I had long-shunned the pucker-ific sour Key lime pies until I made this. Lets just say that I’m now an enthusiastic convert of the Florida state pie. It is absolutely perfect in its balance of flavors, with the well-tempered tartness of the Key limes and a kiss of sweetness from the meringue. You will not regret the time you will spend to make it. I promise.
I’d lost any inclination to eat Key lime pie at any restaurant because I find them murderously sour, as if crushed with ascorbic acid tablets. Not my idea of a good dessert. I really thought that’s just the way it is. No offense to Key limes, but this was the reason I tend to cringe and do a 180° turn whenever I see them at the market.
To truthfully and finally decide for myself on the matter of Key lime pies, I made it. I wanted to know if it really should taste so repulsive and need to be delegated as a Fear Factor eating challenge where you’re required to have a neutral face. This took me the whole night to make, but it was so worth it. This is what happens when you don’t thoroughly read the instructions and end up having dessert at 11am.
Once again, The Craft of Baking made me overcome another fear: fear of eating key lime pie. The pie from DeMasco’s recipe was DIVINE. The sharp tartness of key limes were perfectly subdued in the silky curd with whipped cream–a beautiful marriage of flavors that simply made the long night of working in the kitchen less painful. The meringue was just a touch sweet, and with every bite of it with the curd and the crust, it’s perfection.
The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets with Ideas for Inventing Your Own” (2009).
- Foolproof Pie Dough (You can also use your own pie dough recipe or a ready-made 9-inch one
Key Lime Curd
- Finely grated zest from 4 Key limes
- 1/3 cup fresh Key lime juice (from at least 6 Key limes)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons or 1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- eggs whites from 4 large eggs
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Pre-bake/blind-bake your pie crust.Pre-heat oven to 375°F.Roll the pie dough on a floured surface to form an 11”-diameter disk. Loosely roll around a rolling pin and transfer into a 9” pie plate. Trim the dough and leave a 1-inch overhang to fold over. Crimp the edges. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.Prick crust on the bottom and sides with the tines of a fork. Line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans, making sure to fill to the corner and sides. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden. Remove the parchment and weights, return to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes more until golden all over. Cool plate on a wire rack. Turn off oven.
- Make the Key lime curd. Boil 2-inch-deep water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk Key lime zest, Key lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, and salt in a large heatproof bowl. Once water is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and heatproof bowl over the saucepan. Whisk the juice and egg mixture constantly until it becomes thick, about 12 to 15 minutes. Thickness test: when you trace your whisk across the bowl, the curd won’t immediately cover the track.Remove from the heat and transfer on a kitchen towel to secure it on the counter. Whisk in butter one piece at a time until it is well combined and smooth. Strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl. Line the surface of the curd with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for half an hour.Whip cream to soft peaks in a medium bowl. Fold the whipped cream into the chilled curd. Pour into completely cooled pie crust.Preheat oven to 375°F with the rack positioned about 8 inches from the top of the oven.
- For the Meringue: Whisk egg whites on low speed using an electric mixer until bubbles begin to form. Increase speed to medium-low and beat for about 5 minutes until it begins to turn opaque and increase in volume. Add granulated and confectioner’s sugar in a slow and steady stream. Add vanilla and salt. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 10 minutes until meringue becomes very thick.Spread meringue over the curd and cover up to the edges of the curd. Swirl and create peaks using a spatula. To make really nice peaks, grab a small dollop of meringue with the pads of your fingers and touch and swoop it all over the meringue to create the desired effect.Place pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating it halfway through the baking time. Peaks should be darker, and the “valley’s should still be white. Completely cool pie on a wire rack before chilling in the fridge for an hour before serving.This pie is best consumed the day it is made. Can be chilled, loosely covered in plastic wrap for up to 2 days. That is, if you have leftovers. ;-)
Happy baking and eating!