Key limes are tarter than Persian limes (regular limes) but often difficult to find. To make a reasonable facsimile for this Key lime pie recipe, use 1/2 cup regular lime juice plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice in place of the Key lime juice here.–Josh Kilmer-Purcell | Brent Ridge
LC The Thing About Key Limes Note
The thing about Key limes is that they’re tart. Quite tart. Even though the authors include a handy little cheat sheet on how to substitute everyday limes (and a lemon) for these puckery little suckers (see the headnote above or the ingredients list below), the resulting pie will be just a touch sweeter than that classic. Not saying it’s a bad thing, just saying….
Special Equipment: 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom or 9-inch springform pan
Key Lime Pie Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 1 H
- Makes one 9-inch pie
- For the graham cracker crust
- 10 graham cracker rectangles (5 1/4 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest (from Key or Persian limes), preferably organic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- For the Key lime filling
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 2/3 cup freshly squeezed Key lime juice (from about 20 Key limes), or 1/2 cup fresh Persian lime juice (from about 4 regular limes) plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 about lemon)
- For the meringue
- 3 large egg whites
- Pinch salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make the graham cracker crust
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- 2. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground. Add the butter, sugar, lime zest, and salt and process until well combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch springform pan. (This can easily be done by using a flat-bottomed cup or glass to evenly press the crumbs into the pan.) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the crust is sorta firm and set.
- Make the Key lime filling
- 3. While the graham cracker crust bakes, add the egg yolks to a bowl and beat on medium-high with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add the sweetened condensed milk and beat until thickened. Beat in the lime juice (or lime and lemon juice).
- 4. Pour the filling into the baked crust and return it to the oven to bake for 8 to 10 minutes more, or until the filling is just set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F (232°C).
- Make the meringue
- 5. In a bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high, beat the egg whites and salt until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, adding the vanilla toward the very end.
- 6. Immediately scoop the meringue onto the filling, making swoops and swirls in the meringue with the back of the spatula. Bake for 2 to 5 minutes, until the meringue is set and browned in spots. [Editor's Note: Don't be tempted to walk away from the oven. The browning—or, heaven forbid, blackening—happens pretty quickly, especially if your Key lime pie's meringue has lofty peaks.] Let the pie cool. If time permits, refrigerate the pie until chilled through prior to serving.
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Key Lime Pie Recipe © 2013 Josh Kilmer-Purcell | Brent Ridge. Photo © 2013 Paulette Tavormina. All rights reserved.