It seems like, despite the long, long winter, that spring (if not summer) has finally arrived. The sun is shining and it reached (GASP) 81 degrees the other day. And for me, summer means pie. And lots of it. I had a potluck for my swim team and decided to bust out my dad’s favorite…key lime pie. What could be better than crispy crust made of buttery grahams filled with creamy, zesty filling that drips down your chin as you sit outside by the pool. Unfortunately, I was lacking the a) pool, b) the time and c) the pie pan, due to my everything-in-storage-super-small-kitchen situation. So, I forgot about the pool, cleared my schedule, borrowed a pan and bought some sweetened condensed milk.
I mean the only REALLY work-requiring part was smashing the graham crackers. I put them in a sealed gallon-size Ziploc bag, and then whacked it with a wooden spoon. But that was the beginning. It didn’t really work, sooooo…
I jumped on it! Hey, the bag was closed. But it was fun and childish and I (personally) really enjoyed it. So yay!
To finish the crust, I pressed it down with a measuring cup.
The other good thing about key lime pie, is that all of the ingredients are easily found at any supermarket. You don’t even NEED actual key limes. I used regular Persian ones, which worked great. So don’t stress over that, and plus, Annie’s organic grahams worked fine.
And honestly, my hand mixer worked just fine. (I’m still finding life hard without my beloved KitchenAid.)
And though there isn’t much sugar, the sweetened condensed milk takes care of that. So goodbye winter, hello spring and welcome to the world key lime pie!
Key Lime Pie
adapted from smitten kitchen
serves plenty of people, depending on the size of slices.
- 1 1/2 cups (155 grams) finely ground graham cracker crumbs (from about 10 crackers)
- 3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 pinches sea salt
- 7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest
- 3 large egg yolks (though extra-large would do you no harm here)
- 1 14-ounce (396-gram) can sweetened condensed milk
- 2/3 cup (155 ml) fresh lime juice (from about 1 dozen tiny key limes or 4 persian/regular limes)
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered or granulated sugar, to taste
- Extra lime zest, for the top
- Heat oven To 350°F (176°C).
- Make crust: Combine graham crumbs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and stir until mixed. Add butter and stir until crumbs are evenly coated.
- Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a standard 9-inch pie dish. I used the outer edge of a heavy measuring cup to press in neat, firm sides but nobody will be the wiser if you just use your fingertips. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set on cooling rack while you prepare filling. Leave oven on.
- Make filling: Zest limes into the bottom of a medium bowl until you have 1 1/2 tablespoons. DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR LIMES, EVEN AFTER GETTING THE JUICE! Beat zest and egg yolks with an electric mixer until pale and thick, about 5 minutes.
- Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until thickened again, about 3 minutes more. Squeeze zested limes until you have 2/3 cups juice. Whisk into yolk mixture until combined. Pour into graham crust and bake pie for another 10 minutes, until set but not browned on top at all. Let pie cool completely before adding topping — you can do this in your freezer (but don’t forget about it) to hasten the process, and your pie reward, along.
- Make topping: In a medium bowl, beat cream and sugar until soft peaks are formed. Spread over top of chilled pie. Ideally, pie should be chilled at least another 2 to 3 hours with the cream on top so that it can fully set before you take a slice, but whether that happens is between you and your pie. Top with lime zest.
- Key lime pie keeps in fridge for a week. Enjoy!
Keep cooking! 😉