I feel certain that I’ve mentioned this here before, but just in case I haven’t – despite my love for baking, I am not a HUGE sweets person. Now, I am not saying that I’ll turn down a freshly baked, chewy cookie (I’m not INSANE), but more often than not, my cravings tend to be for salty things. If someone presented me with a bowl of cookies and cream ice cream and a plate of hot, salty french fries as my dessert options, I’d choose the french fries 9 times out of ten (or, more accurately, I would steal both, run away, and hide in the corner dipping my french fries INTO said ice cream. JUDGE ME IF YOU MUST)!
Anyways, I think this preference for salty things has inspired my love for tart or sour desserts. Anything that involves lemon or lime, I’m all over it. So it should come as no shock that one of my very, very favorite desserts (especially in the summer) is key lime pie. Of course, I am very picky about my key lime pie (please pretend to be surprised); I want the crust to be slightly sweet, but not overwhelmingly so, and I want it to be slightly crumbly, and not too hard. I can’t stand a key lime pie that is fluffy and light; in my mind, it should be dense and custardy.
Luckily for me, key lime pie is REALLY easy to make, it requires just a few ingredients, and it’s custardy and tart and slightly sweet and delicious. And all your friends will think you are some sort of culinary genius after they taste it, promise.
(Two brief side notes: please make your own graham cracker crust. It takes approximately 14 seconds, and it tastes WORLDS better than a pre-made crust. I won’t even ask you to crush up your own graham crackers! You can feel free to buy the box of graham cracker crumbs, and use that. Secondly, either squeeze your own lime juice, or buy a bottled lime juice that is ACTUAL, 100% juice. For the love of all things holy, do not buy that junk in the little plastic lime.)
Key Lime pie
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 T sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
For the filling:
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (please use full fat)
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup key lime juice or regular lime juice
1.) First, we’ll make the crust. Preheat your oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. Mix well with a fork, until everything is combined.
2.) Dumb your crust mixture into a 9″ pie pan (NOT a deep dish one – I have made this mistake before). Using your hands, gently press the crust mixture into the bottom of the pan, and up the sides, spreading it out as evenly as you can. It will likely stay a bit crumbly around the edges, but that’s no big deal.
3.) Bake your crust in the oven for about 8 minutes, until it’s just golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool completely before filling.
4.) While your crust is cooling, go ahead and make your filling (you can leave your oven on, at 350°). Put the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, and lime juice into a mixing bowl, and whisk together well. It will take a minute for everything to come together and smooth out, but just keep whisking until you have a lovely, thick custard mixture.
5.) Pour your custard into the cooled pie crust, and gently wiggle the pie pan around so that it’s all evenly distributed. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.
6.) Remove the pie from the oven, and allow it to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then refrigerate. You’ll want to refrigerate the pie until it’s nice and cold before serving – at least a couple hours, but you can keep it in there overnight as well. If you are going to leave it in the fridge for more than a couple hours, I’d cover the pan with some plastic wrap, so that you don’t lose too much moisture from the pie.
If you want to get fancy, you can add whipped cream to the top of your pie (either scoop it onto the slices as you serve, or you can pipe it on in a pretty way beforehand), or some candied lime zest, or some tiny key lime slices for decoration. I prefer to just get straight into the lime-y deliciousness of the custard, but that’s just me.
I should’ve eaten a slice for breakfast,