Overcoming Pie Prejudice: Key Lime Pie
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.