Archive for March, 2013

Key Lime Pie

This past Thursday, we celebrated Pi Day (3/14).  You know, the number that never ends (but starts with 3.14), that helps us calculate the area of circles and whatnot. (Okay, maybe you don’t know.  It’s okay.  I’ll forgive you.)  I happened to be on call, so I was at home during the day, and Alison suggested I bake a pie in honor of the day.  Witty, isn’t she?

Well, an extremely slow waiter at lunch and a trip to the mall got in the way of those plans, but with little to do Friday afternoon, I got the itch to fulfill her request.  To be honest with you, I don’t know that I’ve baked a pie since I moved to California.  I’ve gotten cravings to do so, but my holidays here have become so non-traditional that there is never really a good reason to go through the hassle, just so I can eat half of it myself.

I found the recipe I used on Pinterest after thoroughly enjoying the Sara Lee key lime pie my friend brought over for a cookout a couple of weekends ago.  I think I had had it before then, but I wasn’t sure…I’ve definitely been a fan of the yogurt version for years!  The whipped topping sounded interesting (you’ll see why in a moment), and the picture looked yummmmmmy.  Though I was close to going with my own personal favorite of lemon meringue, the allure of a new recipe won out.  It didn’t hurt that this is probably Chris’ favorite pie flavor, so I knew I had someone to split calories with ;).

You can find the original recipe here.  It’s super simple, and you more than likely have almost all the ingredients you will need on hand already.

Surprisingly, we were unable to locate fresh key limes.  I know I’ve seen them out here, but we were in a rush (I had a Skype date with my dad!), and let it go after checking Ralph’s and Whole Foods.  I think I found a pretty great alternative, however.  We had a large bottle of Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice on hand for making my new favorite girly drink, the avocado margarita (another post, another post).  We buy ours at BevMo, where it’s conveniently located near the tequila aisle.  The bottle doesn’t specify whether the juice comes from key limes or regular limes, but the fact that it had a recipe for key lime pie on the side told me it was a safe bet either way.  If you also can’t find fresh key limes, I suggest using a juice such as this one over the cheap lime juice you can find in the produce department in the little plastic lime.  It’s got a ton of flavor.

I had a little scare with my crust.  I was busy with about four other projects, and didn’t look in on it until about 18 of the specified 20 minutes of baking time had passed.  It was getting more than slightly brown, but it hadn’t burned yet.  Just a word of caution to pay a bit more attention than I was…  Also, I found I had more crust mixture than necessary to fill my 9 inch Pyrex pie plate.  I think 1 sleeve of graham crackers (just over a cup of crumbs) will yield enough.  Use the full cup and a half if you are using a deep-dish pie plate.  Although most of the time when I make a graham cracker crust, I only add melted butter, I really enjoyed the sugar in this crust.  The sweetness is a nice balance for the tart lime custard.  And as always, if you are lazy or in a rush, I’m sure a store-bought crust works just fine 🙂

Once I had mixed my filling, I ended up baking it for about 17 minutes.  It probably could have used about a minute longer in the oven, but it was just about perfect.  A custard filling that doesn’t crack or pull away from the crust?  Delightful.  It had that “I’m barely holding my form here” jiggliness about it too, but still sliced and served easily.  I took a nap while it chilled, and then came back to mix up the topping.

As I mentioned before, I was intrigued that the topping here included sour cream.  I’m not sure why, as I am the proponent of using sour cream in everything (banana bread, cupcakes…).  I used regular whipping cream and not heavy whipping cream, but I’m sure either works fine if you already have one on hand.  When I tasted the beater, I was actually a little worried.  The sour cream flavor was obvious.  Chris told me to calm down, so I spooned it over the chilled pie and stuck it in the fridge until we had eaten our dinner.

Turns out…Chris was right.  Combined with the sweetness of the crust and the tartness of the filling, the not-overly-sweet topping was PERFECT!  It’s a nice touch on a pie that would actually be just fine with no topping at all, in my opinion.  I didn’t bother garnishing this pie, since I wasn’t serving it to company.  This was delicious…such a yummy spring treat, and really pretty easy.  And…I got to have pie for breakfast, just as if it were Black Friday or the day after Christmas 🙂


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