This is one of my favorite summer desserts to make for any occasion. It's so tasty, and "fresh," and it's surprising how many people have never had a real key lime pie. Keep your eyes peeled for real key limes, they're little and round, not like the limes you're used to seeing. You can sometimes find real key lime juice in a bottle, but it's not the same as fresh squeezed, so wait until you find the real limes in season. Our supermarket sells them in a little green mesh bag and there just happens to be enough juice in those limes to make two pies. I usually make one pie, and freeze the juice for the second pie. I know this will quickly become a favorite.
The Crust Ingredients
1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp. unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
3 tbsp.granular sugar (I use organic, to help make this healthy.)
The Pie Ingredients
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
1/2 cup key lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp. key lime zest
4 large egg yolks
The Pie Topping
1 1/2 cups of whipping cream
2 tbsp. icing / powdered sugar
1 tsp. key lime zest for garnish
Tips for getting every last drop of juice out:
See how little and round the limes are? You can use a regular wooden or glass citrus juicer, but my mom figured out that the garlic masher from Tupperware holds half a key lime perfectly. This handy tool makes squeezing those little guys fast and easy.
I usually get 1 cup of juice from squeezing all of the limes in the bag, but if you don't and you're just shy of one cup, top up the juice with water to measure 1 cup. You won't be adding a lot of water, it will be just a little bit. Use 1/2 cup of the juice for this pie, and then freeze the other half a cup for another. If you buy limes individually, keep going until you get 1/2 cup of juice for your pie. Don't forget to get zest off of the limes.
This is how many limes I had to squeeze to get one cup. I didn't count them before I started, but I hope this helps to give you an idea of how many you will need. At my market the bag of limes is about $2.99.
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees to bake the crust.
2. In a medium bowl, using a fork, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar until evenly blended. Press firmly and evenly, into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake until lightly browned, about 12 - 14 minutes. Remove from the oven to a wire rack and cool completely.
3. Reduce the heat in the oven to 325 degrees.
4. In a medium bowl, gently whisk together the condensed milk, egg yolks, key lime juice, and zest. Gently, gently, gently mix them together until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture into the cooled crust.
5. Bake the pie until the center is set but still quivers when you give it a little nudge, about 15 - 17 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
6. Before serving, whip the cream, gradually adding the icing / powdered sugar. Taste it to make sure it's sweet enough - I have been known to add more than the amount in the recipe. Whip the cream on a medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the cream over the pie and and garnish with a bit of zest. Chill the pie in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or the freezer for about 10 minutes before serving.
This is sure to impress - it's a really lovely summer treat. Enjoy.
Oh one more thing: I have used this same filling to make little key lime tarts. Instead of a graham cracker crust, just drop a vanilla wafer cookie into the bottom of a small cupcake liner and pour the filling over top. Once baked and cooled, top off with the sweetened whipping cream. Heavenly!