Monday, May 4, 2015

Key Lime Pie Conundrum

Key Lime Pie is probably most dangerous of all the pies.  There are pie snobs out there who would dare take a bite of a Key Lime pie and declare, "That's not really Key Lime Pie."  This is akin to returning home to TX from your vacation in the Carolinas and declaring that "This isn't real BBQ!"  You might get your hat handed to you... with your head in it!

The problem is the limes.  The Florida Keys are home to those tiny mini-superball sized limes.  Those limes are as valuable to the locals as pearls when it comes to pie!  When they're in season, they're almost as sweet as they are sour and you don't have to be a pastry chef to tell the difference between them and a regular hand-sized lime (which are probably from Mexico).

If you want to make a Mexican Lime pie, be my guest!  It will be good, but it won't "sell" as a Key Lime Pie, that's for sure.

You will Need:

  • 1.5 Cups of crushed graham crackers.  That's about 16 crackers.  I use half cinnamon crackers, half regular, and a food processor to "Crumb" them
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 whole melted stick of unsalted butter

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 Cup FRESH KEY LIME JUICE (approximately 12-16 key limes, so get to squeezin'), strained (no seeds or pulp skins)
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Mix the ingredients together with a fork and press them into a 9 inch pie plate
  3. Bake in oven in middle rack for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned
  4. Remove from oven, and cool on rack, leave the oven on at 350
  1. In a stand mixer with the whipping attachment, beat the egg yolks on medium speed until they are thick and turn dark yellow.
  2. Turn the mixer off and add the sweetened condensed milk.  Now, turn the mixer speed to low and drizzle in 1/2 of the lime juice.  Once the lime juice is incorporated, add the other half of the juice, keep mixing while slowly ramping up the speed, until the mixture is completely smooth.
  3. Toss in the Zest, but mix it in with a fork, by hand, so the paddle attachment (or beaters) won't pick them out.
  4. Pour the custard mixture into the pie shell and bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes to set the yolks.
  5. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for approximately 2 hours to set.
WHIPPING CREAM (Optional... some Key Lime purist will skip this step):

In a stainless steel medium bowl, combine whipping cream, sugar and vanilla and whisk by hand until creamy peaks form.  Smooth the whipping cream evenly over the top of the pie.  Garnish with a slice of key lime.

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