Last weekend while grocery shopping, Wheat and I stumbled upon key limes in the grocery store. This is really unusual, especially in south Georgia, and I couldn’t resist. And Wheat couldn’t resist the promise of key lime pie later in the week. Thus, two bags of key limes came home with us.
Key limes are the most magical little citrus there ever was. They are completely different from regular Persian limes you will find at a bar (or ya know, in the grocery store – whichever you happen to frequent the most), and it just won’t be “key lime pie” if you aren’t using key limes. But if you’re lucky, or if you live down in south Florida, or have a friend visiting Key West, and you run across key limes, use this recipe and make key lime pie. A family friend of ours actually has managed to keep a key lime tree alive in Blountstown, Florida… so I saved two limes to attempt to plant them. We’ll see what happens. If you’re truly desperate for a pie, you can use this recipe with regular ole lime juice… or even lemon juice. Just make sure it’s fresh.
They are a royal pain in the arse to juice, seeing as how they are so tiny… but it’s worth every bit of effort.
What you need:
for the crust:
you can either use a store bought graham cracker crust like I usually do… or make your own using:
– 16 graham crackers, crushed
– 3 T sugar
– 1 cub (1/4 lb) margarine or butter
for the filling:
– 1/2 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice (approximately 12 key limes)
– one 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
– 4 large or extra large egg yolks
for the garnish:
– 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
– 2 teaspoons sugar
– 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
What to do:
for the crust
If you’re using a store bought crust, skip this step.
For the crust, mix the ingredients, press them into a 9″ pie plate, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely.
for the filling
Using an electric mixer, beat the yolks until light yellow and thick, but don’t overmix. Turn the mixer off and add the milk. Turn mixer back up to low and add half the juice. Once the juice is incorporated, mix in the rest of the juice. Continue to mix until just blended, for a few more seconds. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes to set the yolks.
If you like whipped cream (who doesn’t?), put cream, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and whip on high until the cream forms soft peaks. I like to serve the whipped cream in a bowl separately, so everyone can serve themselves (aka get as much whipped cream as they want).
That’s it! It’s an easy pie, once you acquire the elusive key limes and juice them. A lot of recipes call for lime zest, and if you like zest, by all means use it! Just add about two teaspoons of it to the filling mix at the end along with the last bit of juice. I like my pie to have a super creamy texture, so I leave it out. I also like to garnish my pie with thinly sliced key limes, if I have a couple extra.
Tip: when I do find key limes, I juice them all and after making one pie, I freeze the extra juice to make pies with later on. I freeze my citrus juice in mason jars. Just don’t screw the lid all the way down until the juice is mostly frozen to keep from having expansion problems (aka a sticky and sad frozen explosion).
And with that, we are off to the St. Joe Beach for the weekend… and we’re taking our leftover key lime pie with us! :) Happy Friday, y’all!