Sort of a cross between key lime pie and the classic lemon bar, these have a crunchy, nutty crust which holds its own against the citrus. Tart-sweet ratio can be tweaked to your liking. Deceptively complex for containing so few ingredients, they are delicious.


crust:

  • 1.5 cup (7 oz / 200g) sliced almonds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 cup (7 oz / 200g) crumbs of graham cracker or other lightly sweet, plain cookie, crushed coarsely or finely, see note below
  • 0.25 cup (1.75 oz / 50g) granulated white sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • optional: a pinch, or several pinches of cinnamon, (or use cinnamon graham crackers)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (half a stick / 2 oz / 50g), plus possibly a smidge more, salted or unsalted, melted

filling:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • one 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 0.5 cup (2.2 oz / 60g) lime juice, bottled or fresh, plus more to taste

procedure:

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Spray a 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray, or lightly grease with butter.

Combine all ingredients for crust; include that smidge of extra butter if the crumbs seem to need it to stick together (this varies with humidity but you needn't be exact). Press evenly into the pan's bottom and up the sides. Bake for about 8-12 minutes (glass pans take longer), until just barely starting to brown. When this happens, get it out of the oven. It doesn't matter if it's cool for the next step, but it matters if you burn it.

Whisk together egg yolks and condensed milk. Add lime juice; whisk until smooth. The mixture will be very thin - that's fine. At this point it will have what I think is a nice balance between tartness and sweetness, but you should taste, and add more lime juice to your liking. You can add several tablespoons (an ounce of so) without messing up the texture. Pour filling onto the crust.

Bake until set, about 13-18 minutes. "Set" can be hard to identify, but it's when the center of the filling acts approximately like the edges, when touched with a knife or finger. It will still be a little sticky but shouldn't seem runny. Overcooking it a little won't ruin it.

Cool to room temp, then refrigerate.


notes:

These taste for all the world like they contain oatmeal, but they don't (although I'm sure that would be delicious and I will test it in future). To create the illusion, the cinnamon is mandatory, and the cookies and nuts need to be coarsely crushed (just use your hands). I found this out by being lazy. If you prefer a finer-textured crust, use a food processor on both cookies and nuts. And they are still delicious without the cinnamon.

I have doubled the amount of crust from the original recipe. Feel free to un-double it.

Make in a square 8-inch baking pan if you want them to seem like cookies; use a pie pan if you want it to seem like pie.

Original recipe calls for pistachios, which would have to be great.

Sweetened condensed milk is NOT the same thing as evaporated milk.

Always toast nuts before baking with them. Even a brief toast will bring out a lot more flavor and crunch.

In some instances I am a snob about using only real, fresh fruit juice, but in this case I can't tell any difference using bottled from-concentrate juice. Lemon juice or a lemon-lime combo would work fine, and in future I'll try grapefruit too.

Extremely delicious with whipped cream.

These keep alarmingly well. If kept covered in the fridge, I can't tell the difference between week-old and fresh. When they last that long.

Original recipe here (this blog is a phenomenal source of reliable recipes both sweet and savory): http://desertculinary.blogspot.com/2005/05/lime-squares-with-pistachio-graham.html

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