When I think of lemons, classic American foods like lemonade, lemon meringue pie, and the like come to mind. However limes in my mind become the condiment to savory ethnic foods like carne asada street tacos, and pho. There's nothing wrong with that but besides key lime pie and lime jello, was there any other desserts that put limes at the forefront? I wanted to change that and thus we made lime bars.
For the crust:
2 cups AP flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 sticks of butter, melted
pinch of salt
For the filling:
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup AP flour
1 cup lime juice (about 10-12 limes)
zest of two limes
pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine all the crust ingredients: flour, powdered sugar, butter and salt. Mix with your favorite spatula to combine.
Place in the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes until the crust just starts to brown on the edges.
Meanwhile, whisk the custard filling ingredients together in a bowl: eggs, sugar, flour, lime juice, lime zest, and salt.
The lime zest has the essential oils of the lime and this will give your final bars two dimensions of lime flavor. The salt helps to bring out the lime flavor and cuts the strong acid of the juice. This microplane is one of my favorite tools in my kitchen. Besides zesting, it can grate fine ribbons of cheese, grate spices like nutmeg, mince garlic and ginger and a ton of other things that I can't think of right now...invest in one, you'll be happy you did.
One cup of juice? That's a whole lot! I know, I know. Trust me though it will yield a much more flavorful bar than those squares of yellow sugar found elsewhere.
Add the juice to the rest of the ingredients and let's continue. I'm hungry.
By the time the filling mixture is done, the crust should just becoming out of the oven. Carefully pour the custard filling over the hot crust and quickly return to the oven for another 20-22 minutes until the custard is set. No wobbles.
Now is the time to practice the fruit of the Spirit called patience. Let the lime bars cool for about 3o minutes. This allows the custard to set and will make cutting much easier, I promise.
Your patience will be rewarded. Cut into squares with a knife and dust with powdered sugar - its traditional.
The huge problem I have with lemon bars is that that are usually way to sweet with little lemon flavor. This recipe cuts the sugar and ups the lime. This recipe can easily be made into lemon bars. Just replace the lime juice with lemon juice (about 5 lemons or so) and use the zest of one lemon. I hope that you enjoy these lime or lemon bars as much as Elena and Sholeh did. These lime bars require only a few ingredients, I bet you have all of them right now. They super simple to make and are always a crowd pleaser.
Recipe by Spencer Huey