First things first, there is nothing traditional about these key lime pie bars. In fact, I don’t even use key limes. Shhhhhh…..Don’t tell Florida! Regular limes work perfectly for making this super tart key-lime-esque dessert, and you get so much more for your money. Not to mention they are way easier to find in your grocery store. Ok…now that we have that out there, I want you to know that these key lime pie bars are bright and creamy and perfectly delicious.
A Summertime Dessert
We are getting closer and closer to summer and it is starting to heat up around Asheville. My family spends a lot of time on the lake during the summer and key lime pie is always a crowd-pleaser. Key lime pie + lake is hard to beat, but this is a refreshing dessert for any summertime gathering. It would be perfect at your 4th of July party! Sitting down with a nice chilled key lime pie bar and enjoying a firework show is what summertime dreams are made of 🙂
Mascarpone? A Surprise Ingredient
How did mascarpone wind up in this dessert? I needed crème fraÎche to make Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Fish one night (delicious by the way), and I accidentally picked up mascarpone. It sat in my refrigerator for weeks, and I didn’t really have a plan for it. Mascarpone isn’t an ingredient I have used many times. I had been thinking about making a key lime pie when I suddenly remembered the mascarpone sitting lonely in the fridge! I got so excited about the idea and couldn’t wait to give it a try. In my head, the mascarpone would make the key lime filling a little more sturdy so I decided bars would be a fun change. The mascarpone gives this dessert a really creamy texture that I know you are going to love.
A Whole Lot of Lime
If I am eating key lime pie, I want it to be tart…like, super tart. I was not shy with the lime juice here. I use a full cup! That is a whole lot of lime, but I think it makes the squares completely irresistible and bright. I squeezed all the limes myself with a citrus juicer, but you could also pick up some lime juice from the produce section in your grocery store. Just make sure it is pure lime juice with no additives. This is a really great time saver that won’t sacrifice flavor at all.
A Kitchen Tool You Really Need
If you don’t have one of these, now is the time to buy. A rasp style grater makes zesting fruits so unbelievably easy, and adding a little zest always makes such a difference! Seriously, this is one of my very favorite kitchen tools and I want you to have one!
Why Not a Pie?
You can totally use this recipe to make a pie instead. Just change your baking dish and go for it!
While you are here, check out these other great desserts! And….as always, if you try this recipe, please leave a rating and a comment below : )Print
These key lime pie bars are extra tart and make for a bright and refreshing dessert that is perfect for warmer days! Adding mascarpone to the mix makes this recipe unique and creates a super creamy texture that I know you are going to love!
For the Crust
- 15 graham crackers
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Filling
- 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 – 8 ounce container mascarpone
- 1/2 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons lime zest
- whipped cream
- slices of lime
Prepare the Crust
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Grease a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place the graham crackers into a food processer and process at high speed into crumbs. (If you don’t have a food processer you can pound the graham crackers into crumbs in a large ziplock bag then transfer to a mixing bowl for the steps below)
- Add the sugar and salt to the food processer and pulse until evenly combined.
- Add the melted butter and pulse again until the crumbs are fully coated. (If you aren’t using a food processer, mix well with a fork then combine with your hands until all the crumbs are thoroughly coated in butter.
- Transfer the crumb mixture to your 9 x 9 inch baking dish and use the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup to pack the mixture tightly into the bottom of the dish.
- Pre-bake the graham cracker crust for 10 minutes (prior to adding the filling), then remove from oven to cool.
Prepare the Filling
- Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, mascarpone, and greek yogurt in a large mixing bowl for at least 2 minutes until smooth and creamy (you can also do this step in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment).
- Stir in the lime juice and lime zest and whisk again for another two minutes.
- When the crust finishes pre-baking, pour the filling on top of the crust and use a rubber spatula to smooth the top.
- Bake the whole thing for another 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Remove the dish from the oven and transfer it to a wire cooling rack. Once the dessert has cooled completely (about an hour), transfer to the refrigerator to chill for another 2 hours minimum, but the longer the better!
- Cut into squares and serve chilled! Optional: Top with whipped cream and a slice of lime.
- You can easily convert this recipe to a standard key lime pie. Just swap out the baking dish and keep everything else the same!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: dessert, key lime pie, bars