Father's Day: Choose Your Own Adventure

Key Lime Bars: It’s pie, but you can eat it with your fingers!  What’s not to like?  I thought I’d make something tasty to bring to Brian’s dad’s Father’s Day barbeque; I’m not a lover of Father’s Day, and pie helps.  Plus, key lime is another one of those things that are ridiculously easy to make – I feel bad even calling it “cooking” – and if there’s anything I love, it’s undeserved adulation.*

*Speaking of which: go vote for me and my “provocative” blog.


The way I see it, here are your various Father’s Day Observance Options.  I would have made this into an actual flow chart, but I did a quick cost-benefit analysis and determined that the form would not affect the substance significantly enough to justify the additional labor.

1.  Do you like your father?  Go to number 5.

2.  Was your father a dickweed?  Go to number 12.

3.  Have you never known your father?  Go to number 13.

4.  Are you the child of lesbians?  Go to number 16.

5.  Is your father alive or dead?  If alive, go to number 6.  If dead, go to number 7.

6.  Does your father like spare ribs or smoked sausage?  If yes, go to number 8.  If no, go to number 9.

7.  Are you reasonably far along in the mourning process?  If yes, go to number 10.  If no, go to number 11.

8.  SOLUTION:  You love your wonderful, living father.  Visit him and throw him a barbeque.

9.  SOLUTION:  You love your father, but his dislike of spare ribs calls his sanity into question.  Stage a loving intervention.

10. SOLUTION: Engage in an activity that reminds you of your beloved father, like getting three sheets on some Wild Turkey and crashing a Datsun into the retaining wall of a strip mall.  Or, you know, whatever works for you.

11. SOLUTION: Wallow in denial and glom onto someone else’s father to make yourself feel better even though it won’t help in the long run. If there is no father figure onto which you can glom, watch a marathon of Deadliest Catch and eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

12. SOLUTION:  Your asshole father doesn’t deserve a special day.  Go do something nice for yourself. Fucking jackass.

13. Have you accepted this, or do you still feel as though there’s something missing in your life?  If you’ve accepted, go to number 14.  If not, go to number 15.

14.  SOLUTION:  Participate in the Father’s Day celebration of a friend, partner or loved one.

15.  SOLUTION: See number 11.

16.  Return to number 1. You get to deal with both parental celebration days regardless of the physical sex of your parents.

While you’re working your way through the various options, you’ll have ample time to make a shortbread-esque crust for some Key Lime bars by whizzing together some flour, confectioners sugar and butter, tamping it into a pan and baking it ’til golden.

While the crust is baking, you’ll have time to mix up the lime filling by whisking some lime zest into egg yolks*, stirring in a can of sweetened condensed milk and adding half a cup of fresh lime juice.  Through the power of magic, the filling will thicken as it sits.  You’ll have time to whisk some seedless raspberry jam to loosen it enough to spread on the crust, as well as to call your friends and locate a father onto whom you can glom or run to the deli around the corner to obtain the necessary Ben and Jerry’s.

You could also use the time to plan out the barbeque for your father, in which case screw you; some of us are still stuck on number 11.

*The New Best Recipe insists that if you whisk the yolk and zest long enough, the yolks will become light green.  This has never worked for me, largely because I’m very impatient and have the forearms of Steven Hawking.

When the warm crust comes out of the oven you’ll spread a thin layer of jam over it, carefully pour the lime filling on top and return the whole pan to the oven until the filling is set but still a little jiggly.  You might then put the hot pan directly into the refrigerator to cool as quickly as possible even though you know that’s not a good idea, because if you’re going to a Father’s Day celebration – whether yours or someone else’s – you’ll soon need to take the pan with you as you board the train, bus, ferry or car that will transport you there.

If that’s not what you’re doing, you can take your time cooling them down because you’re just going to be eating them all yourself later, before or after the Ben and Jerry’s depending on the ice cream flavor you’ve chosen and how well/not well it goes with Key Lime.

When you arrive, you’ll probably stash the pan in the fridge for a few hours, then remove them and cut off the slightly messy edges because you’re very anal and want perfectly straight edges.  Then you’ll cut them into 16 equal squares, and let the undeserved adulation begin.

ONE YEAR AGO: Maybe fish sauce isn’t entirely evil.

Key Lime-Raspberry Bars
For the crust:
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. confectioners sugar
8 tbsp. very cold butter, cubed
1/4 tsp. salt

For the filling:
1 c. seedless raspberry jam
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp. lime zest
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. fresh lime juice

Make the crust:  Line a 9×9 inch pan with parchment and coat with non-stick spray.

Put all the ingredients into a FoPro and whiz until it looks like cornmeal; no big pea-like butter chunks like you’d look for in a pie crust.

Dump the mixture into the prepped pan, press it down evenly and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350.

Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.

While the crust is baking, make the filling:

Whisk the jam to loosen it so it’s liquid enough to spread.

Whisk the zest into the egg yolk.  You can try the whisk-til-it-turns-green thing, but who really cares.  Whisk in the milk, and then the lime juice.  The mixture will thicken up quickly, and will thicken a bit more as it sits and waits for the crust.

When the crust is done, turn the oven down to 325.  Spread the jam over the still-warm crust, and top with the lime filling.

Return to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set but still jiggly.

Let cool, and then refrigerate until chilled.  Slice into 2-inch squares and serve.

[tags] key lime, dessert, cookies, pie, baking [/tags]

15 thoughts on “Father's Day: Choose Your Own Adventure

  1. Woohoo! another reason to bust out the wild turkey! I’ve kept buying father’s day gifts all these years, like pedicures and mp3 players. I used to steal the sweaters back eventually anyway, so it’s just like old times. But more efficient.

  2. What Carolyn said.

    I started seeing Father’s Day cards for moms a few years ago, but they’re all still too mushy for my tastes. Like, I’m taking mom out to lunch and a movie, don’t make us fucking weepy about it.

    I’m glad you had a great FD celebration, Michelle, even without your dad present. I’m sure he watched and raised his cup of Swiss Miss to y’all.

  3. With coffee in hand while I go through the options. I end up on #8. Dad is too far away to throw a barbecue, but I did send him some barbecue gear that he doesn’t have. Oh, how he would have liked the Key Lime Bars…..good stuff.

  4. I’m on year #2 of no father; on Saturday night, the boyfriend and I drank a toast to my dad, and enjoyed a meal that would have made him proud. Barbecued ribs, coleslaw and fresh cut fries. Would have brought a tear o his eye. Both the booze and the ribs.

    Went to my Mom’s on fathers day. My brother was grilling. Barbecued ribs! Dad was definitely smiling down on us.

  5. Ok, I know it’s an insane question but I have a friend who LOVES lemon and hates lime… (I know…) do you think I could swap them and have these still taste good?

  6. How far along in the grieving process is “fairly”? Because I spent the weekend being a complete cunt to my poor husband all weekend long, blaming it on my period, only to break down into irrational, rock-concert-decibel sobbing on Sunday afternoon realizing I was beside myself with sadness about the fact that it was father’s day, and mine died FOUR YEARS ago. He “helped” by saying “Aw, babe! Come let me snuggle you. Okay, why don’t you call MY dad and say ‘Happy Father’s Day’. It might make you feel better.” That’s when I stopped being sad and sobbing and went back to being an irate she-demon because was a STUPID FUCKING SUGGESTION.

    Anyway, I’m fine today. And I’m craving lime bars, even though I made key lime pies last week, and made key lime ice cream with the leftover filling and some cream.

  7. carolyn, i bet we could get someone to help us out with that. i bet there are a lot of people who would buy that card. kickpleat, where you at?

    susan, that IS more efficient. i’ve been doing it all wrong!

    maria, aw, you remembed the swiss miss.

    pam, my rate is $400 an hour (hey, i’m in new york) and it took me 45 minutes to write this post, so that’ll be $300. i’ll invoice you.

    kim, sending barbeque gear is the far-away equivalent, so well done. (and lucky duck, getting number 8)

    tina, well played, my friend. well played.

    lis, probably; it’s the reaction of acid, egg and condensed milk that thickens it, and lemon’s certainly got acid. although i’d probably just make lemon bars instead – same crust, some homemade lemon curd, bake ’til set.

    kristie, judging from your description, id’ say you have another few years before you hit “fairly.” also: mine’s also been dead 4 years. doesn’t make a difference. still feeling it a little today. haven’t cried yet, it’s probably the crying building up.

  8. My dad’s absolute favorite pie is Key Lime, and he always asks me to make one for special occasions. Unfortunately I live in a different state now so no Father’s Day bars for him! I can eat them though…

  9. I will make these. When I first saw the post I was reminded of Jamie’s sour face over the lemon bars.
    I had my ice cream on top of a big chocolate doughnut.

  10. lucrezia, eating them as a tribute is a wonderful father’s day gift.

    kerry, i remember. he made the same face over the key lime pie at the seville diner.

  11. Pingback: Key Lime Raspberry Torte with Pistachio Crust « Culinspiration: follow your tongue

  12. So I’d read that key lime pie was really good with raspberry sauce, and decided to google to see if anyone had successfully added a layer to key lime bars. Voila! Thanks for the tip and a great post. I made a similar recipe into a tart :-)

  13. Pingback: Key Lime Raspberry Tart with Pistachio Crust | Columbia Kitchen

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