I don’t eat dessert that often, BUT, when I do, I want a nice piece of tart key lime pie. I live in South Florida and I get the chance to eat try Key Lime Pie pretty often, so I know what to look for in an authentic key lime pie. I don’t want to see any meringue (that is not real Key lime pie) and a bunch of random stuff that doesn’t make sense (raspberry sauce, etc). After much recipe testing, here is a key lime pie that you can be proud to serve and say “this is the real deal”.
I made this recipe for my recent “Cook Book Club” meet up where the theme was “Floribbean” and everyone asked for the recipe so I know it was a hit. Also, you should have a brief primer on key lime pie.
Research says that Key lime pie originates from Key West in late 1800s. At this time, Key West didn’t have many cows for milk, there was no refrigeration, but there were key limes, eggs and sweet condensed milk available. Supposedly a woman named Aunt Sally, the cook for Florida’s First Millionaire, William Curry, concocted this recipe. I got this info from a site called Key Largo Sunsets that gives a ton of history on key lime pie.
Also note that the acid from the lime juice combined with the eggs and sweetened condensed milk will cook itself and historically key lime pies were not baked. But, there is this pesky thing called Salmonella and therefore baking is a requirement unless you can find pasteurized eggs.
Note that I was feeling a little sassy and made a ginger snap pie crust that was out of this world but traditional pie crust would be made from graham cracker.
Without further ado, let’s make some Key Lime Pie!
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs OR ginger snap crumbs (I did this and it was delish!!)- you can make these by putting either graham crackers or the ginger snaps in the food processor
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp key lime juice – you must use Key lime juice, I used “Mrs Biddle’s Key West Key Lime Juice (or, the juice of about 18 key limes. I would go with bottled, juicing key limes is a LOT of work!!)
- 1 tbsp lime zest
Preheat oven to 375. Next, melt your butter and then combine it with the graham crucker crumbs in a bowl and mix it to ensure the mixture is uniformly mixed and moistened.
Next, pat the crumbs into a pie plate to form a pretty crust.
Bake the crust in the oven for 12 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.
Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
Separate the yolks into a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs for about 30 seconds with an emulsion or stick blender until they are a little fluffy. Now, add the sweetened condensed milk. Add half of the lime juice and mix everything together for 30 seconds. Next, add the remaining lime juice while mixing and blend until everything is mixed well, about a minute. Add the lime zest at the end and give it a quick mix or stir with a fork.
Pour the filling into the crust and bake it at 325 for 15-17 minutes, or until it appears to be set. (it doesn’t need to baked that long, you are essentially just cooking the eggs).
Chill in the refrigerator as long as you can stand not to eat it! It’s great on it’s own, but if you must a little whipped cream is a nice addition too.
Experience Key Lime Pie Bliss!