Friday, August 31, 2007

Key Lime Pie

key lime pie
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Jake loves all things key lime pie, but had never tasted one until today.

His love affair started with some key lime flavored yogurt I had picked up a while ago. He asked to try it and it was love at first spoonful. When went on vacation we stopped at a local ice cream shack he tried some key lime pie ice cream. Jake announced that it was the best flavor he had ever had.

Then I brought home a book from the library, Key Lime Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke. Jake immediately noticed that it was mystery book with recipes. His first question to me about the book was "Does it tell you how to make key lime pie?"

Why yes it does and to make my eldest happy I decided to give it a shot. Before I returned the book I copied down the recipe, then it was off to go find key limes. Jake had noticed them at our local Walmart a few weeks ago and they still had some in stock.

The limes are tiny little things and wasn't sure how juicy they would be. My guess was that one little bag would suffice, but to be safe (and at two bucks a bag, it was no big deal) I grabbed a second bag. It turned out my gut instinct was right, but we don't mind having the extra limes.

Anyway here is an abridged version of the recipe:

The Crust:

Any graham or cookie crumb crust will do. I debated between graham and shortbread. In the end I used my basic graham cracker crust.

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix together in the pie plate then press to the mixture into the bottom and sides to form the crust. Place in the fridge to set the crust.

The filling:
5 eggs
14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (do not use lime zest. It's far too bitter)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup lime juice*
1/4 sugar

Add one egg into a medium sized mixing bowl. Separate the remaining four eggs, reserve the whites in another bowl at room temperature. Whisk the 4 yolks into the egg in the first bowl. Stir in the can of sweetened condensed into the whisked yolks and egg. Add lemon zest and sour cream to the mixture and set the bowl aside. Pour the key lime juice into a small bowl and then add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Now add the sugar key lime juice to the egg mixture and whisk. Pour the filling into the crust and bake at 325 F for 20 minutes. Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the pie from the oven and set it on a rack to wait for the meringue. Do not turn the oven off! Instead turn it up to 350 F.
* That worked out to be 15 limes. If key limes can not be found, frozen key lime juice or regular limes will do in a pinch.

The Meringue

4 egg whites reserved from above
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar

Add the cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites and mix in. Beat the whites at high until soft peaks are formed. While still beating, slowly add the sugar. Then continue until firm peaks are formed. One way to check the meringue is to stop mixing and tip the bowl. If the meringue stays in place and not slide down the sides of the bowl. Spread the meringue over the filling and bake the pie at 350 f for 12 minutes. Chill the pie before slicing.

Except for juicing the wee little limes, the pie was a snap to make. Larry, Jake and I thought the pie was terrific. Max only liked the meringue, he quickly peeled it off and ate it. Nate and Rebecca did not care for the pie and ended up with something else for dessert.

This one is definitely a keeper, next time I'll try a short bread cookie crust.

Oh and I have to warn you, the pie's filling is not green, instead it is a golden tan color. The only time the filling is green is when food coloring is added.

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