Tart, tangy, zesty…these are all words I think should be associated with good key lime pie. It should border on sour and make your lips pucker just a little. However, I find that many key lime pies ordered in restaurants and some recipes are so sweet that they make your teeth curl from the sugar instead of the acidity. Nathan is a hater and will tell you that I like really sour food but what does he know, anyway? The following recipe for key lime bars have ( in my humble opinion) just the right balance of sweet and sour and because of the bar form they take less time to chill than the traditional key lime pie. They taste complicated but are deceptively quick and easy…this recipe is a definite keeper!
And now I will leave you with a random slice of key lime pie history courtesy of Wikipedia: In 1965, Florida State Representative Bernie Papy, Jr., introduced legislation calling for a $100 fine to be levied against anyone advertising key lime pie that is not made with key limes. The bill did not pass.
Seriously, this guy Bernie Papy, Jr. had his priorities straight (or WAY too much time on his hands.)
Key Lime Bars:
1 cup plus 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
¾ cup (or even a little more!) key lime juice (I always use Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
1/4 cup heavy cream
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 key 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 4 hours (or overnight).
Cut into 2-by-2-inch bars. Put cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Garnish bars with whipped cream.