You can’t visit Florida and not have a piece of Key lime pie. It is the quintessential southern dessert. The pie is so much more than just a dessert. To me it brings feelings of comfort, satisfaction and nostalgia.
Key Lime pie is so important in Florida that the State Legislature has designated it as the State Pie. Only three other states have a designated state pie (IL, TX, and VT).
I love Key lime pie. My brother-in-law Harold makes a wonderful Key lime pie, and on my recent visit to Florida I asked him how he makes it. What is his recipe? What is his secret?
Harold was kind enough to share his secret recipe with me.
Today I am trying to make my first Key lime pie. Is “make” the right verb? I don’t know. In fact, I have never, ever made a pie. I have no idea what I am doing. But, I have Harold’s recipe.
It turns out that there is a fair amount of controversy over authentic Key lime pie recipes. Yes, indeed.
- For one, what crust do you use – graham cracker or pastry?
- Also, what topping do you use – meringue or whipped cream?
- In addition, what filling do you use – cooked or uncooked?
- Finally, what coloring do you use – none at all (i.e., light yellow) or green?
The ingredients also can differ depending on the recipe one is following. Sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese or egg yolks. Key lime juice or Key limes themselves. A touch of vanilla.
Key limes are different from regular limes. The skin of Key limes turns yellow when ripe instead of green. The juice of a Key lime is yellow too. Key limes are tart, sharp and sour. They are bitter.
Key limes (citrus aurantifolia) are the size of a golf ball and they come nowadays almost exclusively from Mexico where the growing season is year-round. Some come from Florida and California where the growing season is only from June to September.
One interesting fact to me about Key limes is that they are parthenocarpic, which means they are seedless, and don’t need seeds to reproduce. I will admit that parthenocarpic is a new word for me.
Well, it is time to start making my Key lime pie, using Harold’s recipe. I put into my mixer the can of sweetened condensed milk, my cream cheese bar, and my Key lime juice. The mixer does its work. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Once all the ingredients are blended, I pour the contents into my graham cracker lined pie dish. I forgot to add a touch of vanilla.
But that is not the biggest problem I have. No. My blended concoction only fills up half of the pie tin. See above. What am I to do? Egad, this is going to be the thinnest key lime pie ever made.
Undaunted I place the top on the pie tin and put the Key lime pie into my refrigerator where it will sit for the next 20+ hours. Then it should be ready for consumption. I will of course have to add the whipped cream on top of it once I take it out of the refrigerator.
What is amazing to me is that the pie is not baked. It is served cold. Amazing!
Stay tuned for a report on how my first Key lime pie turns out.
I suspect that some of my readers may be thinking about the calories and carbohydrates associated with Key lime pie. I have done some research on this and it turns out that Key lime pie can be very beneficial to those who consume it.
It has lots of vitamin C, which protects one from infection and speeds up the body’s healing process. It has antioxidants, which reduce inflammation. And it has citric acids which can boost metabolism, which can assist in weight loss. Admittedly, a piece of Key lime pie has approximately 300 calories and has around 40 net carbs.
But, hey, this is the State Pie of Florida. And, when in Florida, do as a Floridian. Have a piece of Key lime pie!