Traditional Key Lime Pie has a serious cult following to the extent that fans argue over exactly how it has to be made. Graham cracker crust or pastry crust? Key limes, which are more tart and aromatic, are a must over their larger cousin the Persian lime more readily found in the supermarket in the states. You have to use canned sweetened condensed milk since fresh milk was not a common commodity in the Florida Keys before modern refrigerated distribution methods. The filling is basically key lime juice, egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. The original version uses the egg whites for a meringue topping over the more often found whipped cream topping of today. Fishermen off the islands of Key West would spend days on a boat and would store food on board that would not spoil without refrigeration. They kept things like limes to prevent scurvy, eggs and canned milk. So they often made this familiar island treat that did not require baking, which is why the original version was never baked. The acidic lime juice reacts with the egg yolks and milk to naturally cause the filling to thicken.
This version of key lime pie is not so complicated. In fact, it’s one of the easiest summer desserts you will make. No need to worry about finding fresh key limes, just use regular Persian limes or to make it even easier on yourself – just use the best bottled key lime juice available – Nellie & Joe’s. Normally I would NEVER recommend using bottled lemon or lime juice because the flavor just cannot compare to fresh, but that is SO NOT the case with Nellie & Joe’s key lime juice. They’ve managed to find a way to bottle the fresh, tart, aromatic flavor of key limes – the color is even the perfect pale yellow color. So anyway, this recipe for Frozen Key Lime Pie comes from a little bistro that was briefly open in Knoxville about 7 years ago – they shared it one day on the news and it looked like the quintessential summer dessert. I’ve been making it every summer since and it is ALWAYS a HUGE HIT. No one ever knows how easy it is – well, until now. Ha!
So if you are looking for a dessert to serve this 4th of July besides the traditional red, white, and blue berry fare – this is perfect. It’s cold, refreshing, tart, sweet, and delicious. You’ll be eating it ALL. SUMMER. LONG. I promise. 🙂
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 6 extra-large egg yolks at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 Tbsp lime zest
- 3/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (4-5 limes) OR Nellie & Joe's key lime juice
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Thin lime wedges
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9 inch pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely. (TIP: Be sure it cools completely; if you fill it when it is still warm even slightly and then freeze the pie, the condensation that forms will cause the crust to stick to the pie dish)
For the filling, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until thick. With the mixer on medium speed, add the condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour into the baked pie shell and freeze.
For the decoration, beat the heavy cream on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until firm. Spoon or pipe decoratively onto the pie and decorate with lime slices. Freeze for several hours or overnight.
From Black Tie Bistro
P.S. Again, not a sponsored post for Nellie & Joe’s – we just love the stuff. It’s the ONLY key lime juice we use when we are in need of a key lime pie fix. 😉