Mariel here. OK, you got me. These aren’t true Key Lime bites because they don’t use Key Limes, doi. I’m sorry, juicing 24 itty-bitty limettes seems insane to me and this is Feast on the CHEAP after all. I figured you’d afford me this one fib – in the name of penny-pinching.
These delightful little nibbles are perfect accompaniments to an outdoor BBQ, bridal shower or picnic in the park. I jazzed them up a bit with a layer of blackberry compote (you can sub-in raspberries if they’re cheaper at your market), which adds a juicy sweetness that complements the tartness of the limes. While the squares require a few hours to chill in the fridge (so plan ahead), this is a super-easy yet guest-friendly dessert. Anything in bite-size form looks fancier: case-in-point, sliders.
Key Lime and Blackberry Bites with a Graham Cracker Crust
Makes approximately 40 squares
Ingredients for Graham Cracker Crust:
1 ½ cups finely ground low-fat graham crackers (about 5-oz worth) – $4.00
2 TBSP brown sugar – stock
6 TBSP butter, melted – stock
1 tsp lime zest – calculated below
Ingredients for Blackberry “Compote:”
1 heaping cup blackberries (or raspberries) – $1.19
1 TBSP granulated sugar – stock
2 tsp lemon juice – stock
Ingredients for Lime Filling:
7 regular limes, juiced (renders approximately ¾ cup) – $1.00
14-oz can fat-free or low-fat sweetened condensed milk – $2.39
8-oz package low-fat cream cheese, softened (just leave out on the counter for about 30 mins before you’re ready to use it) – $1.99
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $10.57
Cost per square: $0.26
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees then grease an 8″ square pan or a 7×11″ pan. Line it with parchment paper that hangs over the edge of the pan by a few inches (so you can easily remove the bites from the pan after they’re baked).
2. In a Cuisinart, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar and zest in a medium bowl. Press into the prepared pan then bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Leave the oven on.
3. In a heavy sauté pan, heat the blackberries, lemon juice and granulated sugar over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Immediately transfer to the Cuisinart (or use a hand-mixer) and blend until the berries create a thick jam-like consistency. Set aside and allow to cool.
4. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until softened – use a hand-mixer or blender. Add the condensed milk slowly. Beat on a medium-high setting until smooth. Add the lime juice slowly and blend on a medium-low setting until the mixture is smooth and it starts to thicken – about 3 minutes.
5. Spread dollops of the blackberry compote evenly over the baked graham cracker (gently or it will pull at the crust), then spread the lime filling on top of the blackberries using a rubber spatula.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes – rotate the pan about halfway through baking. Let the bites cool completely then refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Cut into small squares and enjoy!