Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Key Lime Pie

John and I are great lovers of key lime pie, and, for a funny reason I won't divulge here, it has special significance to us, so when John's mom brought some limes on a summer visit, I set some aside for this pie. Although some recipes I've made are in reality lime-meringue pie (a kissing cousin to this), this recipe is the genuine article, which, according to Martha, has changed very little in the years since it was first created, although the ratio of condensed milk to lime juice varies slightly. It's only too bad I use regular limes in these pies instead of tiny key limes. I love citrus pies: lime meringue, lemon meringue, orange meringue (someday), but Key Lime pie takes the cake...er, pie....for me.

The filling is perfectly tart-sweet, with the balance slightly in favor of tart.  Creamy and addictive, I find it hard to resist eating it all as I spoon it into the crust.  If you have similar weaknesses, may I suggest you exercise control, because it tastes even dreamier layered between graham cracker crust and freshly whipped cream. 

Now I want to go make myself a pie for breakfast.

Key Lime Pie

Prepare a graham cracker crust.
-6 oz. graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
-2 tbsp. sugar
-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
-2 and 1/2 oz. butter, melted
Mix the above and spread into a lightly-greased 9" pie plate.

Bake the crust in a 325-degree oven for five minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

-1 and 3/4 cups canned sweetened condensed milk*
-1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
-finely grated zest of 3 limes
-4 egg yolks

*Yup, you read that right.  Easy CANNED ingredient!  It's okay, though.  Remember, Martha says so.

-Heavy cream, for whipping, at least a half-pint.
-Sugar, to lightly sweeten the whipped cream

Beat the condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest, and egg yolks together in a bowl until well blended. Remove the crumb crust from the oven, pour the filling into the crumb crust, and spread out to the edge. Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until the filling is set around the edge but still wobbly in the center.

Let cool completely on a wire rack, then cover and let chill for at least two hours. Prepare the whipped cream:  you know, whip and whip and add sugar, a leetle bit at a time, until you're satisfied.  This means you'll have to taste the whipped cream, probably repeatedly-- DEFINITELY repeatedly-- to make sure.  

Serve pie spread thickly with whipped cream.  Garnish with additional lime zest if desired.

*I've also frozen this by the slice and enjoyed it as icy key-lime pie.

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