Key Lime Pie. Tart, tangy, a little sweet, delicious. It was created in the late 19th century in Key West, Florida. There are 4 common ingredients: key lime juice, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk (because fresh milk was not common in the hot Florida sun back then), and pie crust. Key lime pie is my dad’s favorite dessert, so I thought I’d surprise him for father’s day with something special. As I was looking online for recipes, however, I found myself falling asleep. They were all so boring. I’m not a fan of boring. Some even had you buying pre-made pie crust! I wanted to spice it up a bit and then I came across Bobby Flay’s “Throwdown” key lime pie recipe and as soon as I came across the word coconut, I put my game face on.
It all started out with these gems:
They were so cute. Key limes differ from your average Persian lime in that they have a higher acidity, they’re seedier, and they have a higher tartness level. Their juice is also more yellow instead of green, so if you are about to dig into a “lime green” key lime pie you are more than welcome to call them out on trying to deceive you.
The recipe called for a couple teaspoons of zest and a 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of juice. You see how small they are. This was a bit tedious.
It was my own fault, though. At first I started squeezing each little lime into a measuring cup through my other hand so I could catch all the seeds. After about 10 limes I thought, “there has to be an easier way.” Finally, the light bulb turned on and I realized I could just pour the juice through a strainer and boom, I got to squeezing two at a time.
To the zest and lime I added 4 egg yolks, vanilla extract, and a can of sweetened condensed milk.
Sweetened condensed milk is basically a cow’s milk where all the water has been removed and sugar has been added. You can put the can in boiling water and turn it into dulce de leche (yummy caramel sauce):
After I had all of my filling ingredients together, I whisked them for a few minutes, incorporating as much air as possible to get it super thick.
Bobby told me to let the mixture sit for at least 20 minutes, so I set it aside and moved onto the crust…
In a food processor I combined coconut, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and just for the hell of it, a pinch of cinnamon. I added melted butter, pressed it on the bottom of my pie pan, and par-baked it for about 10 minutes. As soon as it came out of the oven, I poured the filling on and baked it off again for 15 minutes, or until it stopped “jiggling”.
Note: From this point on, ALL my pictures will be from the brand new camera I purchased yesterday. I have been saving up for one and went with the Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS and it is absolutely amazing. It’s small enough for me to carry around but takes professional looking pictures, which is only going to make my food look better, which in the end will make me look better than I really am. That, my friends, is a win-win-win situation.
Moving on. When the pie came out of the oven, I brought it to room temperature, covered the top with plastic wrap, and let it set in the refrigerator for a few hours (well, what should have been a few hours, but we couldn’t wait that long….I’ll get to that later).
As far as pie toppings are concerned, I am not a fan of meringue…it has never appealed to me. I ended up making Bobby’s vanilla bean and coconut whipped cream. I combined the seeds of a vanilla bean, coconut cream, powdered sugar, and heavy whipping cream and using a hand-mixer, beat the living daylights out of it until it turned into stiff peaks.
When we were finally about to eat, I put the whipped cream in a pastry bag, and decorated with coconut that I toasted and a thin slice of lime . I was really happy with how it looked in the end!
Okay, this is where we need to sit down and have a little chat. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t exactly let it set for as long as I should have. The pie looked so beautiful, but cutting it was, well, a different story. I debated even showing you how it turned out, but life is about making mistakes, correcting them next time, and never apologizing (well, for the minor mistakes :))!
Overall, it tasted absolutely amazing. You’ve got to try it. Here’s the recipe!
I almost forgot to mention the drink my mom made to pair with the pie. She muddled a peach, nectar, and peach schnapps, put it in a blender, strained it, put it in a martini glass and finally topped it off with some prosecco. Peach bellini’s anyone?
I hope you all had a Happy Father’s Day! Cheers!