Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Key

At this point, you could call key lime pie my signature dessert. I adore key lime pie for more than its ridiculously easy preparation. Key lime pie is both classic and unexpected; the smooth filling is both rich and refreshing. Seriously perfect is the only way to describe key lime pie. The only difficulty is that it never leaves leftovers for me to eat myself. I solved that problem for my mom's party this weekend. The guest list was large, so even though I knew there would be many desserts, I made three key lime pies. I brought one after another out of the fridge, weaving through the clusters of guests in the garden to place the pie on the dessert table. The pies disappeared, proof that my favorite dessert is as good as it looks.

Key Lime Pie
Gourmet, May 2003

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs*
2 T sugar
5 T melted butter

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 T key lime juice**

Heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350.

Stir together the crust ingredients with a fork. Press the sandy mixture onto the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then let it cool.

While the crust is baking, separate your eggs. Whisk together the condensed milk and the yolks. Add the lime juice and whisk well.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake the pie for 15 minutes. Cool the pie on a rack. When it is completely cool, put it in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

Just before serving, beat the heavy cream. Decorate the top of the pie with whipped cream*** and serve with generous amounts of cream.

*Put the crackers inside a large ziplock bag, close it well, and crush them with a rolling pin.
**Using bottled key lime juice is the easiest and tastiest option. Key limes are often available at the grocery store, but juicing them is extremely annoying and they can give a slight bitter taste to the pie. If you can't find key limes or key lime juice, you can use regular limes, but then it's just a lime pie and the name doesn't have the same ring.
***To make the July 4 American flag pie you see above, I mixed a small dollop of cream with strawberry juice to die it pink. I alternated stripes of plain whipped cream and strawberry cream, then arranged blueberries as stars.

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