I have the easiest dessert ever to share with you today and all you need are 3 store-bought items and a lot of fresh lime juice.
When I am invited to a pot luck dinner party, as most dinners seem to be these days which I adore especially when I am hosting, my gravitational pull goes to both ends of the meal. Either I am in the mood to get fussy with my hands and make little appetizers. Or, I channel my inner baker and prepare desserts that I have a good chance at being consumed, unlike in my house where I have many sweets adverse family members (not counting me!).
Sometimes people ask me if I am more of a savory cook or a baker and to that I answer both! I enjoy the freedom that sometimes comes with preparing something savory – a little pinch of this, a last minute addition of that. But I also appreciate the precision that is required of baking, often painstakingly when you are preparing more complicated pastries, as baking is a science and rules need to be followed for best results. It’s hard to wing a good cake.
And then sometimes, I’m like everyone else and enjoy a good “cheater” recipe that requires barely any thought, just assembly. And today’s recipe falls into that category but I promise you, I’ve served it 3 times to men and women and not one person left any on their plate. So print the recipe and please make it!
What’s funny is that sometimes I feel pressure when I’m debating what to bring somewhere. And so when I volunteered to bring dessert to a large dinner party back in the Spring, I got a little stressed out over what to make. And then this woman, Karina, popped up on my social media making a Carlota di Limon – her husband’s favorite Mexican dessert, and I was intrigued.
Carlota di Limon is basically a Lime flavored Ice Box Cake, traditionally made with Galettas Marias which are a round, vanilla sugar cookies which can be found at some, not all supermarkets. The cookies are layered between a filling of evaporated milk mixed with sweetened condensed milk and lots of fresh lime juice. Once all the layering is done, the cake is put in the fridge until it is set and ready to serve. Could I bring something that easy and uncomplicated to the dinner party? Heck ya.
The first time I made it, the dish reminded me so much of Tiramisu that I added a big dollop of mascarpone cheese to the filling but it’s 100% optional. And because I couldn’t find the Galettas Marias in short order, I used Red Box graham crackers as a substitute. I served the cake with fresh raspberries and it was devoured by everyone. I made the cake in a 9×12, straight sided pan which created a nice filling-cookie ratio.
It’s tart, sweet and completely delicious.
The second time I made it, my pan was a little wider and I used too many graham crackers so while everyone still ate every bite, it wasn’t quite as good as the first time.
This last time, I used an 8 by 8 pan, but ended up using just as many graham crackers as before (about 2 of the 3 packages in the box) which I think is about the right amount. You can certainly use less if you prefer.
After assembling the carlota, you can zest a lime over it for decoration, or add some crushed graham cracker crumbs as I did in the second picture, harkening back to the desserts of yore. You could also top it with whipped cream as my friend Marte did when she tried the recipe and then proceed with additional garnishes! Make it your own.
Either way you prepare this, I think your friends are going to love it. It’s a cool and refreshing dessert for these hot and humid summer days…
My friend, Ann suggested I needed a shot of the layers…
So what do you think? Will you make Carlota di Limon? One side note – I had a tough time finding the graham crackers I prefer due to supply chain issues and found them at a little general store rather than a big box store (and they hadn’t expired ha ha!). If you can’t find them, use any kind of graham cracker you can get your hands on. Enjoy!
Until next time…