Key Lime Pie

And it’s officially summer.  Key Lime Pie has been made.  Actually, one of my coworkers particularly loves Key Lime Pie and requested that I make it for her birthday.  In September.  Of last year.  Better late than never right?

Anyhow.  This is a particularly good rendition of the famed pie, if I do say so myself.  What makes it better than all the rest you ask?  And how exactly do you change Key Lime Pie, which is really just lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks?  Well, you know those egg whites you always toss out? (Unless you’re me and can’t bear to waste anything so you freeze them in an ice cube tray for a future pie making endeavor – but that’s beside the point.)  You whip them until they hold stiff peaks, and then fold them into the filling, which makes it beautifully light and airy.  I love love love Key Lime Pie,but even I sometimes find it too dense and heavy, or even, depending on the limes used, too tart to enjoy.  This was the perfect balance of lime-y tartness and light sweetness.  And an added benefit is that is comes together in no time at all.  So start your summer off on the right foot – get to whipping up your own birthday pie.  Just try to be a little more punctual than I was.

Key Lime Pie

Crust:

  1. 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs from about 12 (2 1/4-inch by 4 3/4-inch) crackers
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

  1. 2 large egg whites
  2. 4 large egg yolks
  3. 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  4. 1/2 cup fresh or bottled Key lime juice

Garnish:

  1. 1 cup heavy cream
  2. 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Crust:
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Drizzle with the melted butter and stir until well combined. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until set and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.

Filling:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a large mixing bowl with a whisk or hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. Add the lime juice and whisk until combined. Gently fold in about 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten the mixture then add the remaining egg whites and fold until just evenly combined. Gently spread the mixture in the pre-baked crust and bake until just set in the center, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely then refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

In a medium bowl, combine the heavy cream and sugar and whisk until soft peaks form. Cut the pie into slices and top each with a dollop of whipped cream.*

DO AHEAD: The pie can be baked and stored, covered, in the refrigerator, up to 3 days.

*I like to spread my whipped cream over the top of the pie – if you’re transporting it at all, it’s much easier, and it’s already there so dishing it out later is a cinch.  I also grated a little lime zest over the top to pretty it up, but that’s up to you.

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