Thursday, August 19, 2010

Key Lime Love

I am so proud of this pie. It's actually simple to make, even for someone like me, who panics or screams every time I walk into the kitchen. Thankfully, I had my mom visiting from out of town to advise me on this one, and to make the crust, so I can't take all the credit. But I'm still proud of our accomplishment. We used the traditional key lime pie recipe, but were unable to find real key limes so used five Persian limes instead. Here's the recipe and what we did:

Key Lime Pie
16 graham crackers, crushed (I recommend using 12 or 13 for a thinner crust)
3 tablespoons sugar (I recommend using sugar to taste)
1 cube (1/4 lb) margarine or butter

4 large or extra large egg yolks
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh key lime juice (approximately 12 Key limes—or, in our case, 5 Persian limes)
2 teaspoons grated lime peel, green portion only (careful with your fingers!)

Whipped Cream For Garnish
1/2 cup whipping cream
Sugar to Taste

Like I said, Mom made the crust (thanks Mom!). She took the 16 graham crackers and put them between two sheets of plastic wrap and smashed them up with a rolling pin. We also have one of those small food processors, but who wants to wash that after pulverizing the crackers? Not me. And poor Mom was already doing our dishes while she was here. So she smashed up the crackers, mixed them with the cube of melted butter and a tiny bit of sugar (the crackers are already so sweet 3 tablespoons really isn't necessary). Then she pressed all the crust into our 9-inch pie plate. At this point we realized that 16 crackers was just too much. So we spooned some out into a bowl and snacked on it with a spoon. Not quite brownie batter, but still a tasty snack for keeping the blood sugar even while I'm stressed in the kitchen. Then we baked the crust at 350 degrees for 11 minutes. (Side note: did you know that graham crackers were invented in 1829 by a Presbyterian minister who believed bland food would diminish the libido?)

After I had hand-squeezed all the limes and zested the 2 teaspoons of lime peel with only minimal grater damage to my left pointer finger, it was time for me to put together the filling. I had already learned my lesson about cracking eggs into the bowl while running the mixer the time I was making the peach custard pie for my mother-in-law and had to sieve the entire mixture to make sure there were no egg shells in it. (I hope she thought it was part of the recipe.) This time I carefully separated the egg yolks over seperate bowls until I was sure they were perfect. Then I beat the egg yolks with my shiny, red handmixer. You have to be careful not to overmix because your pie will have the consistency of a rubber flip-flop. Fortunately my mom stood nearby supervising and instructing me to keep beating the yolks until they looked just the color of butter. I was skeptical that this would ever happen, but sure enough it did. Then you mix in the condensed milk, lime juice, and zest and pour it into the prepared pie crust. After just 10 more minutes in the oven we had a delicious key lime dessert. We topped ours with hand whipped whip cream and little lime garnishes. (Side note: Did you know the key lime pie was invented as a use for a surplus of sweetened condensed milk in Key West?)