Friday, 1 March 2013

The BEST Key Lime Pie!

So my love of key lime pie is pretty well known! I will pick a restaurant solely based on the fact that they serve key lime pie for dessert, without evening glancing at the rest of the menu! but who can blame me? It's a pretty rare occurrence to see it on a menu over here...and pretty non existent to see it on a menu back in England! So I usually make do with making my own!

We were heading to dinner at our friends house the other weekend and I knew that key lime pie was also our host's favourite dessert, and since I am now able to buy a whole bag of real key limes over here I knew there was no other option but to whip one up! 

I started with scouring the internet and finding this Martha recipe.  Martha never lets me down! I was excited for the baking to commence!

After baking the graham cracker crust first and then baking it again once you bake the filling, I was worried the crust would be slightly overdone.  I also had lovely visions in my head of little piped swirls of cream just around the edge of the pie, in order to let the real star of the pie shine through...however those plans fell apart when my cream wouldn't whip to a stiff enough consistency (the curse of Canadian 'whipping cream' strikes again!).  By this point I had pretty much convinced myself this was not going to be a good pie so I didn't bother taking any photos.

A few hours later and we were at dinner with our friends and the time came for dessert.  They were ooh-ing and aah-ing over the look of my pie and I told them not to get too excited as I didn't think it was going to be great, and then we all ate a slice and it was the best key lime pie I have ever made.  The crust was perfect, and not overdone like I had assumed.  The filling was soft and wonderfully smooth and oh so tart, something the lime lover in me was loving! and despite me not wanting to cover the whole pie with cream it actually worked really well to balance out the tartness of the key lime layer.  I said I wished I had taken some pictures of it after all! and so our friends promptly lent me their camera and let me snap a few pics! Just the kind of friends every food blogger loves! It was in the corner of a dimly lit lounge so they are not great photos by any means but I just couldn't stand the thought of this recipe not being shared!

A few people back in the UK have been asking me about key limes and sometimes if they find slightly smaller regular limes they think they have struck gold and come across key limes.  I know of no shop in the whole of the UK that sells key limes.  Whole Foods say they can order them in for you, but when I tried this they couldn't come up with the goods! So I took a pic of a persian lime (the kind that we get in the UK) next to the key limes they sell here to let my friends across the pond see the difference.

I know calling it the 'best' key lime pie is slightly presumptuous and everyone's tastebuds are different but our friends quickly followed their first slices of the pie with seconds, and I had to restrain myself on the whole bus ride home from not eating the remainder of the pie in the dish I was holding! so to me that sums up a pretty tasty pie!

Martha's Key Lime Pie:
Serves 4 (greedy key lime loving people) or 8 normal people :)

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
5 tablespoons caster sugar
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice
1 tbsp grated key lime zest, plus some lime slices for garnish
1 1/2 cups double cream, chilled

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a medium bowl.  Mix well.  
Press into a 9 inch pie plate, and bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Lower oven to 325 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, gently whisk together condensed milk, egg yolks, key lime juice and zest.  Pour into the prepared, cooled crust.

Return pie to the oven and bake until the center is set, but still quivers when nudged, for about 15-17 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Shortly before serving, combine cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium speed, for about 2-3 minutes, until soft peaks start to form.

Spoon over cooled pie.  Cut 6 lime slices.  Cut a small slit into the centre of each slice and then twist the slices and push them gently into the top of the pie.

Eat and enjoy!


  1. It does indeed look fabulous! I've never tired a key lime pie, although I've had a lemon pie with very similar filling ingredients.
    Can't believe the size difference of the limes. Are key limes tarter?

  2. I really want to try a key lime pie now! Is there a big flavour difference between key limes and persian limes? Also, did you see the chocolate version Choclette made this week?

  3. Oooh I love it when something you think has not worked out turns out to be amazing! I've never ever tried key lime pie and I'm not sure why, because I love limes!

  4. I love key lime pie and I wish I could get real key limes here!! Will just have to plan another trip to America to eat real key lime pie and to stock up on other goodies :)

  5. Looks great. I've always wanted to try proper key lime pie...but have never found key limes.

  6. Gem, this all sounds amazing. I am going to have to bake this for myself! I'm sad that I won't be able to get key limes here in England, but I'll give it a go with 'small' limes and see what happens.
    If I can't find Graham Crackers are there any alternatives that you can suggest?
    Leanne x



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