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Key Lime Pie

This is the modern classic version of Key Lime Pie—nubbly graham cracker crust filled with tangy, zest-flecked custard and topped with billowy whipped cream. Each bite is equal parts sweet, tart, creamy, and crunchy, and always a crowd favorite.

Sweetened condensed milk may have been behind Key lime pie’s creation, but Key limes themselves are just as essential. Once common in the Florida Keys, the tiny citrus fruit that’s about half the size and rounder than a Persian lime, as well as less acidic, is now largely relegated to ornamental trees scattered in parks and on patios. Almost all commercial Key lime growing occurs elsewhere, mostly in Mexico and South America.
Because of Key limes’ small size, some people find it not worth the effort to zest and juice them, and they’re also not commonly available outside the Southern US. If you can’t find fresh Key limes or choose not to use them, our recommended substitute is Persian lime zest and bottled Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice.
In 1968, Nellie and Joe Fernandez began hand-squeezing Key limes from their backyard tree into whatever old bottles they had and selling it out of their kitchen. Offering access to the fresh juice without the labor was a hit, and the company took off. Cheryl Millar and her husband bought the business in 1993. “Nellie had passed by the time we came in, but Joe would come by the factory often. He loved to use the juice to make ceviche,” Cheryl says. “He was a real character.”
Nellie & Joe’s has continued to grow to meet demand. It has two facilities, one in Pompano Beach, Florida, and another in California. “We keep getting bigger, and it’s because every time you open a bottle of Nellie & Joe’s, you know what you are getting,” Cheryl says. “It’s important to carry this on for Nellie and Joe; they were real people who put their names behind this business,” Cheryl says.


Key Lime Pie

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie



2 cups (200 grams) finely ground graham cracker crumbs2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter, melted


cups (468 grams) sweetened condensed milk tablespoons (4.5 grams) Key lime zest½ cup (120 grams) fresh Key lime juice4 large egg yolks (74 grams)½ teaspoon (2 grams) vanilla extract¼ teaspoon kosher salt


cups (360 grams) cold heavy whipping cream6 tablespoons (42 grams) confectioners’ sugar½ teaspoon (2 grams) vanilla extractGarnish: Key lime slices


Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly spray a 9-inch ceramic pie plate with cooking spray.
For crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, and salt. Stir in melted butter until well combined. (Crust should hold together when pressed). Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press mixture into bottom and up sides of prepared pan.
Bake until crust is fragrant and set, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Leave oven on.
For filling: In a large bowl, whisk together condensed milk, lime zest and juice, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt until well combined. Spread into prepared crust. Using a wooden pick, pop any bubbles on surface, if desired.
Bake until crust is golden brown, edges are set, and center jiggles slightly when plate is gently shaken, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate until cold and set, at least 4 hours, or overnight. (Loosely cover pie once cold if refrigerating overnight.)
For topping: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cold cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla at medium speed until medium-stiff peaks form. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with desired piping tip; pipe whipped cream mixture onto cold pie as desired. Garnish with lime slices, if desired. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

The post Key Lime Pie first appeared on Bake from Scratch.

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