Certainly one thing that can be said of Klaus Nomi—as a little gay German dude born during World War II who had a passion for opera and a voice to match—is that he marched to the beat of his own drum. On paper, he doesn’t particularly sound like anyone who would become the object of admiration by a huge cult following—long after his death—but it happened. He landed in New York City in the 1970s, and that was the perfect place for his experimental new wave opera and eccentric form of exhibitionism to flourish.
In addition to palling around with David Bowie and wowing downtown audiences with his epicene good nature, his incredible singing performances, and his peculiar, almost plastic persona, Nomi was a first-rate pastry chef—that was his day job. In an appearance on Glenn O’Brien and Chris Stein’s legendary TV Party cable access show, he once demonstrated how to make his “sour-sweet lemon tarts.”
The Fashion Beyond Fashion blog reproduced Nomi’s recipe for a lime tart, which you can surely put to use as a way of delighting your holiday guests:
Step 1. The crust. It needs a 9-inch pie pan to make the tart in. It needs 1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs, 1/3rd cup brown sugar, and 1/4 melted butter to make crust. Mix the ingredients together and shape the crust into the pie pan. (Klaus Nomi mentions that it may not seem like the crust will hold together, but if it packs it tightly enough and when it sits overnight, it should hold).The artist also cautions about making the crust too sweet, you may not need to use as much brown sugar.
Step 2. The filling. it needs 4 eggs, 1 can sweetened condensed milk (Klaus used Borden’s condensed milk), and 1/2 cup lime juice. First it has to be separated the eggs; placing yolks in one bowl and whites in the other one. Klaus uses the egg shell to actually separate the whites from the yolk by putting the yolk on one side of the cracked shell and letting the whites drip into a separate bowl. Take the bowl with the egg yolks and add the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice. Mix together. Then, in the bowl with the egg whites, it has to whip them until the whites are very, very stiff. Once the whites are stiff it dramatically increases in volume, it slowly folds the whites into the other bowl. Once mixed together, place the filling into the crust.
Step 3. It takes lime peel and cut it into thin strips. It place the lime peel on top of the pie. This has two purposes; a beautiful presentation but also the flavor. The zest really adds a punch to the taste and is meant to be eaten. Then it places the tart into the refrigerator for at least several hours, but overnight is recommended in order to firm the tart, make easier the cut and better consistency.
In this montage scored to Nomi’s version of “You Don’t Own Me,” you can see him baking the recipe starting at the 0:52 mark:
Here’s Nomi singing on TV Party: