Key lime pie is often thought of as a summer pie, probably because it is so light and refreshing. Actually, citrus fruits come into season in the late autumn and winter, so this is the perfect time to make a Key lime pie.
Ripe Key limes are yellow, not green. If you decide to use fresh Key limes, you can add an extra touch by putting a bit of lime zest into your pie filling.
Until recently, I used fresh Key limes. That is a lot of work, and helps me to understand why Key lime pie is expensive in restaurants — it is very labor intensive. There is nothing wrong with using bottled Key lime juice. Just be sure to purchase the best you can get, and be sure it is not imitation juice, or made from concentrate. It’s just not worth it to compromise on flavor, and you can’t be sure what is in all those imitation products. The brand I have found to be reliable is Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice. One bottle contains 16 ounces, enough to make two pies. If you use only half of the contents, be sure to keep the rest refrigerated.
Key Lime Pie Recipe
- 1 & 1/4 cup Graham cracker crumbs (one of the individually wrapped packages inside the box equals 1-1/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted (vegan butter works fine)
- Combine Graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. (If your crust doesn’t hold together as well as you want, add a little more melted butter.
- Press mixture into pie plate.
- Bake for 10 minutes ate 350 F. (It will be only partially baked.)
- Set aside to cool.
- 1 cup Key lime juice
- 2 14-ounce cans of Eagle Brand milk — or any sweetened, condensed milk. I use one can of the original formula and one can of fat-free.
- In an electric mixer, combine milk and lime juice.
- Pour the mixture into partially baked pie crust.
Meringue with a Twist:
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon Key lime juice
- In a glass or stainless steel bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until thick and foamy.
- Gradually add sugar, cream of tartar and lime juice while beating.
- Continue to beat on high speed until mixture will form peaks.
- Spread meringue over pie filling, being sure it completely covers the filling.
- Bake at 325 for 25 – 30 minutes, depending on your oven. (This will finish baking the crust.)
- Chill for 8 hours before serving.
Make the Crust — or Buy a Crust?
The last few times I made this pie, I used a ready-made Graham cracker crust. Every time, when I opened the package, the crust was broken. So, I have returned to making my own pie crust. Another plus to making my own is that it will be easier to take a slice of pie from my glass pie pan than the aluminum foil pan the ready-made crusts are in, because the little folded-over edge of the foil pan is always a problem.