Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Key Lime Bars

I know this is not a recipe for fall, but my lime juice was about to expire, so I thought I would make use of the rest of it.  There are many different brands when it comes to lime juice, but the main thing is the quality of the key lime juice.

Once a restaurant had tried to give their key lime pie a stronger flavor by adding more lime juice.Due to the brand, this process did not add more flavor, it just added more citric acid to the dessert.  Finally a suggestion was made to use Nelly and Joe's Key Lime Juice and the pastry chef now swears by this brand.

That was how I came to start using that particular brand. I first had to order it from Amazon, then later I found it at Wal-Mart.

Key Lime Bars
adapted from Cooks Illustrated, July 2006 

1/2 cup lime juice (fresh or store bought)
1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
2 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1 tbs lime zest
4 tbs melted unsalted butter
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tbs light brown sugar

Prepare an 8 inch square baking pan by lining with foil and spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Leave foil to overhang on two parallel sides of the pan.  These will be your handles to remove the bars from the pan prior to cutting. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Put brown sugar and graham cracker crumbs in food processor and pulse in 1 second intervals for a total of 10 times. Then drizzle butter over mixture and pulse again in the same manner as before. Pat mixture into prepared pan, pressing to make an even bottom crust.  Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Place pan on a cooling rack.

Place lime zest, cream cheese and salt in a medium size bowl. Use a wooden spoon to mix, stirring until all is evenly distributed.  Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and combine with a wire whisk so no lumps of cream cheese remains.  The mixture should be a smooth batter.  Whisk in the egg and then the lime juice. With the addition of the last two ingredients, there should be a slight thickening of the batter.

Take your prepared pan and pour in the batter on top of the crust using a spatula.  Smooth out the top, making sure that batter has reached all sides and corners.  Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. The bars are done when you see that it pulls away from the sides of the pan and the filling is set.

Cool in pan on wire rack for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Then cover with foil and place in fridge for 2 hours to completely chill.  After this, remove from fridge and pull out of pan by using foil handles.  Cut into squares for serving.  If there are any left, they are to go back in the fridge for storing.