“When life gives you key limes, make pie!” Totally random thought that popped into my head as I came upon a bin full of key limes on sale at the grocery store the other day. The fact that I’ve never made key lime pie before didn’t make me hesitate at all, because I definitely have some serious experience at eating it, and that has to be worth something, right? The tart and sweet custardy goodness, cradled in a toasted, buttery graham cracker crust, and slathered in fresh whipped cream… simply droolworthy. Because I have less baking experience than my neighbor’s 10 year old daughter, I turned to Martha Stewart, queen of baking made easy for the masses, for a recipe that I would have to work hard to mess up.
I didn’t. Mess it up I mean.
I may have promised to bring a piece to work for a coworker who loves the stuff as much as I do, but it has magically disappeared from my refrigerator. Next time I’ll make two so I have extra. Maybe three, just in case.
Key limes are miniscule little things that deliver barely enough juice to wet your fingers.
So you’d better set aside some squeezing time in your schedule, maybe take in an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s, No Reservations while you lovingly labor to squeeze out enough juice from a whole heap of key limes to get the ½ cup you will need for this recipe.
Use a microplane zester to get really finely grated zest.
You can grind up you own graham crackers in a food processor, but I just went ahead and bought a box of the pre-ground stuff. It worked just fine and dandy.
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
5 tbsp sugar
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
½ cup freshly squeezed (bottled will work if you can’t find fresh) key lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated key lime zest
Whipped cream (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 3 tbsp sugar until completely combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Bake 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely before using.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk together the condensed milk, egg yolks, key lime juice, and zest. Pour into the crust and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the filling is set but still quivers when the pan is nudged. Cool completely before serving. Serve sliced with a dollop of whipped cream on top, or spread whipped cream over the pie before slicing and serving.
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Beat the cream, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
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