The powerful pucker of Key Lime Pie Squares comes from the juice from the tiny, tart limes. Look for fresh key limes or commercial juice at the grocery store.
For nearly 20 years, I lived in a house with a key lime tree. Every year, we had an overflowing bounty of the tiny tart limes. And every year, my husband would get out the juicer to extract the puckery elixir. He hardly needed the juicer, though. The skin is so thin on a ripe key lime that a firm squeeze is about all you need.
When we downsized into a smaller place, I lamented losing that key lime tree (and the five mangoes.) We always had key lime juice in the freezer which I used for pies, mostly. We also froze the juice in ice cube trays and used them in drinks
Even without the tree, and all that juice in the fridge, I still get a hankering for a key lime confection now and then. When I spied a bag of key limes at the store recently, I trotted out the recipe for Key Lime Pie Squares from Sally’s Baking Addiction. It’s similar to lemon bars but much more tart. You could make them with Persian limes but they won’t have the same shazam. Look for commercial key lime juice in the grocery store near lemon and lime juice.
The crust can be changed up for a different taste. Rather than graham crackers, use vanilla wafers, gingersnaps or even chocolate cookies. I wouldn’t mess with the filling or you might get the delicate curd out of balance. This could prevent it from setting up
These babies are not happy campers if left out of the refrigerator for too long. The filling is so delicate that it breaks down quickly. I wouldn’t take these to a potluck, but rather serve them to my own guests after a lovely dinner. Place on a small plate with some extra lime zest and a dollop of whipped cream.
Key Lime Pie Squares
- 2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
- 4 tablespoons butter melted
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 4 large egg yolk
- 1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (not fat free)
- 1/2 cup key lime juice
- 2 teaspoons lime zest about 1 lime
- Powdered sugar optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9- by 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on the sides, and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Make the crust: Pulverize the graham crackers into a fine crumb with a food processor. (Or buy a box of graham cracker crumbs.) Pour into a medium sized bowl and mix with the melted butter. Press firmly and evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes as you make the filling.
- Make the filling: In a large bowl using a mixer, beat the cream cheese on high speed until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks, scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest until combined. Pour into the warm crust.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the edges of the bars begin to brown. Allow the bars to cool at room temperature in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, place in the refrigerator to chill completely, at least 2 hours.
- Once chilled, lift the bars out of the pan using the aluminum foil overhang. Cut into 16 squares. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Store squares in the refrigerator (covered) for up to 1 week.