Dexter’s After-walk Dessert

Out of moderation a pure happiness springs

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (attrib)
Before the Food Network, Linus, Lucy & Snoopy

Making a dessert yesterday afternoon, I recalled my first memories of baking, which then meant as a latch-key kid, never having to resort to Swanson TV dinners or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to survive. I thought about a child’s cookbook from decades ago which labeled simple recipes after a Peanuts character, from which I got my first experience with recipes and baking around age ten. While it is possible – and I have found it true – to over-indulge in one’s culinary experiments, now I enjoy dabbling in these things.

With a neighbor that shares homegrown vegetables and fruit, seasonally, we are flush with produce. In return, I might share the item in baked goods. I have made zucchini bread for several neighbors and served fresh greens to friends coming to dinner. Given a bag full of fresh limes, I made a simple dessert for friends this weekend. Squeeze the juice of fresh limes. Prepare lime zest. Make a shortbread base and bake it. Make the lime layer and bake that on top of the shortbread. Of course, any good baker samples his wares before serving it to others.

Ingredients

For the shortbread base

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups, all-purpose flour

For the lime layer

  • 1.5 cups, sugar
  • 1/4 cup, flour
  • 4 eggs
  • zest of 2 limes, finely chopped
  • juice of 4 or 5 limes (approx 2/3rds to 3/4th cup)

Suggested Equipment

  • electric mixer
  • food processor

Steps

Shortbread

  1. Blend /pulse butter, sugar, and flour
  2. In a baking paper-lined baking pan (9 x13 in), press evenly into the bottom
  3. Bake 20 – 25 minutes at 350 F (if glass baking dish, 325F)
  4. Remove from oven

Lime topping

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs, flour, zest and lime juice until sugar is dissolved (2 – 3 min)
  2. Let the topping sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk the topping mix again for a minute or two and spread over the shortbread base in the dish.
  4. Bake at 350F for another 20 – 25 minutes, or until the shortbread starts to brown at the edges.
  5. Let the bars cool completely.
  6. Dust top with icing sugar.
  7. Cut into 24 – 36 bars.

Everything done in moderation, Goethe believed, brings happiness. And these days, I am happy to make and share Keto-friendly cheesecakes, gluten-free peanut butter cookies, lemon custard cups, or breads, soups and grilled tuna. Of course, the kitchen is not my only diversion. I have a barbecue grill and a pellet-smoker, as well. (Just kidding) The Bible teaches me moderation contributes to happiness as well: life is more than food, nor is happiness found in the abundance of one’s possessions (Luke 12:15 and 12:23, NIV).

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