Thursday, July 1, 2010

Key Lime Pie

Well, well, well! It's been a few days! I got wrapped up in a book and haven't had much time for the computer lately. Now it's done (and the sequel is a year away) so here I am.

I have been wanting to make a key lime pie for some time now, but never seemed to be able to get around to it. As you may have noticed, the Bite Me cookbook hit me with a wave of inspiration, and lo' and behold, there's a Key lime pie recipe in there. This, combined with the fact that Bloblaws had bags of Key limes in the store, led to an unstoppable momentum of pie destiny.

Key limes are smaller than the regular ones. They are also seedier and less juicy, but they apparently have a special flavour (which I don't really notice in the green ones -- maybe it comes out when they are fully ripe). They are named after the Florida Keys (where, I am told, Key lime pie is the official state pie no less). Regular limes are called Persian limes, but Key limes are originally from the Middle East too, so go figure.

ANYWAY, you'll need 2 teaspoons of lime zest for the filling, so now is a good time to get that done. I just use a sharp knife and shave thin strips of zest off of the limes.

Chop it up nice and fine, and set it aside for the filling later. You could of course just use a microplane or some other suitable implement, but I don't have one and I really, really don't like cleaning the small bumps on a box grater.

The next thing to do is juice your limes. You need 1/2 cup of juice. I needed about 30 of these puppies to get 1/2 a cup -- you could probably get that much juice from 4 regular ones.
Slicing the limes is the first job.  Hold them like this if you want to keep your fingers.

I juiced them through a seive to catch all the seeds (grow your own Key limes if you like -- the seeds will work). I didn't bother with a reamer or juicer -- I just squeezed them by hand.

Several years later, I had enough juice for the pie. If you happen to have some extra juice, you could of course use if for a margarita (just so you know).
Next step is to make the crust. It's a graham crust. Mmmmm.... You need 1 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 6 tablespoons of melted butter (plus a bit extra to grease your pie plate).
Just mix all that stuff together and then...

...start working it into the pie plate. Just pat it in with your hands. Take care to press firmly into the corners, otherwise you get big chunky edges (which are yummy, sure, but hard to cut through when the pie is done).

Tidy up the top edge.

And then pop it in the oven for 8 minutes. When it's done, take it out and set it aside on a wire rack to cool. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees.

The filling is next. You'll need that 1/2 cup of lime juice you spend forever on, 3 egg yolks. 1 3/4 cups of sweetened condensed milk, and the 2 teaspoons of lime zest.

Pull out your bad boy mixer to do this job right.

Put the egg yolks in the mixer bowl and whip them on medium for 3 minutes. Then gradually add the condensed milk and beat for another 4 minutes. Finally, pour in the lime juice and the zest and mix that around for another minute.

Pour the mixture into the crust, and put it in the 300 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Cool the pie, and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour (I know, I know. How can we be expected to wait for so long?!)

Now, the recipe in the book called for a meringue to be added to the filling before baking, but I wanted to use this pie the next day, and I don't like what happens to meringue when it sits in the fridge. So...

...I had the genius idea to make some tequila whipped cream to go on top of the pie. Start with a cup or so of cold whipping cream, then add a spoonful or two of icing sugar and a spoonful or two of tequilla and whisk it up. I'll leave it up to you to decide what kind of spoonful (I'm a tablespoon kind of guy myself).

And here it is, in all it's Key limey glory! Hope you like it!


  1. I am really looking forward to trying this. Of course, I will skip the meringue and go straight for the tequila whipped cream.

  2. Use a garlic press to juice the limes. It works really well with these small limes AND the press keeps the seeds from falling into the juice.