Lime Bars with Pistachio Crust / by Amy Cantu

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One of my best friends often craves anything tart and citrusy, and has an especially deep love for key lime anything, as well as lemon bars. This recipe is undoubtedly for her. Not quite key lime pie and not quite lemon bars, these Lime Bars with Pistachio Crust are intensely creamy, cooling, tangy, and perfectly complemented by the nutty, sweet crust. This recipe is somewhat adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe for Key Lime Bars and also one I found for Lemon-Pistachio Bars on NYT Cooking. I found the Martha Stewart one, while delicious, always fell apart due to an overly delicate crust. So I loosely adapted a crust from the latter recipe to come up with this one. It holds together a bit better, but is still a creamy (even a bit gooey) bar.

Notes: Don't skip any of the cooling steps, or the bar will not hold together. The limey tanginess is fairly intense, so you can cut the bars into 16 small squares, rather than the 9 large squares I have pictured here - a little can go a long way! Make sure to store any leftovers (what??!) in the fridge.

Time: 20 minutes (active), 2 hours (inactive)
Yield: 9 large squares or 16 small squares

For the crust:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup wheat bran, toasted
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup shelled salted pistachios, finely ground

For the filling:
2 large egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a n 8-inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or  melted butter. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.

In a small food processor or a clean coffee bean/spice grinder, finely grind pistachios.  In a large bowl, combine ground pistachios with flour, wheat bran, and sugar. Dump in the butter pieces and use your fingers to squish the butter pieces into the flour mixture, until everything looks like lumpy wet sand. You should still see streaks of butter.  (This can also be done completely in the food processor. Add all the dry ingredients and pulse until finely ground. Add butter and pulse a few times, until only pea-sized pieces of butter remain.) 

Press mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned,  about 20 minutes. Cool crust, 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and condensed milk. Add lime juice; whisk until smooth. Pour filling into cooled crust; carefully spread to edges.

Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Cool in pan on rack; then chill at least 1 hour before serving. Using parchment paper overhang, lift out of pan, and transfer to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut into  9 large squares or 16  small squares, wiping knife with a damp kitchen towel between each cut. Eat with delight (or store in refrigerator until ready to serve).

Adapted from here and here.