Healthy Oven Key Lime Bars

  • Serves: Makes one 8- x 8-inch square pan or one 9-inch tart pan
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 325
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Bars and photo by sugarpie © Sarah Phillips 

In Florida, Key lime pies are always made with local Key lime juice. In 1853, a struggling inventor named Gail Borden created condensed milk, which become popular in places where milk was unavailable -- like Key West. Key lime pie evolved after someone in the area got the idea of making a "custard" with Borden's invention, combining it with key lime juice and putting it all into a pastry crust.

Made in a 9-inch tart pan by Orange Piggy; photo © Sarah Phillips  
Orange Piggy Says: "...and this is the key lime tart made with my homegrown limes and coconut crust....I used coconut flakes made from grated fresh coconut. It was so fragrant."

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
one, 14-ounce can low-fat sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg
Grated zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (Key limes are available in the grocery store from early winter and late summer months. Bottled is available year round. Can also use limes from the grocery store, preferably the Tahiti or Persian varieties.)
1/4 teaspoon pure lime oil (optional)

Healthy Oven New Whipped Cream

Lightly spray an 8-inch square or round nonstick baking pan with vegetable oil spray.

To make the crust: in a medium bowl, stir the cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until well combined. Press the mixture with a large spoon or with an empty measuring cup, evenly and firmly into the bottom and up the side of a greased pan. Place crust in refrigerator or freezer to firm.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.

To make filling: In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in the condensed milk, and then the egg. Add the lime zest, juice and lime oil, if using it, and stir just until combined. Take crust from refrigerator and immediately pour filling over it.

Bake until the edges look firm, but the center is still slightly unset, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire cake rack to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

To serve, run a knife inside the pan to release from the sides. Using a knife, cut into 12 equal bars or 8 equal pie slices. Serve chilled or with low-fat whipped cream.

To store, wrap well and keep refrigerated. 

Nutritional Analysis - (per bar 1/12) About 231 calories (7 percent from protein; 70 percent from carbohydrates; 22 percent from fat), 4 grams protein, 40 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fat (less then 2 gram saturated), 30 milligrams cholesterol, 117 milligrams sodium, less than 1 gram fiber

by Sarah Phillips, The Healthy Oven Baking Book, Doubleday, 1999

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