I’ve decided that Key Limes are a pain in the butt and I totally prefer working with Persian Limes. Why? Because I’m lazy and zesting little teeenieeeee tinyyyyy limes takes 500 years and I’m already old. I don’t have time for that stuff. Who would finish baking if I were to keel over in the middle of zesting, dead from a zesting induced coronary?
Well, I have now managed to use the word zesting (which spell check says isn’t even a word in the first place) more in a few sentences than I had in the previous year. Zesting, zesting, zesting, zesting. There. That should take care of the next year or two.
I had planned to go on a raging bender tonight, which for me means two beers and then I fall asleep. But I came to the realization that 3 and a half hours of sleep the night before doesn’t leave much room for even picking up a beer bottle, much less enjoying it. So I shall instead drink tea fixed for me by my loving husband, eat dinner, inhale
two one of these utterly delicious lime bars, then fall asleep watching M*A*S*H on Netflix. Yes, I live on the edge like this often. It’s an adrenaline filled life that few can handle. Feel free to live vicariously through me.
In the meantime however, bake these bars. Crunchy graham cracker crust, creamy, tangy lime filling, all topped with a sweet vanilla bean meringue. These are soooo good. Have I led you astray yet? WHAT!? DARN! Quit bringing up the danged Emu!!!
You know the drill….
Mrs. Cupcake, who is too pooped to pucker
Tangy Key Lime Bars With A Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Meringue
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 14 ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup key lime juice (you can sub regular lime juice)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons lime zest
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 eggs
- a few drops of green food coloring (optional)
- 4 egg white, room temp
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- one vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (or sub 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 inch square pan with non stick foil. Combine the crust ingredients in a bowl and mix well, until you have a crumbly mass. Press down into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake at 350 until browned, about 15 minutes. Let it cool down completely before adding the filling. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and zest and sour cream. Whisk until thoroughly blended, then add the eggs and food coloring (if using); whisk until mixed.
- Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and chill for two hours at least, or until needed.
- About 30 minutes before serving, make your meringue- start a pot of water simmering. In another, slightly smaller pot, whisk to combine the egg whites, cream of tarter and sugar. Place over the pot of simmering water, making sure it doesn’t actually touch the water, but is just above it. Whisk the egg white mixture continuously until it reaches a temp of about 120 to 125 degrees; enough to feel somewhat uncomfortable on your fingertip, but not burning hot. It will take just a few minutes at most. Remove from the heat and add in the scraped vanilla bean or vanilla extract. Whisk just to combine.
- Pour the still warm mixture into either the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Beat at medium high speed until the meringue is fluffy and holds a firm peak. Spread over the top of the chilled pan of bars. Use a kitchen torch to lightly brown the top of the meringue. You can also place it under the broiler with the oven door open for a minute or two, but watch it carefully if you do this as it doesn’t take long to burn.
- You can serve now or re-chill the bars. Use the foil to pull the bars out of the pan and place on a large cutting board. Peel off the foil from the sides and cut into desired serving sized pieces. I wouldn’t cut them as large as the ones I have here. That was just for photo purposes :-p
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