Muskmelon in a Geometric State of Mind


Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Book of Tarts

Book of Tarts

By Maury Rubin

Published 1995

  • About

Muskmelon is like cantaloupe, and it’s great with the lime cream in this tart. As for getting the melon into that “geometric state of mind,” it’s easy. Use an apple corer to create a perfect column of melon, cut triangles from the flesh, scoop out circles. Then arrange the fruit on the tarts in random sculptural form. There is no right or wrong way, only what’s pleasing to your eye.


  • cup granulated sugar
  • Grated zest of 3 limes (see step 1)
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon (see step 1)
  • ½ cup lime juice (about 5 limes)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 6 fully baked tart shells, made with Standard Tart Dough or Cracked Pepper Tart Dough
  • ½ small muskmelon or cantaloupe, seeds removed
  • ½ small honeydew melon


    1. Place the sugar in a medium bowl, and grate the zest of the limes and lemon into it. Rub the zest and sugar together between the palms of your hands.
    2. Combine the lime juice, eggs, egg yolk, butter, and the zested sugar in a medium nonreactive saucepan, and whisk to blend. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. Be sure to whisk all over the bottom of the pan, especially the edges. At the first sign of a boil, remove from the heat and strain through a sieve into a bowl.
    3. With a ladle or a large spoon, fill the tart shells with the lime cream. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until set.
    4. Meanwhile, with a paring knife, melon bailer, apple corer, and any other implement you can think of, cut from the melons an assortment of squares, circles, triangles, and columns about ¾ to 1 inch in size. You will need 6 to 8 pieces for each tart (36 to 48 pieces in all).
    5. Arrange the fruit in a different pattern on each of the tarts: Stand the triangles point up, lean squares against circles—use your imagination. Serve.

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