Quick—what are your top five favorite desserts? If your list looks like mine, it says:
1. Key lime pie
2. Key lime pie
3. Peach or blackberry cobbler
4. My mom’s chocolate, coffee, and Kahlua bundt cake
5. Key lime pie
Homemade Key lime pie really impresses people, and here’s the secret…it’s embarrassingly easy to make. Like, five ingredients easy (fewer if you omit the lime zest, which I strongly discourage). But it’s SO MUCH BETTER than anything from a restaurant or the store.
There are two essentials to making a good Key lime pie. As the name suggests, you must use Key limes and Key lime juice rather than regular limes and juice. If you use the regular limes, your pie will neither be as delicious as it could be, nor can it technically be called Key lime pie. Key limes are more tart and have more lime flavor than the regular ol’ limes. Trust me on this—nobody wants to eat a regular lime pie. It sounds gross. And if you ever get served a slice of “Key lime” pie that is green, don’t eat it. Step away from the plate and do not eat the pie. Key lime juice is yellow, not green, so any green pies masquerading as Key lime pie are 100% fraudulent.
Whoa. Sorry to get so worked up there.
The second essential is lime zest. Now, the recipe on the bottle of Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice doesn’t have zest in the recipe, but I stuck with the good folks at Southern Living and added zest to my pie. I highly recommend you do the same.
This is the perfect summer dessert…cool, refreshing, tart, and tangy. Cut yourself a big slice before you set it out on the table at a cookout, because I guarantee you that people will scarf down this pie in about 15 minutes. (I speak from experience.)
Key lime pie
from Southern Living; makes 8 to 10 servings, depending on how big your slices are.
1 graham cracker pie crust (store-bought or homemade)
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup Key lime juice (I used Nellie & Joe’s, which was much easier and less messy than juicing 20 Key limes)
2 tsp. (or more) Key lime zest
whipped topping (optional): 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 3 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
If you’re making your own pie crust, do that first. I used this recipe, which was the first one that came up when I googled “graham cracker pie crust.” Basically, throw some graham crackers in the food processor, grind ’em up, and add sugar and melted butter.
Preheat the oven to 350˚. Whisk together egg yolks, lime zest, and juice until well blended.
Add the sweetened condensed milk.
Pour the mixture into the pie crust.
Bake at 350˚ for 15 minutes, or until the pie is set. Cool for about an hour, until it’s cooled completely. Chill for an hour before serving.
For the whipped topping, beat the whipping cream on high until it forms soft peaks. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and top the pie with the sweetened whipped cream.
I had a couple of extra limes so I sliced them as a garnish. (And if you couldn’t tell, the photos in this post were taken from several different pie-making sessions…when I’m short on time, I go for the pre-made, store-bought crust in the two pictures above and below.)
So…what’s been going on with everybody? Summer is going out strong here with weeks and weeks of warm, sunny weather. It’s been a good one…lots of family visiting, a trip up to Orcas Island, Pickathon with Okie BFF Margo, outdoor movies, another flash mob, cookouts, camping over on the Peninsula, farmers markets, concerts, and lots of frozen yogurt. It was hard to say goodbye to Laura Belle a couple of weeks ago when she and her husband left for nine months (!) to travel around South America, but I’ll hopefully see them in the spring down in Buenos Aires! Work has had its ups and downs, but by and large I’m happy where I am. And where I am is…ready for fall. Summer has been great but I’m ready for chilly weather, sweaters and scarves, and football. Lots of football.
Also, if there’s a recipe you really want to see on here, please let me know—I’d love your suggestions!