Just Don’t Call Them Key Lime Squares
February 25, 2008
After growing up in Minnesota and traveling only so far as Chicago for college, I didn’t expect that my early undergrad days would involve a language barrier. But barely hours into the orientation backpacking trip, I was informed that I said the words “bag” and “boat” wrong. I can only imagine the hilarity that would’ve ensued had I busted out a “yah, sure” or an innocent “you betcha.”
Many of my other speech idiosyncrasies, according to my new fellow collegians, involved food. Not only did I pronounce several words “wrong” (e.g. bagel), but I also had downright hysterical words for some foods. For instance, the “casserole” is a foreign term in my homeland, where we make hot dishes (which involve at least two cans of cream of mushroom soup per 9×13 inch pan). And then I really had my new friends in stitches when I told them about the great Minnesota treat: bars.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
Not “treats.” Not “squares.” No, sir, we make bars. There are the cereal variety: Rice Krispies Bars; Special K Bars. And those that feature produce: rhubarb bars; pumpkin bars. And, of course, the “fancy” bars: cheesecake bars; pecan pie bars.
So, I’m very happy to introduce this recipe for Key Lime Bars into my repertoire. These will definitely make repeat performances in my rotation of baked goods. They’ve got all the best traits of key lime pie—a nearly-crumbly graham cracker crust cradling a velvety, cool, tart custard. But they’ve got the rustic, bite-sized appeal of a bar. It’s a good thing Ms. Stewart called them by their correct name, because I might have been a little conflicted about making key lime squares.
Key Lime Bars
Martha Stewart Living
1 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice , (about 23 Key limes total)
1 cup sweetened condensed milk, (14 ounces)
2 Key limes, thinly sliced into half-moons
Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.(Leave oven on.)
Make filling: Put egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise speed to high; mix until thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add lime juice; mix until just combined.
Spread filling evenly over crust using a spatula. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until filling is just set, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).
Cut into 2-by-2-inch bars. Garnish bars with whipped cream and a slice of lime.