Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Pie.....a pie with a history!
To fully appreciate this delicious dessert, let's take a brief walk through its history.
Key Lime Pie is native to Florida, where the trees that produce small, golf-sized limes originally native to Malaysia, were likely introduced to the Florida Keys by the Spanish in the 1500's. The Keys (see map below) consists of over 1700 small islands at the southeast tip of the Florida Peninsula near Miami. The citrus is also known as Mexican or West Indies limes. They are more tart than the now prevalent Persian lime, which was planted in the Keys, replacing the Key lime groves that were wiped out after a 1926 hurricane devastated the Key lime plantations.
Some fun facts surrounding Key lime pie includes legislation by state representative Bernie Papu Jr, who in 1965 attempted to introduce legislation that would levy a $100 fine against anyone advertising Key lime pie that is not made with key limes! The bill did not pass. In 2006, Florida legislature made Key lime pie the official Florida State pie.
A traditional Key lime pie unrefutably is made from Key limes, sweetened condensed milk (invented by Gail Bordon in 1856), and egg yolks. Many other versions have emerged, including a baked version. It can be argued, should the crust be graham cracker or a flaky pastry? You can decide. Traditionally, it was topped with meringue, but whipped cream is a common accent. Since my version uses the non-traditional addition of cream cheese, there really is no reason for the added richness of whipped cream, except as a pretty garnish. Be sure to add lightly zested peel on top of the pie!
American restaurant critic Craig Claiborne said he would likely name Key lime pie as the greatest of all regional American desserts. It is a pie that is so easy to do -- you really must treat your family and guests with this sweet and tart pie! Here is my version, with special recognition to Roberta Engebretson, who shared this recipe with my Aunt Rosie, who shared it with me. (P.S. You can also make this without the cream cheese, which is Roberta's original version.)
Key Lime Pie
When choosing your ingredients, use home-grown, grass-fed and organic ingredients whenever possible.
Makes 1 – 9” Pie
Recipe may be doubled to make a deeper pie in a 10” Springform Pan, thus yielding approximately 12-16 servings.
1 – 8 oz cream cheese or Neuchatel, room temperature
2 cans sweetened condensed milk (14 oz each)
2 egg yolks (fresh, pastured eggs)
¾ cup lime juice* (this will be approximately 12-14 key limes)
*May substitute Key West bottled lime juice
Drizzle the lemon juice over the berries and gently stir.
Mix together the sugar and cornstarch.
Sprinkle the sugar and cornstarch mixture over the berries. Gently mix together.
Ease one single unbaked pie crust into the pie plate. Brush the surface with the egg white.
Add the berry filling, then top with a single unbaked pie crust, sealing edges as desired.
Make vent holes in top crust or fancy cut-outs. (If doing a lattice top, then no need to create vent holes.)
Bake 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes. Use a pie guard to protect the outer edges of the pie crust from over-burning.
This pie can be cut into 8 pieces.
Share your love with a refreshing Key Lime Pie!