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Sunday, April 12, 2009

What To Bring for Dessert: Key Lime Squares


Last week, my younger brother asked me to make lemons squares for our family's Easter dinner. It is not everyday this man asks me for something, so I was happy to oblige. Truth be told, I have some residual guilt issues from when we were kids. He is six years younger than me, which is a lifetime when you're under the age of fifteen. Of course, like any little brother, we thought of him as a bit of a pest and a baby. He was always several steps behind following my sister and I around on his bike. Of course, my parents expected that we "watch" him and my dad threatened that we better be nice to our brother because one day he would take care of us. Ha! As if. Of course, we highly doubted that the little ankle biter could one day be in a position to help us outside of the times we conscripted him for spa mud mask nights and to do our household chores.

These days, my brother and I get along quite well. There are no more mud masks but he still does do the occasion household chore. (He shovelled the snow off our driveway during the winter when we were out of town. Yeah, he's a pretty good brother.)

I came across a bag of key limes and decided to modify the recipe a little. Key limes are tiny, tart limes made famous by that fluffy, cloud-like pie of the same name. Key limes are not the easiest to juice especially if you have large, clumsy hands, but a reamer with a pointed end and some patience will help. Of course, my intentions were good but as I juiced lime after tiny lime, I cursed my brother underneath my breath. It took about half an hour to juice enough limes for these squares, but based on the rave reviews I had last night, they were worth it. These key lime bars are smooth, tangy, sweet and crumbly. A perfect ending to a great meal.

Key Lime Squares

Crust:
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/4c icing sugar
1 tsp lime zest

Filling:
1/2c + 2 tbsp key lime juice
1 can condensed milk
2 egg yolks

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 8" square baking pan. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan allowing for a two inch over hang on both sides. (This will facilitate removing the squares from the pan for serving later.)
2. Mix the cookie crumbs, icing sugar, lime zest & melted butter. Mix well and pour mixture (bit by bit) into the prepared pan. Press down firmly and evenly including about half an inch to an inch on the sides. (I have found that I don't use all the crumbs and I prefer less crust to more.)
3. Bake for approximately fifteen minutes until golden. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for at least half an hour or entirely cool.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the filling, whisk the egg yolks and condensed milk together until fully incorporated. Add key lime juice and mix well.
5. Carefully pour mixture onto cooled crust, smooth surface with an offset spatula and bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set.
6. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. When completely cool, refrigerate until ready to serve.
7. To serve, lift both side of parchment and carefully pull the dessert away from the baking dish. Set on a sturdy cutting board and cut into squares and serve.

14 comments:

Christina Kim said...

What a lovely modification! Key limes have such a lovely flavor, I bet these taste so good!!!!

Chris said...

Am so gonna make this when the weather warms up. Did u try zapping the limes for 20sec in the microwave before juicing? May help.
On your recommendation, scoped out Sanko..what a fun store and so happy to find sushi grade fish and sea urchisn(umi??). Any yes, microplane @ T. Phong is a bit cheaper. Also went for dinner at "New Sky" across the road...my god, great food and great prices, plus free soup and dessert!

Dimah said...

That looks amazing! thank you so much for the recipe.

Hungry Gal said...

@ Christina
Thanks! They tasted mouth-puckering amazing.
@ Chris
Glad you made your way to Sanko. I love that place. I could spend hours there. Tap Phong is great but I think Sanko has great Japanese ceramics and pottery - if you're into that sort of thing... If you really want good sushi - you should check out Zen Sushi (www.zenjapaneserestaurant.com) on the other side of town... authentic and simply amazing. The udon noodle soup has the best umami flavour I have ever had. (BTW Sea urchin = uni and I love that, too)

@ Dimah
Thanks for dropping by. I love your blog BTW - with your delicious, mouth-watering treats.

Pearl said...

hi there! i found your blog through foodgawker... couldn't resist once i saw that photo of the key lime squares! my goodness - what a lucky brother :)

Nicole Perry said...

My family and I are Key West Conchs through and through and I'm so happy to see that someone understands that when something has "Key Lime" in the title they should actually have key limes in them.

These look amazing and I'm sure they taste amazing. Am definitely trying them soon!

Hungry Gal said...

@ Pearl
thanks for dropping by and saying hi.

@ Nicole
When I was a wee one, I didn't know that there were "key limes" were different from other limes. But these little orbs are so distinctive that once you try them, there is no mistaking it for a regular lime. You are forever changed :)

Linda MY said...

Perfect timing! I went grocery shopping right after I read your blog and there in the produce aisle where bags of key limes! The recipe looks easy enough to try with kids. Sofia likes lemons so she should like key limes or "baby green lemons" as she's been calling them.

Hungry Gal said...

@ Linda

The recipe is really easy. The only thing is I would reduce the key lime juice because these were really tangy... maybe for a child's palate - I would reduce the amount of lime juice by at least two tablespoons... Add a little, taste, and add more as necessary.

Kevin said...

A garlic press works great for juicing key limes.

Hungry Gal said...

@ Kevin

Thanks for stopping by.
Funny you should mention that... I was thinking a garlic press would be do the job... if only I had one. :)

Justin Schwartz said...

yum. you "came across a bag of key limes"! I can never find those in my local supermarket.

Pearl said...

thanks for visiting my blog :) quick question: if you don't have a blender.. what appliance do you use to make nut butter? i tried using my mini food processor and it froze up.

Hungry Gal said...

@ Justin

What can I say? I kept my eyes open and they were just there.

@ Pearl

I have 2 food processors - a mini one for light jobs and a heavy duty 12-cup one. It makes swift work of nuts.

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