I tend to avoid using kitchen gadgets. Most of them are more of a nuisance than anything else, oddly shaped, hard to store and a pain to clean. And they don't always work! But then, every so often, I discover a gadget that puts me in a state of wonder and bemused that I haven't owned one all along.
Such is the case with my recently acquired Mexican lime squeezer, a simple hand-held device that effortlessly extracts juice from the lime, leaving behind the seeds and pulp. It's the perfect tool for making that perfect margarita, the outrageously popular Cuban Mojito (mo Hee to), or (if you really want to be cutting edge), a deliciously sweet-tart Caipirinha (KAI pur Reen yah), made with Cachaça (ka Sha sa), Brazil's national spirit, and considered by some as one of the 50 greatest drinks of all time.
I've been having a ball with my lime squeezer, due in part, as you may well imagine, to my experiments with the aforementioned cocktails. But lime juice, in all seriousness is an ingredient in other, non-spirit applications as well, such as in key lime pie and the following recipe.
Key limes-unlike the common Persian variety that we see year-round-are available now, often sold in bags containing anywhere from 20 to 30 limes. Key limes, containing seeds, are by far more aromatic and less tart. But they're infuriatingly hard to squeeze, without a lime squeezer. So buy one yourself (about $12 at Bed Bath & Beyond) and try it out on one of those trendy cocktails or this tasty recipe.
Makes 16 two-inch squares.
- 6 ounces graham crackers
- 4 tablespoons tightly packed brown sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon lime zest, minced fine
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 each large egg yolk
- ½ cup Key lime juice (about 20 limes)
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan with butter or pan spray.
Finely crumble the graham crackers in a food processor or blender.
Add the brown sugar and salt and pulse 10-12 times until well blended.
Add the melted butter and pulse another 10-12 times.
Press the crumbled mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the greased pan.
Bake at 325°F for about 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
Cool on a wire cooling rack.
Leave the oven at 325°F.
Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, lime zest and salt in a mixing bowl.
Stir with a rubber spatula until soft and creamy.
Add the condensed milk and whisk until smooth (no lumps).
Whisk in the egg yolk and lime juice and blend until the mixture thickens.
Pour the filling onto the crust, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula into the corners.
Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan (15-20 minutes).
Cool on a wire cooling rack, cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Loosen the edges with a paring knife and cut into 16 two-inch squares.
Serve and enjoy!