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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Summer Fruit Crisp

Oh, how I’ve missed my little blog!  What with surprise out of town visitors (twice in one month, no less), a visit to the lake, a very scary but thankfully minor illness for one very special little Bassett Hound, and myriad other last minute activities, I’ve been so wrapped up in trying to get enough sleep that I haven’t had time to tell you about all of the wonderful things I’ve been making.  I just couldn’t bear it any longer though, especially with this wonderful little summer dessert to share with you.  Although, if I’m honest with you, I’ll admit that I ate a little of this for breakfast a few times, and also as a snack – it’s really very versatile, and so good that you’ll want to take a spoonful every time you open the fridge and remember it’s in there.  I’m really very proud of this dish for another reason as well – I made it up all on my own without using a recipe!  It is a crisp, and so simple to make that if you’ve made one before you can probably make one again without any help, but that doesn’t make me feel any less accomplished.  It turned out beautifully, and I hope some of you will attempt to make something “free-style” and enjoy the results as much as I did.

This dish came about because, as so often happens at my house, I had bought some fruit and then promptly forgotten about it.  Actually, I bought Rainier Cherries for the first time on the recommendation of a friend and did not eat them quickly enough – although I have no idea why since they are so delicious.  Not at all like other cherry varieties, most of which I don’t care much for.  They were sort of sweet and tangy, but with a mild flavor.  I loved them, and will definitely buy them again next summer when they are back in season. Also, I had picked blueberries from my Mama’s bushes that needed to be used (or frozen, but really it seems like such a waste to freeze something that tastes so darn good fresh), and I had bought more peaches that were sitting on the counter waiting to be used.  Since I had all of this fruit laying around I decided to dump it all together and make a crisp…really it was the only thing I could think of that would allow me combine all my fruit and still taste good.  I peeled my peaches and sliced them, and pitted my cherries, then mixed them with the blueberries in a large bowl with a couple tablespoons of flour and about half a cup of sugar – but you can certainly adjust the sugar depending on the sweetness of your fruit, and how sweet you like your crisps to be.  I let that sit for a minute while I buttered my baking dish then I poured it all in and let it cook in a 350° for about 45 minutes.

I stirred it a couple of times while it was baking, and when it was all bubbly (and mine was very purple from all the blueberries) I pulled it out to put the topping on.  I made a topping that I’m very familiar with – it’s based on the one that my mama puts on her sweet potato souffle at Thanksgiving – I just adjusted the amounts to get what I wanted to cover my fruit.  I started with equal amounts of flour and brown sugar, but I’ll admit that I added a little extra sugar because I like the topping so much. I also added rolled oats, for a little crunch, and some cinnamon and ginger because I wanted to.  Then you drizzle the lot with melted butter, mix thoroughly, and pour evenly over the top of your crisp.  Bake the whole thing again for 18-20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown, and Voila! Summer Fruit Crisp.   I was really pleased with the flavor of mine – It was not too sweet, just a little tart, and altogether perfect.  The cherries stayed somewhat firm after being cooked, so they added texture as well as flavor to the dish, and I think that was my favorite part.  The peaches were soft and sweet, the blueberries tart, and the cherries just brought everything together by being the middle ground between the other two.

As I mentioned earlier, crisps are really very basic and are one of the most easily adaptable recipes out there.  You can use just about any fruit to make one, and it is completely appropriate to eat at almost any time of day – warm with ice cream for dessert, or cold for breakfast, etc.  This particular crisp is going to be a favorite of mine, I can already tell.  Since it contains peaches, which I consider to be the very essence of summertime, and my new favorite fruit, Rainier Cherries, I think I will probably be making it for many summers to come. Enjoy!

Summer Fruit Crisp

  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into slices
  • 1 pint Rainier Cherries, pitted and halved
  • aprox 2 cups blueberries *
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
For the Topping:
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar *
  • 3/4 – 1 cup rolled oats *
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6-8 tbsp melted butter *
  1. preheat oven to 350°
  2. Toss fruit, sugar and 2 tbsp flour in large bowl to combine.  Butter an 8×8 square baking dish. Transfer fruit to dish and bake for aprox 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fruit is bubbly. Remove fruit from oven and increase temp to 400°.
  3. While fruit is cooking, mix the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, ginger, and salt together.  Drizzle with the melted butter and mix.
  4. Pour topping evenly over fruit and return to oven for 18-20 more minutes, or until topping is golden brown.  Cool slightly and serve.
* For these ingredients I used approximate values because I really just used whatever I though was appropriate and didn’t measure as exactly as I should.  For the blueberries, I just had a bag and poured most of them in.  For the brown sugar, I started with that amount, but added a little (I probably had about a cup total). I like the oats, because they make the topping crunchy, but you can omit them if you want, or add more to your taste.  For the melted butter I used enough to moisten the other ingredients and make them a little sticky, but not enough for them all to make one big clump.
Play around with it.  Use other fruits if you have them, or change the seasonings in the topping to suit you…that’s what I enjoyed most about it.  And by all means, if you do change it, please let me know how it turns out!