My family is now torn between two desserts. Dessert one is classic chocolate cake; those of us with Fall and Winter birthdays always request it. But some people, those with spring and summer birthdays, beg for dessert two: key lime pie.
Their hearts are not lulled by warm, dark chocolate, instead, they insist on cool, tart citrus.
The first time I made a key lime pie, years ago, I didn’t think anyone would get crazy about it. It sounded refreshing: a perfect dessert for a hot summer night. I brought it to a family event and it was gobbled down in record time. A week later I was asked to make it again, and it now it has become a cult classic. I’ve traded housework and yard work for this pie. It’s a serious dessert.
This version of Key Lime Pie is in bar form, with mint whipped cream. But if you want it to be classic, bake it instead in a 9 inch [23 cm] pie plate and omit the mint extract and creme de menthe from the whipped cream.
More Pie Bar Recipes:
Key Lime Pie Bars with Mint Whipped Cream
- 1 1/2 cups [150 g] graham cracker crumbs or 11 whole graham crackers pulsed in a food processor
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons [65 g] unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup [120 g] fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract optional
- 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- One 14 oz [396 g] can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 to 2 drops green food coloring (optional
- 4 oz [113 g] cream cheese room temperature
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons creme de menthe
- 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 1 1/2 cups [360 g] heavy cream
For the crust
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 325F [165C]. Grease an 8 in [20 cm] square baking pan and line with a parchment sling.
- In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the butter to the crumbs and stir until all the crumbs are coated. Use a measuring cup or sppon to press the crumbs evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool slightly.
For the filling
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, lime juice, heavy cream, vanilla, lime zest, salt, and sweetened condensed milk until smooth and fully combined. Add the food coloring (if desired) and stir evenly to distribute. Pour the filling onto the warm crust. Bake 14 to 17 minutes, until the center is set but still a bit wiggly when jiggled.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Place the pan in the refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Top the chilled bars with the mint whipped cream, and serve.
For the whipped cream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the cream cheese on medium until smooth. Add the sugar, creme de menthe, mint extract, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low until combined. Increase to medium and beat until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and switch to the whisk attachment. With the mixer on low, slowly add the heavy cream, whisking until fully combined. Increase the speed to medium-low and beat until stiff peaks form, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, 3 to 4 minutes.
Note: The lime zest and juice will lightly color the bars green, but if you want a brighter color, you can add a drop or two of green food coloring.