Happy New Year, everyone! I hope the stars align in your favor this year
Now, for business…
While we were all in Florida, my uncle had a birthday. My aunt suggested we make him a key lime pie to celebrate. How could I argue?
We took the filling and meringue recipes from the NY Times cookbook, and the crust was a recipe she pretty much made up on the spot that used butter, cream cheese, flour, a pinch of salt and a bit of sugar. Whatever it was, it was fantastic. No matter what recipe you choose, you just need one 9-inch pie crust, which will be baked before filling.
The filling for the pie is pretty similar to what I made for my White Lime Experience cupcakes, and then we topped it with a simple vanilla meringue.
KEY LIME FILLING
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups water
- 3 large eggs, separated (yolks for filling, whites for meringue)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup key lime juice (fresh or bottled)
- grated rind of 2 key limes
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
- splash of vanilla extract (optional)
Make the pie crust first, however you decide, and let it cool. Remember, this has to be baked beforehand – there’s only minimal baking once you put the meringue on top – and you don’t want a raw crust.
Next, get started on the filling. Grate the 2 key limes before you start juicing to get the 1/4 cup. You won’t need the full one-pound bag of limes for this; you probably won’t even need half the bag. I tell you this because I thought it would take more, quite frankly.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks until they’ve lightened in color. Set aside.
Combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan, and gradually stir in the water. Put the temperature on medium and stir constantly until thickened. Feel free to raise the heat if needed, but watch it closely!
Once the mixture has thickened, add it into the egg yolks slowly. Pour only 1/4 cup or so (don’t have to measure) into the egg yolks and beat furiously. This way you can incorporate the heat into the eggs without cooking the eggs. Then add the rest of the mixture a little at a time, beating between additions.
Return the filling to the saucepan over low heat, and cook. Stir constantly, it should take about 2 minutes. Then, add in the butter, lime juice, and rind and let it cool slightly before pouring it into the pie shell. I used an ice-water bath to help speed the cooling process.
Then, pour the cooled filling into the pie crust and set aside. Once it cools significantly, you can place it in the fridge to set.
We didn’t start on the meringue until we were about to serve, but you can do it now! Preheat your oven to 425ºF. Whip together the egg whites with the cream of tartar and vanilla until thick and foamy. Then add in your sugar and keep beating until stiff and shiny, and the meringue holds peaks. Spread the meringue over the pie filling so it touches the edge of the pastry. Bake for 5-6 minutes until browned.
Then cut and serve! Everyone devoured this pie; the birthday boy loved it! My aunt and I high-fived for a job well done. Yay teamwork, and yay pie!