It all started after a trip to Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island. The sweet smell of baked vanilla and citrus filled the air. A small unassuming restaurant with an open pass, plates piled high with fried conch and the owner sliding slices of key lime goodness straight to seats at the bar. One bite and I was transported to a world of sandy toes and hammocks swinging alongside palm trees. Then and there, I made it a lifelong goal to re-create the first taste I had from that magical summer.
In one of many early stints as a Pastry Chef at a local seafood restaurant, mornings spent slinging key lime pies was the perfect opportunity. After years of practice, I finally nailed a recipe that has won the hearts of many. These pies have been on numerous menus at all my establishments and have won over food critics time and time again. Voted Best of Restaurant Week three years and three different restaurants in a row, these bright and tangy bars can be made into a classic pie, in a shallow tart pan, or just about anything you want.
Enjoy these fresh out of the icebox, dipped in white chocolate, or chilled in the fridge with a dollop of freshly whipped sweet cream and a twist of lime. From my menu to your kitchen, I hope these bring as much joy to you as they have to my customers.
Freezing custard-based bars before slicing makes it extra easy to get those clean cut lines when dividing desserts. Substitute a portion of the juice with a variety of limes, lemons and other tangy citrus fruits for a twist on the familiar. Fresh, quality eggs, like Nellies Free Range, will yield the golden color and firm texture these bars are known for.