I've mentioned before that I love cooking magazines. It was such a revelation the first time I ever read one (thanks to my wonderful husband who thought it would give me something to do while I was wiped out by the flu 13 years ago). There are so many enticing new recipes in every issue! Lots are seasonally appropriate, so sometimes I'm inspired to drop what I'm doing and make a new recipe right away. That happened with the July/August 2006 issue of Cook's Illustrated. Amazing that I remember that almost 6 years ago, isn't it? The recipe that grabbed my attention was for Key Lime Bars. I immediately made a double batch to take to a 4th of July potluck. They were a huge hit and several people asked for the recipe. I made the bars several times shortly after that, but as often happens, I got sidetracked by new recipes after that and have only made them maybe once or twice since then.
When I was trying to come up with a good citrus recipe for my blog event, I considered several ideas. I even made an orange & vanilla bundt cake that turned out pretty good, but just wasn't quite what I was looking for. I'm always short on time and frequently indecisive as well, so it really isn't surprising that I was sitting here yesterday (yay for a Saturday off!) still trying to decide what to make. I turned to Eat Your Books to see what I could find on my bookshelves. I bought some limes when we were shopping Friday night (to add to the lemons, tangerines & tangelos already in the fridge), so I started off searching that. Nothing jumped out and grabbed me, so I thought to try searching for "citrus" instead. Bingo!
Rather than graham crackers, the crust is made with animal crackers. They are pulsed in the food processor along with some brown sugar and a bit of salt and then melted butter is added to bind everything together. This recipe gave me a change to use a new baking pan that I bought myself for my birthday--a Fat Daddio's 8" square baking pan. (I love my Pyrex baking pans, but they don't work well for everything.) The crust is baked for 18-20 minutes, which allows enough time to mix up the filling. The filling consists of cream cheese, the zests, a bit of salt, sweetened condensed milk, an egg yolk, and the citrus juices. Once the crust is baked and cooled for a few minutes, the filling is added and the bars are baked for another 15-20 minutes. The bars are allowed to cool to room temperature, then are refrigerated for at least a couple hours.
If you'd like to try the recipe, you can find it here on the Cook's Illustrated website, or in the Cook's Illustrated Cookbook. And be sure to check out all the other yummy citrus recipes that my blogging friends have made! If you'd like to join us in the future, leave a comment or email me at diskitchennotebook at gmail dot com, and I'll add you to my email list.