Key Lime Pie is one of the most deliciously outstanding pies to make in the summer. The unique flavor of sweet and tangy fruit in a firm custard-like filling and crunchy base make it a delight to serve at parties and after dinners. The filling can be rather rich due to the sweetened condensed milk and limejuice, but making a thicker crust can balance out the flavors wonderfully. Although Key Lime Pie is traditionally made with key limes and no green food coloring, you may use regular limes and add green food coloring if you wish. Without the food coloring, the pie is a beautiful, very pale green-yellow because of the egg yolk, milk, and lime zest. This is an easy to make pie, as the majority of the mixing is done in one bowl. The crust is one of the simplest pie crusts around, being just crushed Graham crackers. You simply make the crust, bake briefly, make the filling, add to the crust, and bake. This is a good recipe for a child to help with, although make sure they do not taste the filling before it has been baked, as it contains raw egg yolk. Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature before assembling (such as the butter and eggs).
For a little background, Key Lime Pie originated, of course, in Key West, Florida. Because refrigeration was not available, canned milk was used. Back then, the limejuice acid was used to set the pie although today, because of Salmonella, it is best to bake the pie to cook the eggs through. Other than that, the recipe has changed very little since the late nineteenth century!
Prep Time: 10 minutes Making & Baking Time: 50 minutes Total: 1 hour
Ingredients: (12 servings)
Whipped Cream (optional)
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Crush the crackers in a food processor (or use a Ziploc bag and rolling pin) until the crumbs are very small and smooth. In a regular mixing bowl, combine the crumbs with the sugar (anywhere from 3 Tablespoons to 1/3 cup) and melted butter with a fork until the crumbs have soaked up the butter evenly. The mixture should be moist but crumbly. Press the mixture into an 8 or 9-inch pie pan using your fingers to press the crumbs around the bottom and edges of the pan. The mixture will be a little crumbly.
Bake the crust for around 7 minutes to set. Leave the oven on. Put the pan to cool on a wire rack while you make the filling. Using about 2-3 limes, zest them until you have a heaping tablespoon. Avoid the white pith when zesting. Cut them in half and squeeze until you have 1/2 a cup of limejuice (you may need at least 4 limes for this, depending on their size and juiciness). Separate three eggs and put the three yolks in a small bowl. Put the lime zest, limejuice, and egg yolks in an electric mixing bowl and mix on high for one minute until well blended. After that, pour in the can of condensed milk and mix on high again until thick and smooth. If you want to add more zest or juice for flavor, you can. Adjust to your tastes! Pour on top of the crust until it reaches the top. Do not go over the top of the edges.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the center is no longer wobbling (it is okay if the edges are slightly wobbly when you move the pan). If you wish to make the whipped cream as a topping, simply add the cream (as much as you think you will need) to your mixing bowl, a drop of vanilla if you wish, and mix on high until stiff peaks form. Keep the cream in the fridge until you serve. When serving, add on top or to the side of the pie, and add a little more lime zest for color and additional flavor if you like! This pie can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for around 5 days (although it is unlikely to last that long!).