Citrus always makes me think of summer time, so these Key Lime Bars were perfect for the warm weather we’ve been enjoying here in the Bay Area. I have to admit: I couldn’t find Key Limes at the grocery so I just used regular limes (I used around 4 regular limes for these bars) and the flavor was just delicious.
The lime filling is tart and refreshing while the thin crust adds a nice sweet crunch. I decided to top my bars off with a dollop of lightly toasted Swiss Meringue Frosting. If you are craving a tart refreshing dessert for summer, this is for you!
Here is how you can make your own:
You can find the entire recipe here. I like to make these bars the night before serving them as the extra chilling time makes them a little more sturdy and easier to cut.
Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 8″ x 8″ baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray foil with Pam and set aside.
Crust: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse enough animal crackers to make 1 1/4 cups of fine crumbs. Add brown sugar and salt to the crumbs and process to combine.
Drizzle butter into the processor and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press crumbs evenly and firmly into the prepared pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
Let crust cool on wire rack while making the filling. Do not turn off oven.
Filling: Using a rubber spatula, stir together cream cheese, lime zest and salt until soft and creamy.
Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk until no lumps of cream cheese remain. Whisk in egg yolk. Add lime juice and whisk until incorporated.
Pour filling into cooled crust and smooth with offset spatula. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the filling begins to pull away from the edges of the pan.
Cool on wire rack for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Cut completely chilled bars into squares (I did 16 squares) and set on a platter. Keep bars chilled while making the Swiss Meringue Frosting.
Swiss Meringue Frosting:
â¢1/2 cup sugar
â¢2 egg whites
â¢1 teaspoon vanilla extract
â¢Pinch Cream of Tarter
Combine the sugar and egg whites in a medium metal bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Whisk the sugar mixture constantly over heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture looks smooth and shiny and until thermometer reaches 160 degrees.
Remove mixture from heat and pour into a stand mixer bowl. Add Cream of Tartar and whisk on medium speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture has cooled.
Beat on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form, about another 5 to 10 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to combine.
You can now scrape the frosting into a piping bag to pipe, or simply dollop onto dessert. Use a brulee torch to brown the meringue.
Top each Key Lime Bar with some Swiss Meringue Frosting and lightly brown with a brulee torch.
Serve immediately or keep chilled in refrigerator until ready to serve.