Monday, March 12, 2012


This creamy, smooth dessert with a crunchy pistachio and graham cracker crust is a cross between Key lime pie and traditional lemon bars. It has a citrusy flavor and it's both sweet and tart.  I repeat: it's citrusy (with a subtle lime aroma)!  The sprinkled coconut on top and the pistachio in the crust provide crunchiness.  So there are lots of flavors, textures and aromas mixed in these bars, and I recommend them.  I made them for company and I ate about half a bar before our guests arrived, just to make sure the dessert was company worthy.  It was delicious!  Mom, the food critic and dessert lover by my side, had a smile on her face when she was eating the bar you see up top in the picture.  I, on the other hand, was feeling queasy, even though I had only eaten a tiny portion.  I can't tolerate sweets anymore.  It's because of the gastric bypass I had recently, not because of the recipe, which is perfect.  

Limes and pistachios...  There's lots of green in the recipe, so it's a perfect dessert to make for St. Patrick's day.  You can cut it into 16 pieces and serve it to all your leprechauns and fairies!  

  • For the Crust

    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
    • 1 cup shelled pistachios 
    • 1 cup (4 ounces) graham-cracker crumbs
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • grated lime zest from 3 limes 
  • For the Filling

    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
    • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (don't forget to use the zested limes too)!
    • 1 or 2 tablespoons of grated coconut


  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with melted butter, and line the bottom with parchment paper.  The butter will hold the paper in place.  Cut the parchment paper 8 inches wide and at least 12 inches long, so that it hangs over the sides of the pan.. This will help lift the bars out easily.  It's important to have the parchment in place, otherwise the dessert won't lift out of the pan.  Also, do use an 8 inch baking dish, because there won't be enough topping if the pan is larger.
  • With your hands break up the graham crackers in small pieces and add them to a food processor.  Add the sugar, the pistachios and the lime zest too.  Grind finely and then blend in the butter. 

  • Press the  mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. 
  • Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  
Make the filling: 
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the condensed milk. Add the lime juice and whisk until smooth. 
  • Pour the filling onto the cooled crust and carefully spread to the edges.  The filling will be a thin layer, but it will puff up during baking.
Bake until set, about 15 to 20 minutes. Half way through baking, take the pan out and sprinkle the coconut over the top, then continue to bake.

When done, cool the crust for about 30 minutes before slicing.  Cool in the pan on a rack. Then, let the dessert chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Once you're ready to serve, use the parchment paper overhang and lift the dessert out of the pan. 

Transfer it to a cutting board, and using a serrated knife, cut it into 16 squares, wiping the knife with a damp kitchen or paper towel between each cut.  

These key lime squares are based on a recipe from Martha Stewart's web site.


  1. They are good, I can't keep my hands off them (and I'm not much of a sweets eater). I love the toasted coconut you added on top! Best of luck with your gastric bypass.

    1. Thank you Lyndsey for your good wishes. I am so touched when I get good luck wishes about my surgery. It means a lot to me. I am down 39 pounds so far. Since January 17th!

  2. They look so good!!! Yum!!! I love any kind of citrus fruit. Lemons, limes, oranges, all of them! I'd love to try these.