whole shebang on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high.
- Whisk the egg whites constantly. Once the water reaches a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a high simmer and continue whisking until the egg whites reach 165F.** The mixture will thin out as the sugar dissolves into the whites.
- Place the bowl on your stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip until completely cool and you have silky, shiny, sexy meringue that holds medium-stiff peaks that curl over just a bit when you hold the whisk upside down.
- If not making parfaits immediately. Store the meringue in an airtight container in the freezer.
- Remove from freezer about an hour before you want to assemble.
To Assemble and Serve
- Layer the following into serving dishes or glasses. For the curd and the meringue, you can use a spoon or get fancy and use a piping bag. You won't need a pastry tip for the curd, but a star tip is a nice finish for the meringue
- 2 Tablespoons Graham crumbles***1/4 cup key lime curd2 Tablespoon Graham crumbles1/4 cup key lime curdTop with a dollop of Swiss meringue
To make sure the Graham crumbles stay nice and crunchy, assemble no more than an hour or two before serving. The parfaits will hold in the fridge overnight, but the Graham crumbles will soften up.
*If your mixer won't whip up 2 whites for the Meringue, double all the meringue ingredients. You may not use all of it, or you can just pile a lot on each parfait.
**Make sure the temperature gets up to 165-170F to ensure the whites are cooked and safe to eat without any further time in the oven.
***You may not use all of the Graham crumbles. Save them as ice cream toppings or just eat them like wee cookies. Or like cereal!
Nutrition InformationYield 8
Amount Per Serving Calories 575Saturated Fat 13gCholesterol 204mgSodium 294mgCarbohydrates 86gFiber 1gSugar 75gProtein 6g
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Enjoy the key lime parfaits!
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More Summer Dessert Week Recipes
Please visit the whole Tuesday contingent! Lots of good stuff here, friends.
Ice Cream Recipes:
- Watergate Salad Pudding Popsicles from Daily Dish Recipes
Pies of Summer:
- Hot Fudge Mud Pie from Eat Move Make
- Strawberry Banana Brownie Parfaits from Big Bear’s Wife
- Creamy Key Lime Curd Parfaits from Pastry Chef Online (you’re here!)
Disclaimer: These posts and recipes are part of the week-long event, #SummerDessertWeek but all opinions are 100% mine! We would like to thank our amazing sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Adam’s Extract, Red Star Yeast, Susquehanna Glass Co., and Lodge Cast Iron! These wonderful sponsors provided the prize packs for our giveaways and also sent samples and products to the #SummerDessertWeek bloggers to use in their recipes.