Best Key Lime Pie


Lime Filling:
4 teaspoons lime zest
1/2 cup strained lime juice (from 3 or 4 limes)
9 graham crackers (5 oz), broken into rough pieces
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and warm
3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/2 inch lime sliced paper thin and dipped sugar (optional)


For The Filling: whisk the zest and yolks in a medium nonreactive bowl until tinted light green, about 2 minutes.
Beat in the milk, then juice; set aside at room temperature to thicken ( about 30 minutes).
For The Crust: adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a food processor, process the graham crackers until evenly fine, about 30 seconds (you should have about 1 cup crumbs). Add the sugar and pulse to combine.
Continue to pulse while adding the warm melted butter in a steady stream; pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand.
Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch glass pie plate; evenly press the crumbs into the pie plate, using your thumb and a 1/2 cup measuring cup to square off the top of the crust.
Bake the crust until it is fragrant and beginning to brown, 15 to 18 minutes; transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
Pour the lime filling into the crust; bake until the center is set, yet wiggly when jiggled, 15 to 17 minutes.
Return the pie to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours.
For The Whipped Cream: Up to 2 hours before serving, whip the cream in the chilled bowl of an electric mixer to form very soft peaks.
Adding the confectioners’ sugar 1 TB at a time, continue whipping to just stiff peaks.
Decoratively pipe the whipped cream evenly with a rubber spatula. Garnish with optional sugared lime slices and serve.




Last night, I made a key lime pie for a friend’s birthday. The recipe was from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book. It was wonderful. It was gone within 5 minutes, and we were scraping the pie pan.

The pie was baked instead of a mix-and-chill recipe, which makes a sizable difference. The baked pie was creamy, thick, pungent and complex, probably because the heat of the oven released the flavorful oils in the lime zest. The filling is very tart and must be offset with a sweetened whipped cream

The pie can be covered directly with lightly oiled or oil-sprayed plastic wrap and refrigerated (up to 1 day.)




Monday, April 19, 2010 - 1:24pm


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