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Key Lime Pie

Follow our easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe to make this delicious Key Lime Pie dessert. We’ll make the Graham Cracker crust, then squeeze some limes to make the filling. An egg meringue topping finishes it off, but you could leave it plain, or maybe add some whipped cream, the choice is yours. Either way, you’re going to love this one. Printable recipe included.

Key Lime Pie, slider.

Key Lime Pie Recipe:

My mom made a lot of pies when I was growing up here in the South. Sadly, this wasn’t one of the one’s she would make for us. I don’t know if she just didn’t like it herself, or what the reason might have been. Maybe it wasn’t Southern enough for our neck of the woods.

I happen to really like Key Lime Pie. It’s just one of those tastes that you enjoy ever so often, that kind of brings a smile to your face and to your tummy, all at the same time. It’s a great way to finish off a big plate of Seafood as it’s light and slightly tart taste helps to ease all those fried fish, shrimp, and oysters you just filled up on. Oh, and the hushpuppies too.

We don’t grow Key Limes around our part of the country. I’m not really even using KEY Limes in the recipe pictured below. Key Limes are smaller than the limes we find in the grocery stores around my area. You need a whole bunch of them to produce enough juice to make a pie, and we’re only using half a cup.

We’re using Persian Limes, and just a little bit of Lemon juice to create a taste very similar to that of the Key Lime. I’m also going to top this particular pie with an Egg Meringue topping. I know that a lot folks aren’t really fond of meringue, but it just adds an extra bit of flare to the completed pie in my opinion.

You could easily just make the pie and leave it “bare.” You could also use whipping cream to make a whipped topping, or even purchase one of those Cool Whip type of toppings. The choice is yours, but I’ll show you what I think is the best way to enjoy it. Besides, it really points out the fact that it’s homemade as opposed to store bought.

We’ll use Graham Cracker Crumbs to make the crust, but again, a store bought crust would work just as easily if you’re trying to cut corners and save one or two minutes of time. Notice I said “one or two minutes,” indicating that it doesn’t take very long at all to make your own.

And, since it’s actually St. Patrick’s Day today, I added a couple of drops of Green Food Color, just to give it a little added color. That’s totally optional as well, so don’t mind not adding it to yours. To be more exact, it’s 4:15am here on the East Coast. I got off to a late start on this recipe and have been determined to get it posted as a way to share a little “Green” with you on this day.

I’m probably headed to bed in just a moment, but if you’re ready to give our recipe a try, head to the kitchen and… Let’s Get Cooking!

Key Lime Pie, ingredients you'll need.

Key Lime Pie:  You’ll need these ingredients.

Key Lime Pie, add graham cracker crumbs to a mixing bowl.

We’ll start by adding the Graham Cracker Crumbs to a medium size mixing bowl.

You could make your own crumbs from regular Graham Crackers if desired. Either place them in a food chopper, or crumble them up into a large zip top type bag and pulverize them with a rolling pin. Just make sure you break them up really fine. It needs to have almost a corn meal like fine texture.

Key Lime Pie, add the sugar.

Add the Granulated Sugar.

Key Lime Pie, mix the dry ingredients well.

Using a spoon, mix the dry ingredients well.

Key Lime Pie, melt the butter.

I’ve already preheated my oven to 350°F. I cut the Butter into sections and placed it in a pie plate, then popped that into the oven to melt the butter. It only takes a minute to do it this way, just be careful that you don’t leave it in too long and let it burn.  Of course, the microwave works very well.

Key Lime Pie, add melted butter to crumb mixture.

Add the melted Butter to the crumb mixture.

I didn’t get a picture of it, but be sure to add either the Almond Extract or Vanilla Extract at this point.

Key Lime Pie, stir until all crumbs are moistened.

Give it a quick stir, making sure all the crumbs are moistened.

Key Lime Pie, add mixture to pie plate.

After melting the Butter in the pie plate, I rubbed the little bit remaining in the plate all around the bottom and the inside edges to coat it thoroughly.  Once that is done, spoon the moistened crumb mixture into the pie plate.

Key Lime Pie, spread crumb mixture out to the edges.

Using a spoon, spread the crumb mixture out to the edges of the pie plate.  You’ll need more of the mixture around the edges than in the bottom. We’re going to work it up the sides of the pie plate.

Key Lime Pie, shape it up.

Spread the crumb mixture out to the edges and then work it up the sides, all the way to the top rim of the dish.  Try to keep the sides and bottom as equally thick as possible. Just work it slowly and gently, until you’ve got it formed inside the plate. Pack it as firmly as you can.

Key Lime Pie, bake it at 350 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Place the crust in the oven and bake it for about 8-10 minutes at 350°F. Ovens vary, so watch it carefully. This will help to firm up the crust before we add the filling. If you prefer, you could just set the crust in the refrigerator and let it chill for about one hour.

Key Lime Pie, remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. The crust needs to be completely cool before you add the filling. So, now is a good time to start making that filling.

Key Lime Pie, zest the lime.

You’ll want to zest one of the limes before you try to remove the juice from it. Always remove the zest first.

Key Lime Pie, roll the limes to help soften them for more juice extraction.

Limes are usually pretty firm. Roll them under the palm of your hand to soften them up a bit. This will normally help you extract a bit more juice from them.

Key Lime Pie, squeeze the limes and the lemon.

Next, squeeze the juice from the limes. These were still pretty firm and I was concerned that I might not get enough juice from them.

Key Lime Pie, the juice that was extracted.

I was surprised to actually see this much juice from the three limes I had. I had plenty for the recipe, and a little bit left over.

Pour this juice into another dish, then go ahead and squeeze the Lemon. We need a 4 to 1 ration of Lime to Lemon, so you’ll not really be using all of the juice from the Lemon.

Key Lime Pie, separate the egg yolks from the whites.

Separate the Egg yolks from the whites. These are some more pasture raised chicken eggs that I’m using. I’ve just recently found a local source for these and really like them. The inside of the shell has a thick white membrane that you can see in the bottom shell above. The yolks are dark yellow and creamy in texture, unlike the thin watery one’s I typically get from the grocery store.

I was reading just the other day about how you could use the membrane from the eggs on your face to help clean the pores. While I can’t really see myself walking around with dried egg on my face, I guess it might actually work.

When separating the eggs, it’s always a good idea to crack them over a small bowl first. By letting the white drain from the egg shell into the bowl, then transferring the yolk from one half to the other, you’ll separate the yolks and whites safely. Place the yolks in one bowl, the whites in another. By breaking them over another small bowl, should you break the yolk in one, you don’t ruin the whole batch of whites in the bigger bowl. You can’t make meringue if you have any bits of yolks in the egg whites.

You also want to be sure that you’re placing the egg whites in a glass or metal bowl that is perfectly clean. You don’t want any greasy film or anything else in the bowl you’ll be making the meringue in.

Key Lime Pie, place the yolks in a mixing bowl.

Place all the yolks in a medium size mixing bowl. Set the whites aside for now, we’ll make the filling first.

Key Lime Pie, add the sweetened condensed milk.

Add the whole can of the Sweetened Condensed Milk.

Key Lime Pie, add the evaporated milk.

Add the Evaporated Milk.

Key Lime Pie, beat until light and creamy.

Use your hand mixer and beat the mixture together until it’s light in color and creamy in texture. This will take about two minutes, so don’t skimp on it.

Key Lime Pie, add the lime juice.

Make sure you measure out the exact amount of Lime juice called for. I started to pick up the cup I had pictured above and just toss it into the bowl. Good thing I caught myself first as it was more than I actually needed.

Key Lime Pie, add the lemon juice.

The same goes with the Lemon juice. Be sure to measure out only the Two Tablespoons called for, as opposed to all you might have juiced.

Key Lime Pie, add the lime zest.

You only need two teaspoons of the Lime zest. Just add it into the bowl.

Key Lime Pie, add food coloring only if desired.

Adding a couple of drops of Green Food Color is totally optional. I only did it because I’m making this pie for St. Patrick’s Day and thought a little green would look good. The zest would only give it a little bit of color, so it’s totally up to you whether you add the coloring or not.

Key Lime Pie, mix until combined.

Mix it all up until it’s fully combined.

Key Lime Pie, add filling to the crust.

Spoon the filling into the cooled pie crust. Using a spoon, spread it out evenly all around the edges.

Key Lime Pie, bake for about 20 minutes.

Place the pie in your oven. Bake it at 350°F for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the center is set and firm. The center will look dry and not wet when done. It should just jiggle slightly when moved.

Key Lime Pie, beat the egg whites until frothy.

After the pie has baked for about 10 minutes, go ahead and start whipping up the egg white meringue.

Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they are frothy looking in texture.

Key Lime Pie, add the cream of tartar.

Add the Cream-of-Tartar. This will help firm up the egg whites, especially if you’re using older eggs.

Key Lime Pie, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

Beat the egg whites again, until they form soft peaks.

Key Lime Pie, add just a dash of salt.

Add just a dash of Salt.

Key Lime Pie, add the sugar gradually.

The sugar gets added gradually, while continuing to whip the egg whites. Using your mixer, start whipping them again, and add just a little of the sugar about every 10 seconds or so, until it’s all incorporated.

Key Lime Pie, beat until they form stiff peaks.

Beat the egg whites until they will form stiff peaks.

We had rain all day today so there was lots of moisture in the air. I think it kept my egg whites from standing as tall as they normally will. Over beating them will also cause them to not be as light and full. You have to watch them as you can get them to the perfect point to form those peaks, then if you continue to whip them, they start to fall. It takes a little practice but you can do it. I’ve got confidence in you.

Key Lime Pie, remove the pie from the oven.

By the time you get the meringue complete, your pie should be ready to remove from the oven. We’re going to add the beaten egg whites right on top of the hot pie.

Key Lime Pie, spread the meringue on top of the hot pie.

Spoon the meringue over the top of the hot pie.

Key Lime Pie, spread to the edges.

Spread the meringue out to the edges of the crust, completely sealing in the filling within the pie. Pile it a little higher in the center, then take your spatula and dab it all around to create the “waves” in the meringue. The tops of the waves will brown first and adds to the look of the completed pie.

Key Lime Pie, baking time for the meringue.

Place the pie back in the oven once again. It should only take about 8 to 10 minutes to bake the meringue. Watch it carefully once the top starts to brown as it doesn’t take long after that for the tips to start to burn. Remove the pie when it has reached the desired color on top.

Key Lime Pie, enjoy.

Serve the pie warm, or let it cool before serving.

You can place the pie in the refrigerator if you need to store it overnight. The only problem is that sometimes the meringue will “weep” or form a thick syrup type substance on top. It’s best if you eat the pie not long after it’s baked or cooled. We’ll try to go into more detail on another date about how best to store a meringue type pie. Around here, they don’t really last long enough to present a problem.

I do prefer mine cool, if not cold. Again, the choice is yours.  Either way, I do hope you’ll like it.


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