My aunt has a large lime tree which at a certain time of the year, bears so much fruit that she doesn’t know what to do with, when you are fed up with the lime juice, the pickle and the lime cakes and your teeth are protesting at the slightest mention of lime, you just have to stop. After all there’s only so much that you can do with lime.
So the lion’s share always ends up in our refrigerator, baskets and baskets of rather large limes just begging to be made use of. But even the excessive amount of cooking that goes on in our place, a good part of lime still goes bad in the fridge. We hate food waste but we really can’t help it.
It was one day during this period that it was suddenly announced that a large group of visitors were coming over for lunch. We hadn’t done our grocery shopping for the week and apart from the usual pantry stuff, there was very little around. I was entrusted with the task of creating a dessert and I was quite at a loss. Rummaging through the cupboards I managed to locate a tin of sweetened condensed milk (a leftover of my mother’s finely spiced caramel pudding), a few eggs, a large half-eaten pack of Marie biscuits and butter. And then we had this famous stock of lemons.
The light in the head went ‘ding’ and here’s what I created on a whim. Deliciously creamy and wonderfully tangy lime squares. It was pretty darn delicious so I thought I should share it with you.
Creamy lime squares
- Prep Time : 15 minutes
- Cook Time : 40 minutes
- Yield : 16 squares
- Sweetened condensed milk - 500 ml
- Eggs - 4
- For the base
- Brown sugar - 300g
- Butter - 150g (salted)
- Lime juice - 10 limes
- Lime Rind - 8, grated
- Vanilla - 1 tsp
- Marie biscuits - 250g
- Break the Marie biscuits into small pieces. Put it in a food processor along with the butter and the sugar and pulse till it all comes together. You should have a semi-crumbly, somewhat sticky mixture on your hands that form into a ball when you press it. If the consistency isn’t right, add more butter.
- Line a baking tin with grease-proof paper and generously lather it with butter so that the mixture doesn’t stick. Press the biscuit mixture to the bottom of the tin firmly and evenly. Bake for 20 minutes until firm and golden.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and the sweetened condensed milk together. Add to this the lime juice and the grated lime rind.
- Pour this mixture over the now cooled biscuit base. Bake for approx: 20 minutes in a moderate oven until the top layer is firm. Test by inserting a toothpick in the middle. You should feel it set like a firm custard or a caramel.
- Once done take out of the oven and let it cool. Turn it over and cut into squares. Serve warm or chilled!
Oh yum! I am not a huge fan of lime/lemon flavoured desserts but this just ticks all the right boxes. It’s amazing how the combination of lime juice and condensed milk (acid on lactose = cheese) creates a delightful cheese-like taste and texture so that it’s more like a lime cheesecake more than anything else. The salty caramel of the biscuit base pierces through the sweet creamy lime topping above it, and the two dances around the taste buds like the ultimate conjunction of opposites that attract and linger on for a while. The brown sugar has helped in the caramelization of the base with the salt in the butter, making it taste quite like the salted caramel sauce that I am very fond of. The nubby texture of the crumb base scattered with granules of sugar still retaining the crunch through the bake provides a foil to the smooth and satiny lime topping making for a marriage that was truly made in heaven. The teeth encounters the crunchy while the tongue revels in the smooth, the taste buds luxuriate in the citrus, the cheesy, the caramel of it all. For such an easy and simple dish, the senses are really having a ball of a time.
Not only a dessert, this can be served as a teatime snack as well. The guests asked if we ordered them from somewhere and that was my cue to glow. A happy cook is someone whose food is appreciated J
- Lemon can be easily substituted for the lime. But since lemon is milder than lime, more may have to be used for that tangy kick.
- I used a pyrex dish for preparing this one. Partly because glass surfaces are awesome when it comes to sliding out baked stuff without them getting stuck and partly because I was too lazy to go through the whole harangue of lining and greasing a baking tray.
- Other recipes exsist on the net for lime bars that use flour bases and the whole jingbang which should be okish, but not tasty enough given the effort and the time invested. I’m lazy and was in a rush, so rest assured I found a way to have a better result but with lesser effort. The glories of being a lazy person.
- Use only the egg yolks for a creamier topping. I used whole legs since I didn’t want to let the whites go to waste and it was good. I assume it should be better with only the yolks involved.