Monday, April 17, 2006

Pepe's Key Lime Pie

After finding Key limes at the local grocery store, I decided to make a Key lime pie for Easter dinner. Since we're in NYC for Easter, I made the pie in an unfamiliar kitchen (my parents'). I say this because making this gave me more trouble than it should have. I'm attributing most of that to the fact I wasn't in my home kitchen.

For the graham cracker crust, I added a bit more melted butter (maybe 2 Tbs.) than the recipe called for as the mixture seemed too dry. I guess it didn't matter much: once I placed everything in the pie plate, the crumbs were simply pushed up the sides of the plate by my patting the crumbs in the center -- no real sticking necessary.

As for the filling, I suspect that using fresh key limes tastes better than using bottled juice, but squeezing those little bastards is a pain in the arse. Key limes are about the size of ping pong balls and, to generate a 1/2 cup of juice, my Dad and I squoze about 20 limes.

Incidentally, there is a flavor difference between Key limes and Tahitian limes: key limes are less tart, resulting in mellower pie. I can't help but think, though, that Tahitian limes could be used if they were cut with a bit of water. Or, if you wanted to go off the map a bit, blended with another citrus juice.

Until the stiff egg whites are added, the juice, evaporated milk and egg yolks don't look like much. But incorporate the egg whites and --poof-- enough volume to fill the crust.

I was a little concerned about over baking the pie and browing the top. Of course, I thought the bake time was 25 minutes, not 20, so I left it in for 23. Fortunately, the top of the pie was dry yet wiggled gently when I shook the plate. And, no brown spots.

It tastes pretty good, too. I'm not a real lime fan (which begs the question, "Why did you want to make key lime pie in the first place?" to which I'd answer, "Because I was able to buy key limes in Upstate New York.") but this is nice: a gentle zing from the citrus, offset by the whipped cream and graham cracker crust.

And the crust is really good. But since it's made of graham crackers, cinnamon, sugar and melted butter, I suppose that shouldn't really suprise. I could just eat the crust and be happy.

Another bag of Key limes remains -- and another Key lime pie recipe is in the works.

Pepe's Key Lime Pie

1-1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 8)
1/3 c. melted butter
1/4 c. white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325-degrees. Mix ingredients together and press into 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Bake about 10 minutes; allow to cool completely before filling.


4 egg yolks
2 egg whites
1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c Key Lime juice, fresh or bottled

Preheat oven to 325-degrees Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat egg yolks well. Add sweetened condensed milk and continue beating. Slowly add key lime juice while beating. Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture with spatula, being careful not to deflate the egg whites; mixture should be evenly blended.

Pour into pie crust. Bake about 20 minutes or until just set. Cool completely before refrigerating. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Makes 6 slices. Top each with whipped cream. Keeps well for up to 3 days.

Whipped Cream:

2 c. (1 pint) heavy whipping cream, cold
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. confectioners' sugar

Just before serving, make the whipped cream. In a large chilled bowl, using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks. Add the vanilla extract and confectioners' sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks.

Grade: A

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K said...

It sounds incredibly delicious...

Anonymous said...

What a lovely blog! I've not been here before, but I'm so glad I found it through the Carnival of the Recipes.

It particularly caught my eye because my husband grew up in South Florida, and is especially fond of all thing "key-lime". Experience born of desperation moving around to locales without keylimes has taught me that Joe And Nellies Key Lime Juice (in a bottle) is a reasonable substitution for the determined cook. And often of better quality than the key-limes you find in many grocery stores.