Bake Away the Winter Blues with Luscious Key Lime Pie

Hello Bakers,

There has been so much going on with filming the latest Craftsy class and finishing the macaron book
that this poor blog is sorely neglected.
But not anymore....
The year is young and there is so much baking to do.
We will start 2016 with a three part series on working with citrus fruit

This is the time of year when citrus is at it's best. Here in California the trees are heavy with fruit.
Let's start with Key Lime Pie. You know it - it's delicious hard to eat just one slice.
Key limes were transplanted, literally, to the Florida Keys by the Spanish in the 1500s.
They are Key West - every restaurant sells some variation of the Key lime pie.
What's a little ironic is that in 1926, a hurricane wiped out the key lime plantations in South Florida.
They were replanted with Persian limes, which were easier to pick and grow. Today, key lime plantations are grown closer to Miami.
In Key West, actual key limes have urban myth status. They are found in back yards and never leave the Keys....
Key limes are tricky to squeeze but it can be done. Key lime juice can also be purchased. The best brand is Nellie and Joe's. I would rather use fresh (non key lime juice and extra zest) the bottled key lime juice. But if you are too pressed for time to squeeze limes then that is an option.
In the early days, key lime pie wasn't baked.
During mixing there is a reaction between the condensed milk and the lime juice that causes the filling to thicken on it's own before baking.
Today, we know it is dangerous to consume raw eggs, so the pie is baked for 12-14 minutes until the eggs are cooked and the filling is set. Baking it is better because it helps the filling set up even firmer.
Traditionally, key lime pie was topped with meringue - those egg whites have to be used up after all.
But this version uses whipped cream as a topping. Any extra egg whites in my kitchen get turned into macarons.
One last bit of history, there are 38 states in the union that have an official state dessert and Key Lime Pie is Florida's.

Key lime pie is very quick to put together - Bakers you have to try this.
Let me know what you think.
Happy Baking!

Key Lime Pie
One 8”pie, about 8 servings
2 8” pie pans - the disposable ones work best for shaping the crust
2 medium bowls
18”-20” (45 to 50cm) piping bag
Medium open star tip
Scissors to cut bag
5 ounces (142g) graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons, 1 ounce, (28g) sugar
5 Tablespoons, 2 ½ ounces, (71g) butter, melted
Grated zest of one lime
½ cup, 4 ounces, 113g fresh squeezed key lime or regular lime juice
3 large egg yolks, 2.13ounces, (60g)
1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14 ounces, (397g)
Whipped Cream (Chantilly) Topping
1 cup, 8 ounces, 227g heavy cream
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon, 1 ¼ ounces (40g) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Mix well
  3. Press the graham cracker crumb mixture into one of the pie pans. It should cover
the bottom, sides and lip of the pan. Line shell with plastic wrap.

4. Carefully press the 2nd pan on top of the graham cracker crumb mixture. Push down hard 
so that the crust is flat and smooth against the first pan. 

Carefully remove the top pan.
    5.   Bake the crust for 7 minutes. The crust should be a light golden brown. Remove and set aside.
    6.   Prepare filling. In a medium bowl combine lime juice, lime zest, egg yolks and condensed milk.    Mix well.

    7. Pour filling into pie shell.

    8. Place in oven. Start checking at 14 minutes. The filling should jiggle slightly but not ripple.
If it jiggles then put it back in the oven for another 4-5 minutes. Check again. By now it should look set.
    9. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Let cool for a half hour then move to the refrigerator to completely cool.

A few hours before serving, make whipped cream (Chantilly) topping.
Mixing by hand:
1.      Make sure all the ingredients and the bowls are chilled.
2.      Whisk the cream, vigorously, until it is slightly thickened, about the consistency of yogurt..
3.      Add the sifted confectioner’s sugar and the vanilla.
4.      Continue to whip the cream until the cream is smooth but not grainy, about the consistency of shaving cream.
5.      Do not over-whip or the cream will become grainy and separate.
Mixing by Machine:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment or using a hand held mixer,
whip the cream on medium speed until it is slightly thickened, about the consistency of  yogurt.
    2.  Stop the mixer and add the sifted confectioner’s sugar and the vanilla.
    3.  Increase speed to medium high and continue to whip until the cream is smooth but not grainy, about the consistency of shaving cream.
    4. Do not over whip or the cream will become grainy and separate.
Chantilly cream should be made and used a few hours before serving.
Finishing the pie...
Put the tip in the piping bag and fill with the cream. Pipe a pretty border around the edge of the pie.
The pie can be decorated 2-3 hours ahead of serving and refrigerated.
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Key Lime Pie will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.