Key Lime Pie

(photo coming soon - our first pie was so successful it didn't even last long enough to be photographed!)

A slice of key lime pie, cold from the fridge, is the perfect antidote for a hot, muggy day.  It's tart, refreshing, and requires only a little bit of baking time so you won't get too sweaty in the kitchen!   And making one could hardly be simpler.  

Real West Indian key limes are cheap and abundant here in the Dominican Republic, but if you can't find them where you are, bottled key lime juice or regular limes are an acceptable substitute.  Inferior key lime pie is better than no pie at all, and you owe it to yourself to sit outside on a summer night, listening to crickets and digging into this pie.

One of the neatest things about key lime pie is that theoretically, the filling itself actually doesn't need baking at all.  The acid in the key lime juice cooks the egg yolks, solidifying them over the course of a few hours chilling time.  It's the ceviche of desserts!  Just to play it safe, we bake the pie for a token 15-20 minutes anyway, but it's nice to know you don't really have to.  With this in mind, don't overbake or it'll develop a rubbery consistency.




Crust:

1 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs
2 tbs sugar (turbinado, or raw sugar is nice if you have it)
5 tbs of salted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Filling:

1 cup of fresh key lime juice (about 20 key limes), bottled key lime juice, or regular lime juice (probably 10 regular supermarket limes)
2 cans of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz cans)
the zest from 3 key limes, about 1 tsp
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

Topping:

1 cup very cold heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp sugar
nutmeg (optional)


Throw all the crust ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.  Press the mixture into the bottom of a glass pie pan, and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.   Take the pan out, but keep the oven on.

Being gentle, whisk together all the filling ingredients and pour into the prepared crust.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes,  then allow pie to cool completely on a rack. The filling will seem wobbly when you take it from the oven, but it'll firm up as it cools off.  Cover the pie and chill for at least 12 hours.

Before serving, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.  Add sugar and vanilla, and beat until peaks are stiff.  Spread the whipped cream over the pie, and top with a light sprinkling of grated nutmeg (if you like nutmeg).  Slice the pie, find a comfy lawn chair and enjoy!





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