key lime bars | confections of a dietitian

I love seeing the words “bring a dish to share” on an event invite. Some people may dread them, but I think it’s a perfect excuse to try out a new recipe or bake something I’ve been craving without having to eat all of it. I usually just want one serving, (two if I’m being honest) but not 30. Luckily, I seem to get invited to potluck style events all of the time, so I have a lot of opportunities to try new things. This week, thanks to my daily email from Tasting Table, I had been craving key lime pie. And, as luck would have it, I needed to bring something for a party at Colin’s office.

Now, as you all know, Okinawa is a long ways away from the Florida Keys, making it pretty much impossible to get key limes here. Fortunately, most key lime pie recipes work just as well with Persian limes, the kind you can always find at the store, and, if needed, you could use bottled lime juice, although the lime flavor may suffer a little. Traditionally, other than lime juice and zest, key lime filling contains only two more ingredients, egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. Fun fact: sweetened condensed milk is used because the Florida Keys did not have access to fresh dairy when this pie was invented. I was planning on making a traditional key lime pie until I came across Cook’s Illustrated’s key lime bar recipe, which adds cream cheese and decreases the number of egg yolks in the filling. Intrigued by the cheesecake-like filling, and knowing that bars would be much easier to serve to a group than pie, I put down my recipe books and got to work.

key lime bars | confections of a dietitian

After zesting and squeezing six limes by hand, I was really kicking myself for having crazy cravings and acting on them. That is, until the smells of a graham cracker crust and creamy lime custard started filling my kitchen. Patiently waiting for these bars to chill was difficult, but well worth the wait. The filling is tart and creamy with a prominent, but not overwhelming, lime flavor. The graham cracker crust is a perfect match and a dollop of whipped cream on top is a must, as it lends a hint of sweetness to the tart filling.

key lime bars | confections of a dietitian

These key lime bars satisfied all of my cravings and they received rave reviews at the party. I have a feeling that I’ll be making these again soon, although we may be purchasing a juicer before that. I’d say that’s a craving success!

key lime bars | confections of a dietitian