Happy Monday everyone! If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I finally got to get started on a DIY project I’ve been dying to do this weekend and oh man, I’m so excited about it! It’s got to get finished by Friday though since it’s in the guest room and my mom and aunt are coming to visit, eeeek! Nothin’ like good ‘ol DIY deadlines :)
So in between working on that this weekend, I spent some quality times with these little beauts. Key limes from our neighbor’s trees, and this is just what dropped in less than a week!
Key lime juice is like liquid gold to me so I take them anytime I can get them. I juiced not quite a third of this bowl and got three cups of juice, isn’t that crazy?!?
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Every time we get a bag of these from the neighbor, I always juice them and freeze the juice in 1/2 or 1 cup increments to use for one of my favorite desserts, key lime pie. Key lime pie made with real, fresh key limes is leaps and bounds better than one from normal grocery store limes in my opinion and my frozen stash of juice lets me make them year round.
I’ve always used Joy of Cooking‘s key lime pie recipe but over the last few years, I’ve tweaked it here and there, mainly in the crumb crust. This is a very simple pie to make, especially when using a crumb crust. The filling and the crust have just a few simple ingredients and it takes under half an hour to prepare both.
For the crust, instead of all graham crackers, I do about 1/3 gingersnaps and 2/3 cinnamon grahams, all processed together. The gingersnaps are pretty hard so I usually try to break them up before processing so that they’ll get broken down quicker. I’ve also started browning my butter for the crust to add even more flavor to it (see how to brown butter here). If you just have plain grahams feel free to add cinnamon to the mixture.
I use a measuring cup and my fingers to mold the crust to the pan but you can also use a flat-bottomed glass or spoon or something. The crust gets popped in the oven for about 15 minutes until it’s firm and golden, then cooled.
I usually go ahead and make two pies since I’ve got so much juice frozen, one for work and one for us here at home. I’ve done them both in a regular pie dish as well as in a springform pan and while the springform is my favorite and makes for an impressive presentation, it’s harder to transport and mess with at work so I bring theirs in a normal dish.
I make my filling while the crust is baking then store it in the fridge until the crust is cooled. My filling is the same as Joy’s, I just whip the crap out of it at the end to make it more on the fluffy, light side when cooked. One thing you won’t find in my pie (or in Joy’s) is green food coloring. It’s not needed, and green isn’t really even the true color of key limes, so why?
I’ve garnished my pies with many toppings: homemade whipped cream with a hint of lime, store-bought whipped cream, meringue, just limes, and nothing at all. They’re all good but my favorite is homemade whipped cream with a hint of lime, although for this one I was feeling a little more creative so I made some little palm trees using the limes and pecan pieces then sprinkled zest over it.
Now to find more key lime recipes for the five pounds of key limes on my counter right now :)
- 1 cup regular or cinnamon graham crackers, one sleeve
- 1/2 cup gingersnaps, about 8 cookies
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon, optional
- 1 stick butter, browned
- 1/2 cup strained key lime juice
- 1 tbsp key lime zest
- 1 15 oz. can sweetened condensed milk - you can use light
- 4 egg yolks
- Heat oven to 350F, grease pie dish or springform pan.
- Grind gingersnaps and graham crackers in food processor until they are fine crumbs.
- Brown butter (see notes)
- Add sugar and browned butter to crumbs and combine with a fork until uniform.
- Pour into dish and use a measuring cup and/or fingers to press uniformly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before adding filling.
- For the filling, add egg yolks one at a time to sweetened condensed milk, beating/whipping well after each addition.
- Add lime juice and zest then whip for about 5 minutes.
- Pour into cooled crust and bake at 350F for approximately 15 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely then store in the refrigerator at least a few hours, preferably overnight.
- Top with homemade whipped cream and/or lime garnishes.
*Adapted from recipes in Joy of Cooking
To brown butter: Melt butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, for approximately 20 minutes until dark specks form. Butter will go through a series of changes throughout the process including foaming, bubbling, clearing, and changes in aroma. When the strong nutty aroma forms, it is almost ready and the specks should appear soon. When they do, stir a little bit longer then remove from heat and use.
If you just have plain grahams and like cinnamon, add the optional 1/4tsp ground cinnamon to the crust mixture.