Sunday, August 7, 2011

Baking: Lime Pie

I really love a good Key Lime Pie but those are hard to come by in the Northeast. Usually, they're just okay. But I'm looking for more. I want that same reaction to a key lime pie I had years ago that was overnighted by a friend vacationing in Key West. She sent a box with dry ice and a pristine pie inside. It was delicious pie goodness. I couldn't help but take serving after serving of that sweet yet tart flavored custard. Damn it to her for not letting us know where she got it. To this day, it's still a secret. Sigh. So in an attempt to recreate that pie glory, I baked my own pie. Unfortunately, to my dismay, key limes are hard to find in NYC. If you can find them, they're quite pricey. Darn it. So, I left my recipe to just lime pie.

I started with some good ol' melted butter.

I added that to crumbled graham crackers and sugar.

Then into a glass pie plate and spread out evenly. I used a measuring cup to even out the bottom and side. It can be tricky.
Then into the oven at 350oF for 10 minutes until golden brown.
As the pie crust cooled, I prepped the pie filling ingredients. Here I have egg yolks, lime zest (my own addition), lime juice (from about 6 limes), and condensed milk.
Into the mixer it went until well combined.
Then into the pie crust and baked in the oven for 15 minutes. This recipe's filling only came up halfway up the crust. It left the other half for whipped cream. Next time, I would double the filling recipe. I personally like more custard to my pie.
After the pie is baked, let cool, and chill overnight or for at least 8 hours. Before serving, whip up some cream until stiff, and scrape onto pie. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
The pie turned out okay. It had an okay lime flavor but I wanted more. I wanted a really intense lime flavor without being too tart. I think next time, I'll have to zest more limes. And I'll also forgo the amount of whipped cream for a double batch of pie filling. Otherwise, not too bad.

Recipe courtesy of
Key Lime Pie
Gourmet | May 2003

Key limes are also known as Mexican or West Indian limes. If you can't find them in your area, substitute bottled Key lime juice. We've tried several different brands in our test kitchens, and prefer the taste of Manhattan.* This recipe is modified from the classic one found on many condensed milk and Key lime juice labels; we've added additional lime juice for more tartness.

Yield: Makes 8 servings

For crust
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs from 9 (2 1/4-inch by 4 3/4-inch) crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For filling
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh or bottled Key lime juice (if using bottled, preferably Manhattan brand)

For topping
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream

Make crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, then press mixture evenly onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch (4-cup) glass pie plate.

Bake crust in middle of oven 10 minutes and cool in pie plate on a rack. Leave oven on.

Make filling and bake pie:

Whisk together condensed milk and yolks in a bowl until combined well. Add juice and whisk until combined well (mixture will thicken slightly).

Pour filling into crust and bake in middle of oven 15 minutes. Cool pie completely on rack (filling will set as it cools), then chill, covered, at least 8 hours.

Make topping:

Just before serving, beat cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Serve pie topped with cream.

*Available at Manhattan Key Lime (212-696-5378).

Cooks' note:
Pie (without topping) can be chilled up to 1 day.


  1. I thought it was great! I think the whipped cream helped temper the tartness - for me, personally, it bordered on too tart, but that may have been all the other food and alcohol battling it. I also have only eaten 3 Key lime pies in my life - Fresh Direct (my first, which I loved), Blue Smoke (meh), and yours (which fell between the two, obviously), so I don't really have much to go on.

  2. Gewd Pie. Quite refreshing.


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