Saturday, September 29, 2007

Key Lime Pie Part One

The first of a two part series. Click any photo for larger version.

Before I begin this two part series about Key Lime Pie, I must first and foremost give a tip of the hat to the inspiration for this recipe, Steve H. His original blog post and recipe can be found here and I basically followed it to the number. There are a couple of minor variations and I took some photos of the process. So lets begin.

Have you ever ordered key lime pie in a restaurant? It is a complete crapshoot. Sometimes I have been impressed, other times I have eaten two bites and pushed the plate away in disgust. It is probably my favorite dessert. The only problem is that I won't be ordering it out anymore, as I know I can make better myself. This recipe is so easy just about anyone with basic motor skills can do it.

First, what exactly is a "key lime"? From the wiki:

The Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia (often abbreviated to: C. aurantifolia), or Citrus x aurantifolia (Christm.) Swingle), also known as the Mexican lime, West Indian lime or Bartender's lime, has a globose fruit, 2.5-5 cm in diameter (1-2 in), that is yellow when ripe but usually picked green commercially. It is smaller, seedier, has a higher acidity, a stronger aroma, and a thinner rind than that of the more common Persian lime. It is valued for its unique flavor compared to other limes, with the key lime usually having a more tart and bitter flavor. Named after the Florida Keys, it is best known there as the flavoring ingredient in Key lime pie.

They are rather smallish compared to a regular (or Persian) lime as you can see in the photo below.

Below we have a photo of the ingredients you will need. We will go clockwise starting at the pie crust. You will need one of those, along with the key limes, 6 eggs, 8oz heavy cream, two cans of sweetened condensed milk and most importantly that key lime squeezer. Again, hats off to Steve, who recommended it. You can buy it here, for $6.95. Do yourself a favor and buy the standard sized squeezer as well. You can land both at your house for under $20. The first time I made this pie I used standard persian limes (I will comment on this later) you can get anywhere and I squeezed them by hand - never again.
OK, you will need 1.25 cups of key lime juice so get to work with that squeezer. Here is what it looks like, and it took exactly 32 key limes to get this amount of juice. It goes extremely quickly with the squeezer.
Strain the juice to remove any seeds or other garbage that fell in there and set aside. Now, put the two cans of condensed milk into a bowl and mix in six egg yolks. After they are mixed in, add the key lime juice and mix that in. It won't want to go into the milk at first, but it will after about a minute or so.
Then, dump that into the crust. Steve H. will probably give me the berries for not making my own graham cracker crust. The homemade ones are better, I must admit, but time only allowed me the store bought one. Here is what you have now.
Pretty easy, eh? Almost done - part two will deal with whipped cream and show the final product.

Cross posted at Chicago Boyz.


Steve H. Graham said...

What? No homemade crust?

It's the BERRIES for you, my friend.

How come those limes are in a box? Don't they sell Mexican limes in stores up there?

Dan from Madison said...

I looked all over the place and couldn't find any and had to have them shipped in. I cover that in part two which I will post tomorrow. I knew I would get the berries for the fake crust.