If I were a gambler, I’d wager you don’t have any preserved limes in the fridge right now and your grocery store doesn’t carry them and the stock boy will look at you funny if you ask about them. What I’m saying is– I know preserved limes are something of a specialty ingredient. But I’m here to tell you that these preserved lime bars will give you all the reason you need to make a batch of your own. Preserved limes provide an unexpected and wonderful blend of tastes and sensations and these bars present them in their fullest. They’re bright and briny, sweet and salty, buttery and bracing.
Of course, the first thing you’ll need to do is make some preserved limes, which you can do using our recipe here. You’ll have to cure them for at least 10 days, so plan ahead! Once you have your limes ready, the rest of the recipe is pretty straightforward and will not disappoint when it comes to deliciousness.
Preserved Lime Bars
for the crust (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
5 1/2 tablespoons ice water, or more if needed
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Drop in the butter and pulse several times until the butter is well-mixed and the dough has a sandy texture.
Combine the sour cream and the water, and slowly drizzle into the dough mixture. Give the mixture 5 or 6 short pulses, processing until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, gather into a ball, and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill dough round for at least a half-hour.
for the lime topping
2 whole organic limes, quartered
1 preserved lime or lemon, rinsed with flesh removed, or zest of 1 lime and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar
6 egg yolks, room temperature
4 teaspoons corn starch
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Gather the ingredients for the lime topping and set them out to come to room temperature. Line a 10 inch square baking pan with foil and generously butter the foil.
On a lightly-floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12 inch square. Fold the dough into quarters and place in the prepared baking dish. Unfold the dough, center it in the pan, and fold any excess under the edges, pressing lightly. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the quartered limes and preserved lime in a food processor, and pulse until you have a thick purée. Then pulse in all of the remaining ingredients. Gently spoon filling onto the pre-baked crust.
Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, rotate pan, and bake for 10 more minutes. Filling should be set and slightly pulling away from the edge, and center should be just a bit jiggly.
Cool for several hours, lift out, slice, and serve.