Published July 1, 2006.
Our first cracks at transforming Key lime pie into a cookie left us with a thick, dry crust--and too much lime on our hands. We wanted to raise the bar.
Key lime pie is a luscious dessert, but it lacks portability. But when we made a Key lime bar using a classic pie recipe, the filling was too soft and the crust too thick, dry, and crumbly.
We wanted to bring all the essence of Key lime pie to a Key lime bar, creating a cookie that balanced tart and creamy flavors as well as soft and crispy textures.
To support our hand-held bars, we needed a thicker, sturdier crust, which required more crumbs and butter than traditional pie crust. Tasters found the traditional graham cracker flavor too assertive in such a crust; animal crackers were more neutral. As for the filling, it had to be firmer. By adding cream and an egg yolk to the usual sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest, we created a firm, rich finger-food-friendly filling. Two issues remained: Were Key limes really key? Did we need a topping? While testers preferred Key lime juice to regular lime juice by a narrow margin, regular juice was judged acceptable, especially considering that we needed to squeeze far fewer regular limes (three) than Key limes (20) to get the same amount of juice. For a topping, a heavy streusel was rejected. The favorite was an optional toasted-coconut topping.list of recipes