Key Lime Bars

by Rachel on May 19, 2011

Key Lime Bars

The only downside about making Mountain Sky Key Lime Bars is dealing with key limes.  It may well be that some key limes are better behaved than other key limes.  The batch I bought at Trader Joe’s last week was so tiny and nearly juiceless that it took all of my hand strength, combined with a serious dose of patience to produce the measly four tablespoons of juice necessary for this recipe (note to self, must use the word measly more often).  I was going to make mention of trying to get blood from a stone, but I actually think that would be easier.  I was pretty sick of the tiny dry little buggers by the time I wrestled 4 tablespoons of juice out of them.  That said, these bars are just the right amount of tart, sweet and crispy.  I love them – and the memory of the key lime juicing nightmare has started to fade, just enough that I might actually make the bars AGAIN (oh no, say it isn’t so!).  I’m betting that Chef Pam at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, the source of this and many other outrageously good recipes, instructs a Sous Chef to squeeze key limes.  I tried to foist this particular task on my stable of sous chefs and the Stern offspring said a resounding, “no way, baby.”

Crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans

Filling:

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons fresh key lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Frosting:

  • 1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh key lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest

Miserable little key limes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crust:

In a small mixing bowl combine flour, butter and sugar.  Mix until crumbly.  I find this is easiest with a pastry blender – one of those kitchen tools you always wish you had the two times a year when you make something that requires one but that you never remember to buy the two times a year you manage to go to a kitchen store.  Stir in the pecans.  Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.

Filling:

Combine sugar, eggs, flour, lime juice, and baking powder.  Stir until well blended.  Pour filling over hot, partially baked crust.  Return to the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until the filling is just set.  Remove from oven and cool completely.

Frosting:

In a small bowl combine confectioners sugar, butter and lime juice.  Mix well.  Spread over the cooled bars.  Cut into squares.  Garnish with grated lime peel.

Don’t promise any of these to friends ahead of time.  It’s a small pan and you’re going to want to eat all of them yourself.

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