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  • Key Lime Pie, Part One

    Posted by Dan from Madison on September 29th, 2007 (All posts by )

    This is the first of a two part series. Part two is here. Click any photo for larger.

    Before I begin this two part series about Key Lime Pie, I must first and foremost give a tip of the hat to the inspiration for this recipe, Steve H. His original blog post and recipe can be found here and I basically followed it to the number. There are a couple of minor variations, and I took some photos of the process. So lets begin.

    Have you ever ordered key lime pie in a restaurant? It is a complete crapshoot. Sometimes I have been impressed, other times I have eaten two bites and pushed the plate away in disgust. It is probably my favorite dessert. The only problem is that I won’t be ordering it out anymore, as I know I can make better myself. This recipe is so easy just about anyone with basic motor skills can do it.

    First, what exactly is a “key lime”? From the wiki:

    The Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia (often abbreviated to: C. aurantifolia), or Citrus x aurantifolia (Christm.) Swingle), also known as the Mexican lime, West Indian lime or Bartender’s lime, has a globose fruit, 2.5-5 cm in diameter (1-2 in), that is yellow when ripe but usually picked green commercially. It is smaller, seedier, has a higher acidity, a stronger aroma, and a thinner rind than that of the more common Persian lime. It is valued for its unique flavor compared to other limes, with the key lime usually having a more tart and bitter flavor. Named after the Florida Keys, it is best known there as the flavoring ingredient in Key lime pie.

    They are rather smallish compared to a regular (or Persian) lime as you can see in the photo below.

    Below we have a photo of the ingredients you will need. We will go clockwise starting at the pie crust. You will need one of those, along with the key limes, 6 eggs, 8oz heavy cream, two cans of sweetened condensed milk and most importantly that key lime squeezer. Again, hats off to Steve, who recommended it. You can buy it here, for $6.95. Do yourself a favor and buy the standard sized squeezer as well. You can land both at your house for under $20. The first time I made this pie I used standard persian limes (I will comment on this later) you can get anywhere and I squeezed them by hand – never again.

    OK, you will need 1.25 cups of key lime juice so get to work with that squeezer. Here is what it looks like, and it took exactly 32 key limes to get this amount of juice. It goes extremely quickly with the squeezer.

    Strain the juice to remove any seeds or other garbage that fell in there and set aside. Now, put the two cans of condensed milk into a bowl and mix in six egg yolks. After they are mixed in, add the key lime juice and mix that in. It won’t want to go into the milk at first, but it will after about a minute or so.

    Then, dump that into the crust. Steve H. will probably give me the berries for not making my own graham cracker crust. The homemade ones are better, I must admit, but time only allowed me the store bought one. Here is what you have now.

    Pretty easy, eh? Almost done – part two will deal with whipped cream and show the final product.

    Cross posted at LITGM.


    15 Responses to “Key Lime Pie, Part One”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      Looks great! Thanks for sharing.

    2. Dan from Madison Says:

      Jonathan, do me a favor and next time you are at your local market, get me the price on key limes – I am interested to know how badly I got burned on these.

    3. Jonathan Says:

      Will do!

    4. Tatyana Says:

      Bought crust? Two cans of condensed milk? Have you looked at the label, do you know how much sugar is there? Just a look will trigger a heart attack.

      Although, who am I to disapprove. Two weeks ago I baked a Torte [“Pani O. Flourless Nutmeal”], where the recipe asked for 16 eggs, 800g of sugar and 300g of butter…

    5. Dan from Madison Says:

      The crust – I was short on time so had to buy one. Homemade graham cracker crusts are so much better – and better for you (heh).

      As far as the calorie count goes, if I am cooking, I like to do it right. And I usually have very small slices. Really. Promise.

      Your cooking photos were very good on your link there as well.

    6. Dan from Madison Says:

      By the way Tat, on the side of the one plate by the lettuce, is that pickled herring? Love that stuff.

    7. Tatyana Says:

      Yep, Norwegian. Melts in your mouth like butter.

      [waiting for the PartII. There is nothing sexier than A Man In The Kitchen].

    8. Dan from Madison Says:

      Heh, my wife thinks so too. Part two tomorrow.

    9. Tatyana Says:

      …especially when he cleans up the mess after himself.

    10. Jonathan Says:

      $3 for a one pound bag. From Mexico.

    11. Dan from Madison Says:

      Dammit I got creamed ordering those limes in – you will see how bad in the final part.

    12. Dan from Madison Says:

      Whoops, not so fast, I actually paid $15 for a five pound bag, plus freight for 24.95 delivered. I feel much better now.

    13. Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Key Lime Pie, Part Two Says:

      […] Key Lime Pie, Part One […]

    14. Steve H. Graham Says:

      Oh, man. You got hammered on those limes. And you have two Miami connections who could ship them to you.

      You can make a fantastic pie with fresh lemons. A little different, but excellent. You might try mixing lemon juice with Mrs. Biddles, 50% of each. The lemon juice might kill the preservative taste. Also, you can freeze lime juice.

      If you can find a place to put a tree, it will bear all year.

      I use 1 1/4 cups of juice, but if you scale up the recipe from Joe’s Stone Crab, it calls for 1 1/2, so I recommend making 1 1/2, stirring 1 1/4 in, and seeing if you think it’s sour enough.

    15. Dan from Madison Says:

      According to Jonathan I didn’t get “hammered” too badly. He says $3 per one pound bag, I paid $15 for a five pound box – had to pay $10 to get them here though. Will consider the lemon pie as well.

      I have heard that a local grocer (comment in part two) has the key limes here now and will waltz down there sometime this week to see what we have.