Sweet Treat of the Week: Classic Key Lime Pie

Ahh, Key Lime Pie.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways...

Well, folks, I have to admit a few things when it comes to making a "classic" Key Lime Pie.  The "classic" version is made with key limes, which are the size of a kumquat and are a bear to squeeze.  I have made the pie with real key limes before, but never again!

Let's examine the size of the lime to the key lime:

This photo is borrowed from the blog Taste and Tell.  It's a blog I ran across and am in love with it!

Also, traditional key lime pies are not baked.  The egg yolks are "cooked" by the acidity of the lime.  I have made the "unbaked" version with success before, but much prefer to just pop the pie in the oven for a few minutes to let the custard set.  Many foodies would say baking a key lime pie is a "no-no" but I say it gets you to the end product in a quicker and safer way, so let 'er rip!

So here's the classic Key Lime Pie recipe:

11 graham crackers, crushed with rolling pin or in food processor
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (12 to 15 key limes or 3 to 4 common limes)

4 teaspoons grated lime zest
4 egg yolks
1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 325.
Combine first three ingredients and press into a standard pie plate.
Bake crust 10-15 minutes, or until it appears to have become a cohesive crust.

Whisk the egg yolks and lime zest together in a bowl until tinted light green. This takes about 2 minutes. (Save your arms by doing this in your stand mixer!)  Beat in condensed milk, then juice and set aside at room temperature till it thickens. 

Pour the lime filling into crust, spread evenly, and then bake for 15 minutes until the center sets, but still wiggles when shaken.  How's that for a technical term?
Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
Refrigerate for at least three hours until well chilled.

Some people use the leftover egg whites to put a meringue on the top of the pie.  I don't really prefer to do that but it is a good use of the egg whites.  I'll probably turn the egg whites into an egg-white omelet for the little Junebug.  A dollop of lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream is a great addition, though in my opinion it's totally unnecessary.  I'm a minimalist.

And yes, I had Key Lime Pie for breakfast this morning.  Watcha gonna do about it--call the food police?! 


  1. I had no idea traditional key lime pies were not baked! The recipe I used when I had you guys over was made with key limes and it told me to bake it for a good 30 minutes...you learn something new every day :)

  2. I wish I had a slice of that right now!!

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