Pie Of The Month - Key Lime Pie - Everyday Baking Blog at Allrecipes.com - 98211

Everyday Baking

Pie of the Month - Key Lime Pie 
May 28, 2009 11:02 am 
Updated: Aug. 6, 2009 10:13 pm
I'm a fruit pie kind of guy, myself. I haven't made a Key lime pie in years—and I haven't been to Florida lately to sample the local versions. But when I thought about what kind of pies to make every month for a year, I wanted a nice assortment of cream pies, custard pies, and fruit pies. Since it's still too early in the season for strawberries, I thought I'd make a Key lime pie for May.

Holy sweetened condensed milk-giving cow! I may have a new favorite dessert.

I made two pies: one to give away—the best-looking one—and the Quality Control pie that I get to eat. Because I was baking this for a fundraiser winner, I wanted to fancy it up a little and expend more effort than I normally would on this type of pie.

I made this Honey Graham Crackers recipe just to pulverize the crackers into graham cracker crumbs for the crust. The recipe is great, and made enough crackers for both pie crusts with plenty of graham crackers left over for snacking. I baked the crusts and let them cool while I made the lime custard.

For two pies' worth of filling, I used about two pounds of Key limes. Squeezing those little buggers is a labor of love, even using a garlic press, but the flavor of the fresh juice in the pie was outstanding. I modified the recipe for Easy Key Lime Pie I, making three batches of filling for the two pies, because I wanted plenty of filling. (Yeah, that's a total of 1½ cups of Key lime juice!) I didn't want to have all of those egg whites left over, so I used a technique from the "Easy Key Lime Pie II" recipe: I beat some of the whites until stiff and folded them into the filling to lighten the texture. For my big batch of filling, I used 12 yolks and 8 egg whites. I added about a teaspoon of grated Key lime zest (I used a microplaner, for finer shreds), baked the pies as directed, and let them chill overnight.

[A note about folding in meringue or egg whites: beat them until they've reached medium-stiff peaks. By folding in the meringue, you're working it a bit more, and if the whites are dry and stiff and overbeaten, they're very difficult to incorporate. You end up with little islands of beaten egg white in your beautiful filling. Start by folding one third of the egg whites into the filling—the light mixture into the heavy mixture—using a big whisk or rubber spatula. Once that's fully incorporated, fold in the remaining meringue.]

To garnish the pie, I zested three regular limes (Persian limes) and candied the zest. I used a zesting tool, the kind bartenders use, rather than a microplaner because it gives you long, sturdy shreds that hold up to the cooking process. I zested one of my knuckles as well; you'd be surprised at how much force you're using to work that tool!
And last of all, I made a stabilized whipped cream: sweetened whipped cream with a little melted gelatin added, so that the rosettes I was piping would hold their shape all day (and longer). This is a great recipe if you're using whipped cream to frost a cake, or are making strawberry shortcakes ahead of time and don't want the cream to slump.
Before you make the whipped cream, have everything ready to go: your chilled pie, any garnish (berries, chocolate shavings, or—in this case—lime zest), and most importantly, your piping bag with the decorating tip in place. Once the gelatin is added to the cool whipped cream, you've got a limited amount of time before it starts to set and becomes more difficult to work with.
I piped rosettes using a star tip, and added shreds of the candied lime peel that I'd patted dry on paper towels. I ate a slice of the Quality Control pie for breakfast, before bringing the gift pie in to work: absolute heaven! Tart, tangy, creamy, and delicious, with a buttery crispy crust—everything a Key lime pie should be.
Slice of Easy Key Lime Pie I
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Candied zest of regular (Persian) limes
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Zested & cut limes
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Piping rosettes of stabilized whipped cream
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Easy Key Lime Pie I: I used 1½ times the filling amount, for a nice big pie.
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May 28, 2009 1:24 pm
*speechless* [When I find the words that properly express how insanely beautiful your pie looks, I'll write them down. Until then, fill this placeholder with all the pie praise you ever hoped to hear.]
May 28, 2009 1:44 pm
Thanks! I have to say, I really impressed myself with this one. :)
May 28, 2009 2:02 pm
OMG. LOVE your pictures. I've only ever made key lime pie once. But looking at these pics, I have to try another this summer. Cheers!
May 28, 2009 2:07 pm
Key lime is one of our all time favorites and you have done it proud...fyi, I voted for your pictures yesterday and haven't even looked to see if they are there again today but since this has become a family voting event, I can't look until tonight, but rest assured, if they are there, I'm voting.
May 28, 2009 2:20 pm
Yum, yum, yum!
May 28, 2009 2:21 pm
(I voted for my own photos yesterday, too. What? Oh, c'mon, everybody does it!) I actually bought two bags of Key limes from a produce stand, so I've got some leftover limes just begging to be made into another pie. And I just bought another can of sweetened condensed milk. ;)
May 28, 2009 5:21 pm
Beautiful!!! I love key lime pie and your pictures look fantastic!
May 28, 2009 9:07 pm
I love key lime pies. Love the pics.
May 28, 2009 9:59 pm
Sounds good, Frances. When can we expect that next pie?
May 31, 2009 9:07 pm
Just how many key limes does it take to make 1 1/2 cups of juice? I don't think I'd be able to use the KA juicer attachment for that. The pie looks delicious. I can honestly say I've never really tasted a key lime pie, but I would love to. My mother tried to make one once. I'm not sure what went wrong, but it ended up in the freezer. It was pretty hard to eat. Back then, the only lime juice available was in the little green plastic limes - you know the ones. They claim to be "real" juice. I don't ever remember seeing limes or even lemons in the produce department as a kid. But maybe that's just because we never bought them (those little plastic fruits subbed for everything.) Me, I prefer to squeeze the juice myself. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pie with us! Can't wait for the next one!
Aug. 6, 2009 10:13 pm
Thanks for this detailed blog. I'm also the type who'd make graham crackers from scratch for such a pie. I appreciate the links, & the stabilized cream info. ~~~ Do you ever peruse AR's Recipe Exchange? It'd be nice to have your input!
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I am thrilled to be able to combine my love of the written word with my passion for food in my job at Allrecipes.com. I have a background in publishing and in the food service industry, both "front of the house" and back. I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry program and have worked as a baker and pastry cook in Wisconsin, for a season at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and at bakeries in Seattle.
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My baking career really began when I was in first grade and my family was living in Germany. Every morning my father and I would walk to the local bakery for bread and an afternoon treat, like Apfelkuchen. I love dark sour breads, baking anything with yeast in it, and anything that requires hours of patient work, like croissant and Danish doughs.
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Food we ate while camping. Animal pancakes. My mom's meatloaf. My grandfather's breakfasts.
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I think a baker's real triumph is getting to work at 4 am, day in and day out, so that there are beautiful pastries and loaves of bread on display when the bakery opens three hours later. A personal triumph was making my own wedding cake.
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