17 July 2011

Easy and Simple: How To Make The Best Key Lime Pie

Flounder's Key Lime Pie

Flounder's Key Lime Pie, in Pensacola, Florida, a stacked key lime pie

From Denny: Making your own key lime pie is so simple - and rewarding! It's definitely one of my favorite desserts, especially in the heat of the summer. The tartness really cools you off. FYI, any tart food cools down your liver, which, in turn, cools off your body in hot weather. So, think apples, limes, grapefruit and blackberries if you want to cool off the healthy way.

Florida is known for their key lime pie and there are fans of it all over the country now. The real secret to making this simple and easy famous pie is to purchase real key limes for the recipe. Key limes are very small, very tart and thin-skinned. When ripe they turn from green to yellow.

Most limes in our American grocery stores are those large beautiful, neon green and thicker-skinned Persian limes. Persian limes are also much less tart so they don't deliver that full flavor to the pie cooks, and tasters alike, desire.

How simple is this pie recipe? Really simple: 100 percent key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk and a good graham cracker crust with a little melted butter, brown sugar and chopped nuts. At our house we make the chocolate graham cracker crust while others choose to use traditional pastry crust. It's your preference.

There are many versions of key lime pie, some with eggs and some not. The recipes with eggs must be baked. The ones without eggs can usually be frozen and do not require baking.

Key lime pie filling can be used for more than just a pie. Try it for making pie bars, in canollis, tarts, cupped desserts, and cupcake toppings or as a topping for cakes. Now, that's decadent! :) Just make sure that the pie filling you make is nice and thick for maximum effect.

Jim Brush is renown for making the best key lime pie in America. He has captured five blue ribbons from the American Pie Council's National Pie Championships. His business first started out as just selling pies on the side of the road on a simple folding table. Two weekends of selling 300 pies and it was clear to him it was time to start a real business because of the high demand.

Oh, and I could not resist this beautiful photo of a stacked version of key lime pie from Flounder's Restaurant in Pensacola, Florida.  This pie recipe is just for the simple version of a pie filling in one pie plate for a single layer.  But this photo sure gives us ideas of awesome presentation and the temptation to make three pies just to try it!

Here's a short clip about key lime pie from rapper Vanilla Ice who visits the Florida Keys often and it's his favorite dessert:

Key Lime Pie

From: Jim Brush, president of the Key West Key Lime Pie Co.


14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (one can)

1 cup non-dairy whipped topping

1/2 cup key lime juice

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons brown sugar

pinch of salt

1/4 cup melted butter


Using a wire whisk, combine condensed milk and non-dairy whipped topping. Slowly add in the juice, mixing while you add it in. The juice will cause a chemical reaction to take place and the mixture will thicken. You want to whip it to a thick consistency but not over mix, because that will break the chemical reaction. Place the mixture in the fridge while you prep the crust.

For the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and pinch of salt. Pour in the melted butter until the mixture is nice and firm and pat it down into an ungreased glass pie dish. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Let it cool for an hour.

Pour pie mixture into crust, level it with spatula and put in the freezer for one-and-a-half to two hours.

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