Welcome to my world!

I've developed a passion for cooking since childhood, but in the past six years, that passion has grown into a geeky obsession. I love cooking, baking, and most importantly, sharing the love of food with family and friends. I invite you along on my journey of food discovery and passion.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Key Lime Pie Basics

One of the tastiest desserts ever invented was Key Lime Pie.  The dessert is named after the fruit from which it comes, key limes.  These are special limes grown in the Florida Keys and have a slightly sweeter taste than regular limes.  We were in Key West, FL last May and I had a slice of frozen chocolate dipped key lime pie while attempting not to melt in the afternoon heat.  Nothing makes me feel more like throwing on my flip flops and finding a hammock for a nap than eating this rich pie.  It's like a taste of the pie brings back the ocean breezes and sounds of palm trees. 

While a trip to the Keys isn't on my list this year, it's easy to recreate the flavor of the pie I so enjoy.  The recipe is a custard (milk and eggs) with a citrus juice to create the sweet-tart flavor balance.  Other juices could also work (lemon, orange), but the taste may be more or less sweet.  All it takes is a pie crust.  Personally, graham crackers or ginger snaps are a favorite.  For a chocolate twist, crushed Oreos also work really nicely.  The custard itself is just the lime juice, sweetenend condensed milk, and egg yolks.  Topping is traditionally a sweetened whipped cream, but in the quest to cut fat and calories, I use the fat free option of meringue, which is something DH and I both like more anyway.  Fat free sweetened condensed milk works fine in the recipe too.  The pie can be mixed and baked in about 30 minutes, but you have to let it cool before indulging.  Happy Eating!

Key Lime Meringue Pie
1 (9 inch) graham cracker pie shell
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
4 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
4 Tbsp white sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place pie shell on a cookie sheet.  In a mixing bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and the key lime juice until blended.  Add in egg yolks and mix until all combined.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes (center will be slightly jiggly).  Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl or with a stand mixer, whip egg whites until frothy.  Add in cream of tartar if using (helps stabilize meringue) and whip until soft peaks form.  Add in sugar and blend until meringue is in stiff peaks.  Top pie with meringue, spreading to edges of filling and making swirls in meringue.  Raise temperature of oven to 350.  Bake pie 10 minutes, rotating halfway through baking or until top is lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.  Once cooled, refrigerate pie at least 2 hours before serving.

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