Key Lime Pie

June 6, 2013

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This recipe, my friends, was a test of patience in so many ways.  Key lime pie is something I’ve made so many times!  Successfully, even!  I love it – it’s by far one of my favorite desserts, and I especially like how easy it is to make.

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This is all because I have never used actual key limes before.  I, um, always used bottled key lime juice.  Stop judging me!  Have you ever seen these miniature limes?!  They’re tiny!  And filled with so many seeds, and, seriously, nearly impossible to juice.  While you are attempting to get the droplets of juice out of the actual fruit and into your measuring cup, they make your hand cramp up!  And then you will see that you need to juice about 20 more to fill that measuring cup.  And then you will have a little cry.  I speak the truth.

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At least this is what happened to me.  But, of course, I was in it (to win it).  And I wasn’t going to stop mid way (although I seriously considered it*).  So I persevered and made the pie.  And I waited.  And waited, and waited.  Because, of course, the most vital step for a key lime pie is for it to be chilled.  But after all of that work, all I wanted was a slice of pie.  So I dug into some while it was still warm.  “Bitter”, I believe, was the word used to describe the pie.  The sadness multiplied.

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But then, because I believe in second chances, I let it chill overnight, and had a slice for breakfast, and it was exactly how you want any key lime pie to be.  Tart and sweet and creamy and deliciousness.  Fine, fine…key limes win.

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*Especially when I decided to make lunch in the middle of the pie-making extravaganza.  Avocado tostadas were on the menu.  When my sister took the limes, of the non key lime variety, to juice onto the avocados, she muttered “man, these limes are really juicy!” and that just made me sadder and I almost gave up.

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Key Lime Pie

9 graham crackers
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tbsp. butter, melted and slightly cooled
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325°F.  In a food processor, or by hand, crush graham crackers until the form fine crumbs.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients until the crust comes together.  Press into a 9 inch pie or tart plate and bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Let cool completely.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup key lime juice (from about 20 key limes)
1 tbsp. key lime zest

In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the filling ingredients until well combined.  Pour into the cooled pie crust.  Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the filling is just set.  Let cool completely, and then refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours.  Serve with whipped cream, recipe below.

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

In a deep bowl, whisk together the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla.  Either by hand or with an electric mixer, keep whisking until soft peaks form.  Dollop onto each piece of pie.

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