Lately, I’ve been mysteriously craving Key lime pie. Maybe it’s the recent Florida-like summer storms that remind me of tropical fruit, like limes, which inevitably leads my mind to thoughts of Key lime pie. Or maybe it doesn’t take much to get me thinking about Key lime pie!
The taste of limes is one of my favorite summertime flavors. Their taste quenches your thirst and eases the heat. Makes sense then that they’re used in margaritas! Whatever it is, I decided to embrace it yesterday and make Key lime pie squares.
Key lime pies also remind me of living in Florida when I was a kid. It’s such a quintessential Florida dessert. So while I was baking the squares I couldn’t for the life of me get Kenny G’s “Songbird” out of my head—ugh! Let me explain…That song played on constant rotation at every South Florida shopping mall and Publix supermarket from 1986 to 1990. It was also heavily used on The Weather Channel’s Local Forecast, which my mother would keep on for hours for “ambient” noise. At least Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” was only on major airplay for about a year.
A lot of the key lime pie recipes I found online were pretty similar. However, I loved how the recipe on Sally’s’ Baking Addiction used cream cheese to give it more of a cheesecake consistency. I cannot begin to tell you how out of this world these key lime pie squares taste! Also, instead of a graham cracker crust, gingersnaps are used instead, which gives this dessert a layered flavor.
One note—you need to use key lime juice, like Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice (above), for this recipe. Regular lime juice will not work. I found key lime juice in the baking aisle at my supermarket. Fun fact–in 1965 a Florida State Representative introduced legislation calling for a $100 fine to be levied on anyone advertising Key lime pie not made with Key limes. Sadly, this did not pass.
Key Lime Pie Squares
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe
- 2 cups finely crushed crunchy gingersnap cookies
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 4 large egg yolks
- 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (not fat-free)
- ½ cup key lime juice
- 2 teaspoons lime zest (1 lime)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8 glass dish with aluminum foil, making sure to leave some foil hanging over the edges. This will make it easier to remove the squares from the dish later. Lightly spray foil with cooking spray.
In a food processor, grind the gingersnaps to the point that they have the consistency of sand. Then, pour the gingersnap crumbs into a medium-size bowl and mix with the melted putter. Pour gingersnap and butter mixture into the prepared glass dish, pressing the mixture down firmly. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.
Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and malleable. Beat in the egg yolks until thoroughly mixed. Then add the sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice and lime zest. Mix until blended and then pour into the crust.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges near the foil turn slightly brown. Cool the dish on a wire rack until the dish is room temperature. Then, chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Once chilled, pull up the edges of the foil and carefully remove the key lime pie from the dish to a cutting board. Cut into squares.
Enjoy and soak in the taste of summer. Word to your mother.