In my ongoing effort to say nice things about the state of Florida – even though everyone else is getting ready for fall and it’s still 90+ degrees here, I offer up exhibit A: Cool. Tart. Creamy. Delicious. EASY. Key Lime Pie.
Here’s what you need:
1 Graham Cracker Crust, Key Limes*, Sweetened Condensed Milk, 4 Egg Yolks.
(Usually when I make pies, I’m all about making a home-made crust. However, I’ve come to love the simplicity of the store-bought graham cracker crust. It cuts the preparation time on this pie in half. I’m not a big fan of store-bought crusts for regular pies, but these little graham cracker numbers taste great.)
*Hey, let’s talk about Key Limes!
Key Limes are smaller, tarter and yellower than regular “Persian” limes (or as we call them in our house, regular “gin and tonic limes”). They are about the size of a jumbo gumball. My store sells them in a little mesh bag. Look for them in the same section as the other citrus.
When Key Limes are ripe, they turn YELLOW — so if you see yellow key limes, they are the ones you want not the green ones.
Note: bottled key lime juice is available in some stores. You could use it, but come on….this recipe has 3 steps, get the real key limes and juice them yourself. Your efforts will be rewarded in super, lovely lime goodness.
Let’s get started. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees.
Find your favorite grating device with small holes.
I’m a big fan of the Microplane. However, if you have the stand-up, box kind of grater, turn it around and use the section with the smallest holes.
Carefully (so you don’t grate your fingers) grate the outer peel off 5 or 6 of the limes. This is called the ZEST. The zest or rind of citrus fruits contains the most oil and therefore has the most flavor. However, you only want the very outer section with color and not the white, pithy part which is bitter.
Zest, zest, zest away. We want about 2-3 teaspoons of zest.
After you have removed the zest, cut your key limes in half and juice them into a strainer to catch the seeds. We will need 1/2 cup of strained lime juice.
Pour the can (14 ounce) of Sweetened Condensed Milk into a mixing bowl.
For this recipe, we need to separate the egg yolks from the whites. You have a couple of choices…
Choice #1 – Crack the egg over a small bowl and carefully tip the yolk back and forth between the halves of the shell.
The egg white will fall into the bowl and the yolk will stay in the shell.
OR, Choice #2 – my favorite method…
With clean hands (of course), crack the egg open and pour it into your free hand.
The egg whites will drain through your fingers and the yolk stays up on top. Nice and easy with out all that back and forth between the shells nonsense.
Add the 4 egg YOLKS to the bowl of condensed milk.
We don’t need the whites for this recipe. Keep them in the refrigerator and make an egg white omelet for some super healthy person. Or ditch them. The choice is yours.
Add your lime zest and lime juice to the milk/egg mixture.
(I went a little over-board with the zest here and this pie was really tart. I loved it but a bit more moderation with the zest might be a good idea. 2 teaspoons should do the trick.)
Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth and pour the filling into your graham cracker crust.
See the little specks of lime zest? SO good!
Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. The filling should “set” but still be quivery.
Allow the pie to cool at room temperature and then cover and chill in the refrigerator.
Creamy, tart, and delicious! Even better with a little dollop of real whipped cream.
Easy As Pie!
(sorry, someone had to say it)
Thanks to my friend Kristen Mory for sharing her yummy recipe.