key lime pie

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KEY! LIME! PIE! A pie with no season, a timeless pie, my personal favorite pie. If pressed to think of a more perfect dessert, I simply could not. While most key lime pies defer to sweetness over tanginess, this one is decidedly “limey”, which is its best asset, IMO (it was once described by one person as “too limey”, but I dismissed this critique and absorbed it as a compliment!). It is also vaguely tropical (thank you, coconut oil in the crust), has a very healthy ratio of crust to filling, and is topped with a tangy (+1 more tanginess) whipped yogurt/cream combo.

I should also mention that while you could choose to use both a food processor (crust) and a hand/stand mixer (filling/topping) for this pie, I am pleased to report you don’t need either to properly execute this perfect food.

This video is 18 minutes long which is strange because there are so few ingredients and it’s all pretty straightforward, but as you’ll see, we were cursed with some BAD LIMES (you’ve been there).

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’VE GOT BAD LIMES:

  • massage the lime on a table to help it become juicier (?)

  • become tired, outsource the massaging/juicing to a friend

  • get frustrated with the whole process

  • use a fork/reamer to help extract the juice

  • get rid of the fork, it hurts your hand, doesn’t seem effective

  • 48 minutes later, have one cup of lime juice

KEY LIME PIE

serves 8-10

This recipe was first published in Dining In (which will be 4 years old this year 🥺), and honestly, there’s not one change I would wish to make. This is constantly a go-to, a crowd-pleaser (except for the one person who doesn’t like limes, I guess!), wonderful 365 days a year, ideal when there’s no seasonal fruit to be had, and perfect for transportation and outdoor soirées. I’ve even made this as a “bar” in a sheet pan, and frankly, it pleased me. I would not use bottled lime juice here, it really changes the flavor and acidity of the whole thing and I can’t say the results would be as flawless.

FOR THE CRUST
10 graham crackers (about 11⁄4 sleeves, depending on the brand)
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons (1⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
FOR THE FILLING AND TOPPING
4 large egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest, plus more for garnish
1 cup fresh lime juice (from 8 to 10 limes)
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream

1. MAKE THE CRUST: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Smash the graham crackers with your hands until you’ve got coarse crumbs. You can also use a food processor, but I like to do this with my hands to control the size of the crumb. Be sure you’ve got a few larger crumbs in there for some good texture, but nothing should be bigger than a lentil. Mix these crumbs with the coconut oil, butter, granulated sugar, and salt until you’ve got really moist crumbs, almost like wet sand.

3. Press the crumbs into a 9-inch pie plate and bake until the crust starts to lightly brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

4. MAKE THE FILLING: In a large bowl, vigorously whisk the egg yolks until they’re pale and fluffy, just a few minutes. Add the sweetened condensed milk and whisk a few more minutes, until the mixture is light and airy. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the lime zest and lime juice (if you use a whisk, all the bits of lime zest get caught in there, and I hate that). Add the salt for good measure. Pour this into your partially baked crust and return it to the oven to bake another 20 to 25 minutes. The center should barely jiggle; FYI, the top should not brown, so keep an eye on it.

5. Remove the pie and let it cool completely—like, so completely you might want to put it in the refrigerator. Actually, just put it in the refrigerator.

6. MAKE THE TOPPING: When it’s time to serve this magical key lime pie, whip the cream. Using a whisk and a large bowl, whip the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar together until they’ve achieved medium peaks (this means that it will basically stand up on the ends of the whisk); you can also do this with an electric mixer if you like. Whisk in the yogurt (no need to fold, the cream should hold up), then swirl that all over the top of the pie, as high or decoratively as you please.

7. Zest some lime over the top of the whole thing, because that just looks so damn lovely (I clearly skipped this part, but another cool thing is to take any rogue crumbs and sprinkle those over the top, too).