KEY LIME PIE… just the right dessert for a hot summer day

KEY LIME PIE… just the right dessert for a hot summer day.

Are you craving a cool, creamy unique pie with a zing?  You have to try making a Key Lime Pie or Tart with the real key lime juice.  These pies have a cult following from pie lovers – some love the whipped cream topping and others have to have the meringue over the great filling.  Try it both ways and decide for yourself!

Key limes are a  tiny, tasty citrus fruit, also known as a Mexican Lime. They are about 1/3 the size of a regular Persian lime and have a delicious tart/sweet taste and a beautiful aroma.   They used to be grown in Key West Florida before a hurricane wiped out the trees there. Now most of the commercial crops are grown in Mexico and California.

I planted a tree last year and have about 12  limes that have started ripening.

Your local grocery store can order real key limes ( they come in mesh bags- about 20 per bag- you will need around 2 bags), or order on Amazon from Melissa’s or you can always buy the Nellie and Joe’s bottled key lime juice.

Here is what a key lime looks like next to a full sized lemon:

RECIPE for KEY LIME PIE or TARTLETTS

Crust:

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (for a Gluten-free version, use crunchy gingerbread cookie crumbs- like Pamelas or Trader Joe’s Gluten-free ginger cookies)

5 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons sugar

Filling:

3 egg yolks

1 teaspoon grated KEY lime zest

1   14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

2/3 cups of fresh KEY lime juice ( or bottled key lime juice)

Topping

Lightly sweetened whipped Cream

Or your favorite meringue ( use the 3 egg whites left over from making the filling) and lightly browned in the oven

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter pie pan or mini tart pans.  If using sturdy paper cupcake type liners ( see images) they do not need to be buttered.

Make the Crust: Mix together the graham cracker or cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter.  Press onto the bottom and sides of the prepared pan.  Bake for around 10 minutes ( depending on the size of the pan- the normal pie pan is around 10 minutes) until set and lightly browned.  Remove from oven and cool on rack. 

Filling:   In a mixer bowl whisk the egg yolks on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until fluffy.  Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and beat for another 3 minutes.  Add in key lime juice and rind and beat just until combined.  Pour into cooled pie crust or tart crusts and bake for 10-15 minutes just until set.  They will jiggle slightly, but will not be loose.  Cool on rack and then wrap and chill in refrigerator.

Just before serving prepare topping- either sweetened whipped cream or a Meringue.   If making a meringue, pipe on to pie in a decorative pattern and then brown in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned.

Store the pie in the refrigerator.

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