These key lime bars hail from the beautiful country of Brazil! They are light, tangy and I adore that graham cracker crust.
Known as torta de limão in Portuguese (pronounced tor-ta gee lee-mow, “mow” like “cow”, not “mow” like “mow” the lawn, English is so dumb), these key lime bars are truly delicious. They are like a lime cheesecake or a key lime pie in bar form. I was re-shooting our photos for our blackberry lime bars and thought I should update these photos too. After all, they are the inspo for the blackberry version!
Torta de limão is a favorite that my husband had when living in Brazil from a sweet lady named, Vania. (Thank you for taking such great care of Cade!! You all meant so much to him!) So, here’s Cade and his thoughts on the dessert. Love you B. *I know his name is Cade, and B doesn’t make sense. Don’t worry about it! 😉*
“I lived in Brazil for awhile and toward the end of my stay I was introduced to this amazing, sweet and tart dessert. At first I thought it was just a lemon meringue pie. As I took my first bite I was taken back by the flavor and texture of it all. It was creamy like banana pudding, but had the crisp peaks of the meringue and graham cracker-like crust. The lime flavor combined with the sweetened condensed milk was an immediate party with my taste buds. This is still one of my all time favorite desserts and brings back many great memories. I think that’s what food does for us a lot. I cannot remember the names of all the people I enjoyed this dessert with but I made sure I came home with the recipe in hand and the name of this awesome treat!”
Before You Begin…
You are going to need about 18-20 key limes (10 regular limes) for this recipe to get enough key lime juice so start by first zesting 5-6 of them and juicing all 18-20 limes. It’s a lot easier to remove the zest before a lime is juiced.
Ingredients for Torta de Limão
Now is this going to sound crazy, but you’re only going to need 9 ingredients for these key lime pie bars – 4 ingredients for the crust and 5 ingredients for the filling. It is that simple and so incredibly delicious! Here is your shopping list…
For the Crust
- Graham Crackers: You will need about 21 full graham crackers to get the amount of crumbs you’ll need.
- Melted Butter: Binds the ingredients together and creates a rich flavor in the crust.
- Sugar: Adds sweetness to the crust.
- Salt: Enhances the flavors in the crust.
For the Bars
- La Lechera Leche Condensada: You’ll find this on the baking aisle by the sweetened condensed milk. It’s a little different than just sweetened condensed milk, so be sure to grab the right thing. It will look similar (and probably be right next to) to the La Lechera Dulce de Leche.
- Media Crema: Similar to half and half but if comes in a box or can on the baking aisle.
- Egg Yolks: Gives the key lime filling it’s structure and adds deep richness to the bars.
- Lime Juice: You definitely want fresh lime juice of for this recipe. You can use either key limes or regular limes.
- Lime Zest: So much of the bright citrus flavor is in the zest, don’t skip this step!
The measurements for all the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post. Keep scrolling down for all the details.
How to Make Key Lime Bars
- Crust: Start by mixing all the ingredients for the crust and then pressing it into the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Bake the crust and let it cool complete.
- Filling: Whisk all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl until it starts to thicken a little.
- Bake: Pour the filling on top of the cool crust and bake. Let it cool to room temperature.
- Set: Let it set in the fridge for 3-4 hours to finish setting up. Top with whipped cream and lime zest if desired.
The complete instructions are included in the recipe card down below. You can also save or print the recipe there.
What is La Lechera?
La Lechera is a brand of Nestlé products. They make Latin American products like dulce de leche and the leche condensada. Here is a link to it on Amazon so you can see what it looks like…leche condensada.
You can find La Lechera products in the baking aisle of your grocery store, by the evaporated milk, or in the Mexican cuisine area of grocery stores.
What is Media Crema?
Media crema is half-and-half or light cream that comes in a can or box. I’m including a link for it on Amazon so you can see what it looks like…media crema.
Media crema is not the same thing as evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk. Check out the note in the recipe card if you can’t find this. It will also be by the sweetened condensed milk or on the Hispanic food aisle.
What is the Difference Between Limes and Key Limes?
Key limes are smaller in size, and there juice packs more of a flavor punch than regular limes. They also tend to be a little less acidic which is great for using them in baking because they are less tart are more floral in flavor.
Can I Substitute Regular Limes for Key Limes?
You can substitute regular limes for key limes if you need to. Key limes can be hard to find sometimes (at least here in Utah) and they can be quite a bit more expensive.
Warm up your forno (oven), grab your colheres (spoons), and get ready to make the most simple and delicious receita (recipe) de torta de limão! You aren’t going to believe how perfectly sweet and tangy these key lime bars are!!
More Tasty Lime Desserts:
- Key Lime Pie
- Blueberry Lime Cheesecake Bars
- Key Lime Crumble
- Lime Cheesecake with Triple Berry Sauce
- Key Lime Bars
- Key Lime Streusel Bars
Key Lime Bars – Torta De Limão
Recipe from Vania in Brazil
For the Crust
- 3 Cups Graham Crackers , crushed, about 21 full graham crackers
- 12 Tablespoons Butter, a stick and a half, unsalted, melted
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- Pinch Salt
For the Bars
- 1 1/2 Cans La Lechera, leche condensada
- 1 Can Media Crema, small, *see notes
- 4 Egg Yolks, large
- 1 Cup Lime Juice, plus 1 tablespoon, sometimes I skip that tablespoon for time saving purposes
- 2-3 Limes, zest, usually a scant 2 teaspoons worth
For the Crust
- Mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar and salt until it resembles wet sand.3 Cups Graham Crackers, 12 Tablespoons Butter, 1/4 Cup Sugar, Pinch Salt
- Press into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
- Bake at 350 for 10 min.
- Remove from oven to cool.
For the Bars
- Using a whisk, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, crema, egg yolks, juice and zest.1 1/2 Cans La Lechera, 1 Can Media Crema, 4 Egg Yolks, 1 Cup Lime Juice, 2-3 Limes
- Continue whisking to ensure that all ingredients get mixed well and the mixture begins to thicken.
- Pour into the cooled crust.
- Place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Let cool and then place in the fridge for 3-4 hours or until set.