Tuesday, April 14, 2009

key lime pie

So just like Easter dinner, the choice for dessert was left up to my father. I was surprised to get a request for key lime pie, as I've never made one before, and I don't remember my father ever talking about any desire for it in the past. A quick look through a few of my favorite baking websites and I discovered the winning recipe over at the Joy of Baking. I've never been let down by any recipe I've baked from the site, so it made the decision a little easier.

The key, no pun intended, to a quality version is getting key limes. Key limes are quite a bit smaller than your average lime, loaded with seeds, and are both stronger and more bitter than their larger cousin. While I read on many sites that it is ok to substitute fresh lime juice from regular everyday limes, it really does make a difference.

I was happy to discover this is an extremely easy pie to put together. Your basic graham cracker crust (butter, sugar, graham crumbs) goes together in a jiffy and is pressed into a pie plate. The filling is just a matter of whipping a few egg yolks, slowly blending in a can of sweetened condensed milk and finally when the mixture is fluffy, incorporating the key lime juice and a bit of zest. You then fill your crust and bake for 10 minutes. Top with either merangiue or whip cream and your done.

This may be the easiest pie I've ever put together. Plus in researching the pie, I discovered from Wikipedia that Key lime pie;

  • Many early recipes for key lime pie did not instruct the cook to ever bake the pie, relying on this chemical reaction (called souring) to produce the proper consistency of the filling.
  • Key lime pie is made with canned sweetened condensed milk, since fresh milk was not a common commodity in the Florida Keys before modern refrigerated distribution methods.
  • Some cooks add food coloring to give the pie filling a green color. This practice is frowned upon by those who make traditional key lime pies.


Maki said...

That picture with all the juiced limes is hilarious! That must have taken you a while. I'm sure your hands ached and were a bit dry from all the acidity (unless you used a juicer?). But I'm VERY sure it being fresh made it tastier than using lime juice!

Chris said...

Oh Maki. You hit the nail on the head. My hands were definitely getting the rough treatment during that process. I forgot to mention that a juicer would come in handy. I think the fresh lime juice made a big difference, and it even developed a stronger flavor as the days went on.

Cheryl Arkison said...

You definitely have to use key limes. I made more than a handful of these on our Christmas trip to Mexico... valuable time by the beach was usurped by juicing limes. I did post my recipe, sounds pretty similar.

Chris said...

You took one for the team Cheryl. Beach time would probably win me over.

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