An Unusual Duet of Flavor

We all know and love those ubiquitous summer classics – from grilled ribs slathered in an unbeatable barbecue sauce to a golden apple pie filled with cinnamon-sugary goodness. For me personally, one item on my season’s “checklist” is the Key lime. Just the name is evocative of summertime, and the intense flavor lends itself beautifully to the famous pie of the same name. Whenever I’ve hosted for a crowd though, I’ve found that pies can become a bit messy. Martha Stewart (of course) had the “key” to sharing this treat at larger affairs – Key Lime Bars.
There are a number of attributes that set the Key lime apart from its Persian cousin: it has a higher acidity, turns yellow when ripe, has a thinner rind, is much more tart in taste, and has a stronger aroma. The cultivar takes its name from its harvest in the Florida Keys, though California, Mexico, Texas and Central America supply the majority of the national market’s crop. While regular limes can always be substituted, the success of Key Lime Pie relies on these unique attributes…so even though I couldn’t find actual Key limes, the bottled variety worked beautifully!
What’s so unique about this dessert is the perfect balance of sweet and sour – every bite has a bright, citrusy taste with a cool and creamy texture. While most might shrink from the thought of a sour dessert, it works SO well in this context. It’s a cinch to make, and will have your guests begging for seconds…in fact, you should probably go ahead and double the recipe (which I did!) Click HERE to see how to make these creamy, summer treats! I also made a batch of Chocolate Chip & Pretzel Cookies – that’s not a typo. I love all things salty, so took a leap with these – “devoured” doesn’t quite describe what happened when these were cool enough to eat. Click HERE to see feed your sweet and salty craving!
Both of these desserts bring a unique pairing to sweet, from the tartness of Key limes to the salty crunch of pretzels. Neither are what you would consider an immediate pairing for dessert, but they both work oh so well! With that in mind, I was drawn to a work I had heard in a friend’s recital several years back: Eric Ewazen’s Trio for Trumpet, Violin and Piano. Written in 1992, the work consists of 4 movements that demonstrate how these two instruments both complement and contrast one another. The piano acts helps with this coalescence. Ewazen’s music is unlike that of his contemporaries given its use of triadic harmony and emphasis on melody. The result is a nostalgic, accessible style that really brings it home (much like these Key Lime Bars and Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies!) The recording below is from a recital, and is a decent one considering it is on YouTube – enjoy!

Sources Cited:
“Key Lime,”
The Music of Eric Ewazen

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