Key Limes Are Slippery Little Druckers

Hello again, hello — hope your Memorial Day was memorable and that you took a moment, as my awesome pal Chi advised me, to remember the men and women in our armed forces who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. If not, now would be a good time. Done? Good. Let’s talk key lime pie.

Pop in the microwave for 5 secs to get juices flowing. Thx Rachael Ray!

I treasure the recipe I’m about to share with you. (Hence, I treasure YOU. See how that works?) In the same way that citric acid kind of cooks the fish in a ceviche, key limes kind of cook the eggs in a key lime pie. (But not enough to be safe for pregnant women! So don’t go bringing your sushi and key lime pie surprise to a baby shower.)

In fact, lots of recipes simply trust the key lime juice to thicken the custard– making this a true “icebox” pie in that you don’t bake it. I myself have gone the no-bake route with runny, DISASTROUS and publicly humiliating consequences. Which is why I give this easy and foolproof recipe, complete with quick stint in a hot oven, my unqualified endorsement.

Photo from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook.

I got it off a bag of Susie’s Key Limes years ago, and had to launch a full-scale assault on my bulging, totally unorganized recipe files to find it. But victory is mine! And yours. Here it is:

“Susie” brand key lime pie
1 can (14 oz) Eagle sweet condensed milk
4 egg yolks
4 oz key lime juice (from a 1 lb. bag of key limes)
1-9″ graham cracker crust

Pint of heavy whipping cream (optional), sugar (powdered or regular) to taste, half a teaspoon vanilla (if you like)

In mixing bowl on low speed (I do this by hand with a wooden spoon), blend condensed milk and egg yolks. Slowly add key lime juice. Mix well, and pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Cool completely. Whip very cold cream with sugar and vanilla to taste (using a chilled bowl and beaters, even better). Cover pie with clouds of whipped cream or serve cream on the side. Keep pie refrigerated until ready to serve.

YES: You could make a meringue instead of whipped cream.
NO: You may NOT substitute regular limes!
YES: You can use a pre-made graham cracker crust you’ll find in any supermarket’s baking aisle. Easy!
NO: The Bears will not be good this year. So don’t get your hopes up.

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