If you are planning to serve dessert to a mere 27 people this holiday weekend, you may have some leftover pie. Not a big problem, but still. Fair warning.
As a kid, I had the perfect slice of key lime pie while in the Florida keys. I’ve been chasing that moment ever since. That first creamy-crunchy sweet-n-sour bite. I’m comin’ to get you, sucka.
Key limes are brighter and more tart than conventional limes. They are mighty fine. But if you can’t find key limes, stop yer cryin’. Chin up! Just use equal parts juice from lemons and conventional limes. And call it Key Lime Pie. Or call it pie. Just be sure to call it. Or it won’t know to come, and then you’ve got a problem.
Have you ever juiced a key lime? Key limes are small, for limes. And they have pits, the little devils. Take it from me, and don’t try using a citrus reamer. You’ll look ridiculous. Just slice the little guys in half, and squeeze ’em as hard as you can with your fingers over a bowl. Then strain out the pits and any pulp.
Oh, and you’re going to need some GF ‘Nilla Wafers. Or some other crunchy GF cookie. There is a recipe for GF Graham Crackers in my cookbook. You could use that to great success. But to be honest, I prefer key lime pie with a ‘nilla cookie crust. It kills with the ‘nilla cookie crust.
Here’s how it goes down. You mix up the crumbs with some melted butter and a bit of sugar, and press them into a greased pie plate. I like to use a plastic bag over my hand to do the pressing of the crust. Safety first.
Blind bake the crust, and allow it to cool. Then make the simple filling, mixing lime juice with sweetened condensed milk and a few egg yolks, pour it into the cooled crust, bake, and voilà.
With each bite, we tell Summer bye-bye. I love your pies. I enjoy your fruits and veg. But it’s time for you to go. I’m ready for warm apples and hot toddies. Except I’ve never had a hot toddy. But the point is — the point is that I’m ready for anything.
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 cup (8 fluid ounces) key lime juice (juice of about 2 pounds key limes)*
4 egg yolks (100 g), lightly beaten
2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
*If you don’t have key limes, substitute 1/2 cup freshly squeezed conventional lime juice + 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Grease well a 9-inch pie plate and set it aside. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
In a medium-sized bowl, place the ‘nilla wafer crumbs, sugar, butter and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, and mix until the crumbs are moist and begin to hold together. Scrape the crust into the prepared pie plate and, with a plastic sandwich bag over your hand to prevent the crust from sticking to your hand, press the crust firmly and evenly over the bottom of the pie plate, and halfway up the sides. Place a piece of parchment paper over the top of the crust, and scatter pie weights (dried beans or raw rice will do just fine) over the surface atop the parchment paper. Place the pie crust into the center of the preheated oven and bake for 7 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven and allow to cool. Once the crust is nearly cooled, carefully lift the parchment paper with the weights off of the crust. Place the crust in the refrigerator or freezer to cool to at least room temperature. While the crust is cooling, make the filling. In a large bowl, place the lime juice, egg yolks, condensed milk and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, and whisk until smooth. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Tap the pie plate flat on the counter a few times to break any air bubbles that have formed.
Place the pie in the center of 375°F oven, and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the filling is set and the edges have begun to caramelize. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and place in the refrigerator and cool at least 2 hours or up to overnight before slicing and serving. Serve chilled, with a lime wedge, and a dollop of whipped cream.