This Classic Key Lime Pie is the perfect dessert to share
with friends on a warm evening on the back deck!
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Key limes are a funny fruit. They’re small. Really small. It took about 25 or so key limes to make this pie. I’m all about growing my own fruit and veggies, but sadly citrus doesn’t grow so well in upstate NY. That’s ok, I’ll settle for picking up key limes at the market and going with apple and cherry trees in the backyard. Actually, I did read somewhere that you can grow key lime trees indoors. I think they’re potted, and then you just move them indoors for the winter. I don’t see my wife going for that one. “Hi, honey, we have a guest for dinner tonight. Actually, we have a guest for the next 5 months. It’s a tree. But it’s ok, I’ll water it.” Yeah, not gonna happen. Luckily for me, one of my local markets carries key limes…so I can have this Classic Key Lime Pie whenever the urge hits me. Like right now.
Key lime pie is my Dad’s all-time favorite dessert. I remember him always talking about it when I was a kid. I also remember not particularly loving it. But then I grew up and my tastes changed. And now this Classic Key Lime Pie ranks pretty high up there on my dessert list. So here’s to a long summer of fun evenings in the back yard with friends…and lots of key lime pie!
Baker’s Note #1: In case you’re wondering, key limes do indeed have a different flavor than regular limes. Check around to see if you can find key limes in your local market. (I had to check two stores to find mine.) Another option is key lime juice, but the actual key limes are your best bet if possible. It’s worth the extra effort…trust me!
Baker’s Note #2: You may notice that the graham cracker crust for this Classic Key Lime Pie is extra large. This isn’t a mistake! The graham cracker crust is on the sweeter side, and I’ve found that a thicker crust helps balance the tartness of the key lime filling. (The thicker crust also provides support for the individual slices of pie, too.)
Baker’s Note #3 (last one, I promise!): This pie really does need to be refrigerated overnight. In a pinch, you might be able to freeze the pie to chill it super fast, but I’ve never actually tried this myself. But I have tried to only refrigerate it for a couple of hours, and it just doesn’t quite set up as nicely as when it’s been in the fridge overnight. So just plan accordingly!
Classic Key Lime Pie
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- 14 full-sized graham crackers
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- Using a food processor or mini-chopper, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter. Stir until fully combined.
- Lightly butter or grease a 9” pie dish. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom and about half-way up the sides of the dish. (Tip: A flat-bottomed glass helps pack the crust mixture down evenly.)
- Bake crust at 325°F for 13-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the Filling
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks for 2-3 minutes, or until yolks turn light pale in color. Add the condensed milk and whisk together until fully combined. Add the Key lime juice and stir until fully combined.
- Pour mixture into cooled graham cracker crust.
- Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, or until center of Filling has just set.
- Allow pie to cool to room temperature. Cover pie lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
For the Whipped Cream Garnish
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and powdered sugar.
- Using a hand mixer, beat on high until stiff peaks form.
- Transfer whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe stars around the outside of the pie. Sprinkle a small amount of lime zest on top of each star.