I don’t know about you, but it seems like that I’ve only had key lime pie while on vacation. Something about it’s creamy texture coupled with the tart and sweet taste make it a perfect dessert while vacationing in Florida, Mexico or anywhere warm and tropical. However, I did not want to have to wait until the next time I was next to a beach to enjoy another bite. So, with this in mind, I made the resolution to whip up a key lime pie from scratch and serve it in the middle of February. After the first bite, I was magically transported to a tropical beach overlooking the setting sun. Okay, okay. Enough with the cheesy prologue. Let’s make pie!
Putting the Lime in Key Lime Pie
Before we get too much further, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: key limes. See, I live about as far away as possible from Florida (San Francisco, CA) while still residing in the Continental United States, which makes it quite difficult to find fresh key limes. I did some research and many people recommended buying bottled key lime juice, but, to me, that seemed a tad bit ridiculous. Instead, I went to my nearest megamart and purchased a bunch of Persian Limes and went to town squeezing and zesting them. This is where the sorta, kinda in the title comes into play. Key limes are a bit more sweet than their tarter counterpart – the Persian lime. While a purist may scoff at this substitution, I certainly didn’t miss the actual key limes one bit. I’m done with the disclaimers now (I promise)!
Start off by obliterating 14 (whole) graham crackers in your food processor until they resemble a fine dust. If for some reason, you don’t own a food processor, put the crackers in a plastic bag and go to town.
Now, in a 350° oven, bake your pie crust for 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown and “set”. Once that is done, remove it from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Next, we turn our attention to the filling.
While you wait on your filling ingredients to meld, you can get started on squeezing limes for 3/4 of a cup of juice. I had to use seven limes in order to get enough juice, but that will depend on your squeezing skills and the size of your limes. I would also recommend straining your lime juice through cheesecloth, a coffee filter or a chinois to get out all the pulp – this will lead to a smoother texture.
Lessons Learned: Or What I’d Do Differently Next Time
I think that the only thing that could have made the pie better was time. By that, I mean that the pie should have probably sat in the fridge for another 30 minutes or so before we started slicing it up. As you can see from the above picture, the custard wasn’t entirely set which led to a small amount of drooping. Otherwise, this pie was amazing. Until next time…I’d Cook That (again and again)!
- 14 Graham Crackers
- ⅓ Cup Sugar
- ⅓ Cup Butter, melted and cooled
- 2 Cups Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 8 Egg Yolks
- ¾ Cup Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 Tablespoons Lime Zest, grated
- For the crust: Preheat oven to 350°.
- Crush crackers in a food processor or Ziploc bag.
- Pour crackers into a bowl and stir in sugar and melted butter.
- Press into a pie pan and bake for 5 minutes or until golden and set.
- Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
- For the filling: Mix the lime zest, eggs and milk together an hour before for coloring.
- Add in the lime juice and mix thoroughly to combine.
- In a 350° oven, bake for 15-17 minutes, the center should be set but still quiver when nudged.
- Chill on a wire rack until cool and stash in fridge (1 hr. minimum) until ready to use.