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Overcoming Pie Prejudice: Key Lime Pie

May 4, 2011

I don’t care for lemon meringue pie.  (Yes, I did just admit there is a pie I don’t like.)  The lemon portion of the pie is too gelatinous, and the meringue topping too squishy and cloyingly sweet.   Having decided at a tender young age that I would never invite lemon meringue pie to a party, for years I foolishly shunned key lime pie as well.  Little did I know that the dense, creamy texture of key lime pie was more akin to a tangy cheesecake than its distant lemony cousin.  A few years ago, I finally saw the error of my ways, and since then, key lime pie and I have been making up for lost time.  Happily, this pie is not only delicious, it’s also simple to throw together, thanks to a pressed-crumb crust.  Lime and ginger are natural companions, so I prefer to replace the typical graham cracker crust with ground gingersnaps.  Freshly beaten, ginger-infused whipped cream adds a final, extra zing to the tropical tone.  If you’ve never tried key lime pie, then please be advised by my years of silly self-deprivation, and go introduce yourself as soon as possible.

Key Lime Pie with Ginger Accoutrements

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups ground gingersnaps (pulsed in a food processor is quickest)

4 Tbsp butter

For the filling:

4 egg yolks

1 can sweetened, condensed milk

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp fresh key lime juice

1 tsp grated key lime (or regular lime) zest

For the ginger whipped cream:

1 tsp freshly grated ginger with juice

1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1 cup well-chilled whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Use a fork to toss the ground gingersnaps with the melted butter in a medium bowl.

Press the crumbs well into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9″ glass pie plate.

Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely before filling.  (If you don’t let the crust cool completely, it will turn mushy when you pour in the filling.)

Squeeze the key limes.  You can substitute bottled key lime juice, but the resulting pie will be merely very good rather than transcendent.

Let the pie filling ingredients come to room temperature.  Separate the egg whites from the yolks and reserve for another use.  Whisk the yolks with the sweetened, condensed milk until smooth.  Whisk in the key lime juice and lime zest.  Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes, or until center is set.

Let pie cool completely at room temperature before chilling it in the refrigerator (to avoid condensation, which will make the pie soggy).  Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

To make the ginger whipped cream:  Beat the chilled cream with a whisk or an electric beater until thick and fluffy.  Add the sugar and ginger and continue to beat until smooth.

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14 Comments
  1. Stephanie permalink
    May 4, 2011 8:57 am

    ooohh…I hope you shared this with Courtney! :o)

  2. Kori permalink
    May 4, 2011 9:02 am

    I am going to move into your house and live with you and that is all.

  3. May 4, 2011 9:17 am

    Stephanie, I taught Courtney how to make it, and she taught me her spinach-artichoke dip! (That’s the next blog post.) Wish you had been here with us!

  4. May 4, 2011 9:17 am

    Well, we do have plenty of room now! 🙂

  5. May 4, 2011 6:42 pm

    Love love love key lime pie. And I’m with you on the lemon meringue, blech. Now that I live in the south I’m trying to learn to like pecan pie. Love pecans. Hate Pecan Pie. But maybe there will be hope for me at some point.

  6. May 5, 2011 9:04 am

    Bless you! I’m on day ten without sugar, and I’m on the verge of caving in. With the exception of the teeny bit in the whipped cream (which I can totally do without), this has no sugar! YAY – DESSERT FOR ME!

  7. May 5, 2011 1:08 pm

    Uh-oh, Kaye — so sorry to burst that dessert bubble, but “sweetened, condensed milk” is pretty much milk boiled with sugar into a thick, syrupy sludge. No extra sugar needed with that stuff on the ingredient list. Good luck with your detox, and sorry I am not a help with this post!

  8. May 5, 2011 4:50 pm

    Beth, perhaps you just haven’t found the right pecan pie yet. I find the syrup-to-pecan ratio is critical — and I have never been able to make a homemade pecan pie that I liked.

  9. May 8, 2011 4:35 pm

    Well, on that front, I made a Derby Pie this weekend which may now be my favorite pecan pie. I’ve already eaten half of it.

  10. May 8, 2011 6:43 pm

    Oh, grief. I thought I read evaporated milk. DUH!

  11. May 8, 2011 8:03 pm

    Kaye, I like to poach pears for a non-sugar dessert. Poach them in 1:1 wine/water, some ginger slices. If the pears and/or wine are sweet, you don’t need to add sugar. You could also bring back the cheese plate as a final course…another of my favorite things. Some strong cheeses, a few spiced nuts and fresh fruit. Finishes a meal very nicely. Good luck on your efforts!

  12. May 9, 2011 8:42 am

    Those poached pears sound amazing! I like to put ginger in everything I possible can — yum.

  13. May 9, 2011 5:50 pm

    They are so very yummy AND perfect for one person or many since the recipe scales well (I keep those little bottles of wine on hand for when I want to poach just one pear).

    These pears are also my go-to for Christmas dinner dessert. Perfect after a heavy meal (of course we always have some cookies to go with them).

  14. Stephanie permalink
    May 9, 2011 6:07 pm

    I wish I was there too!!!!

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