Friday Pie-Day {Frozen Key Lime}

I usually don’t like key lime pie.  Any time I’ve had it in a restaurant I’m disappointed because what I taste is the idea of lime flavor, but nothing that comes close to knocking my socks off.  I want zing.  I want zip.  I want a serious punch of sweet limey goodness.

Today’s pie won’t leave you longing for more lime.  Today’s pie is chock full of serious lime tartness.  And did I mention it’s frozen?  Cold.  Creamy.  Tart.  This pie is tasty summer relief all enveloped in a buttery graham cracker crust.  One frosty refreshing bite and you’ll forget all about the thick hot air waiting for you outside.

First, a few words about the ingredients…

You won’t be surprised, but I do not endorse pre-made graham cracker crust.  And speaking of graham crackers, generic graham crackers don’t deliver when it comes to a crust.  Snacks or smores?  I’m all for generic.  But for homemade graham cracker crust, you need to use Nabisco Honey-Maid graham crackers.  You may also notice in the above picture that those aren’t technically key limes.  Key limes are about the size of walnuts, and unless you are a lime purist, they are not worth the effort or cost.  As you’ve heard me say before {click here for a refresher}, there is no substitute for fresh citrus juice, and if you’re looking for zing, it’s in the zest.  So no surprise, this pie has a healthy dose of lime zest which accounts for its nice zippy tartness.  Last note…you will only be using the yolks of the eggs.

Let’s get started.

Start with graham cracker crumbs.  You can make your own in the food processor {like I did here} or put the crackers in a zip-lcok baggie and pound them into submission.  If you decide to crumble the crackers by hand, just make sure they are really really finely ground.  You don’t want any big chunks.

Add the sugar and melted butter to the crumbs…

…and mix until combined and crumbly.

Dump the mixture into your pie plate…

…and use the edge of a measuring cup to evenly press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of the dish.  You want to make sure your crumbs go all the way up the sides of the pan, and that you have an even and compact crust.

This is what it should look like before you pop it into a 350 degree oven.

Bake the crust until it is lightly golden {8-10 minutes}, and allow it to cool completely {45 minutes}.

Now for the filling.  Here’s the deal…the original recipe for this pie uses raw egg yolks, but also offers a cooked variation.  Raw egg yolks don’t bother me so much, especially since pasteurized whole eggs are now readily available, thus removing the threat of passing along a side of salmonella to your pie guests.  However, the one time I made this pie without cooking the filling, it didn’t turn out as well.  The filling was soupy.  It could have been that I didn’t give it enough time in the freezer, or that I messed something else up along the way, but I never tried the uncooked version again, and now I  cook the filling every time I make this pie because I don’t want to risk having another soupy pie.   You can decide which route you want to take.  For the cooked version, you heat some of the lime juice and the egg yolks in a double-boiler, whisking constantly until it reaches 140 degrees.

Then you mix in the zest, condensed milk, and more lime juice.

Pour the finished filling into the cooled graham cracker crust.  Place the pie in the freezer until the filling is frozen solid.  This will take several hours.  I usually make this pie the day before I plan to serve it.

Once the filling is frozen solid, you are ready to make the whipped cream topping.

Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until firm peaks form.

It should look something like this.

Take the frozen filling out of the freezer {can you see the frosty pie plate?}…

…add the fresh whipped cream…

…and spread evenly over the top.  Put the pie back in the freezer until the whipped cream is frozen.

I’m not going to lie, the most difficult part about this pie {besides waiting patiently for the filling to freeze} is slicing it.  Go ahead and prepare yourself that the first slice isn’t going to be pretty.  The best method I’ve found is to use a very sharp knife, slice through the whipped cream with the blade facing toward you, and then turn the blade away from you and push it down through the filling and crust as you slice back toward the center of the pie.  This pie is frozen solid, so you’re going to have to use a little muscle and show it who’s boss.

Hope you enjoy this summer delight.  Click below to download a printable copy of the recipe.

{Frozen Key Lime Pie}

PS.  I also have updated last week’s Friday Pie-Day Post to include the recipe for Apricot Fried Pies.

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4 Responses to Friday Pie-Day {Frozen Key Lime}

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  4. Andrea Johnson says:

    I’m coming over!

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