My first introduction to the cruising lifestyle came many years ago during a break from college. Three buddies and I flew to the Abacos, Bahamas, for a grand adventure: We’d chartered a 32-foot sloop for a one-week learn-to-sail trip. Since our previous experience included only a bit of dinghy sailing, it would be quite an escapade. After two days of training with a skipper/instructor on board, we returned to Marsh Harbor, where our teacher promptly jumped onto the dock, waved goodbye, and announced, “You’re ready!” We all looked at each other, wondering who he was talking to. Ready or not, off we sailed for Hope Town. We did manage to arrive at our anchorage unscathed, and were immediately invited to a potluck dinner ashore that evening. Not having a lot of supplies aboard, we decided on an easy sweet: citrus bars, which were always popular at home potlucks. Limes are plentiful and delicious in the Caribbean, so we opted for those, though this recipe can also be made using lemons, oranges or even grapefruit.
Potluck Lime Bars Recipe
For the crust:
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and gradually add to dry mix, blending well with a pastry cutter or food processor. Alternatively, use your hands and knead together as if you were making bread. Once ingredients form a crumbly dough, form into a ball or balls, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 15 to 30 minutes. (Dough will be a bit crumbly.) When dough is slightly chilled, press evenly into a well-greased 9-by-13-inch shallow baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crust is very lightly browned.
For the filling:
- 6 eggs
- 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp.) lime juice (about 6 limes if using fresh)
- 2/3 cup flour
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. lime zest (optional)
- Powdered sugar, to taste
- Additional lime zest, for garnish (optional)
Lightly whisk eggs in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium-size bowl, combine lime juice, flour, sugar, salt and 3 tablespoons lime zest, if using. Add eggs and blend until smooth. Spread evenly over baked crust. Return to oven and bake until filling is set but not browned, 15 to 25 minutes (ovens vary; check periodically). Remove from oven; chill or cool for at least 2 hours. Before serving, dust with powdered sugar, cut into bars, and garnish with a bit of lime zest. Yields: about 20 2 1/2- by-2 1/2-inch bars.
Preparation: At anchor
Time: 2 hours chill time
Cook’s Notes: If you have baking paper, line your greased pan before adding dough, letting edges overlap pan. The grease will help the paper adhere well to the pan; paper makes it easy to remove the finished lime bars.