Friday, April 19, 2013

NomNom: Key Lime Pie

When it comes to desserts, I'm a bit particular with pies. In fact, I'm not the biggest fan. Yea, I know.

Key lime pie is no exception.....until about two years ago. Not sure what exactly happened but the change of attitude began when a friend of mine ordered it for dessert and kinda coaxed me to just give it one more chance. I believe in 2nd chances so I gave it a bite. Or two.

It didn't taste as bad as I remembered it but it wasn't a game changing moment either. It was just okay. I think what happened was that over the years, my palette for all things tart and citrus changed progressively changed. I used to not like anything lemon flavored for the longest time and when I told one of my besties who happens to love anything with a citrus taste, that I was beginning to turn a corner, she was shocked. It was the equivalent of telling someone you started to eat meat when you've been a vegetarian all your life. That sort of caliber.

This recipe tops all the key lime pies I've tasted in the past, meaning I've ordered it from many restaurants. I'm a curious soul by nature, especially when it comes to food, so trust me when I say I've tried them all. The silky smooth texture of the filling is almost custard like but with the addition of some serious citrus punch. It tastes amazing buy itself, especially if you love things tart, but if you want to mellow out the citrus flavor, you can add a dollop of whipped cream. I prefer mine unadorned.

One of the wonderful thing about pies is that it yields many slices. This charming dessert is meant to be shared amongst loved ones over tea or coffee and bonus points if there's good, solid conversation involved.

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Ingredients for Pie (Adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
4 large egg yolks
4 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1/2 cup juice (5 limes)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 recipe Graham Cracker crust (recipe follows)

Topping (Optional)
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup (1 ounce) confectioner's sugar

Procedure for Pie
1. Whisk egg yolks and lime zest together in medium bowl until mixture has a light green tint, about 2 minutes. Whisk in condensed milk until smooth, then whisk in lime juice. Cover mixture and set aside at room temperature until thickened, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare and bake Graham Cracker Crust. Transfer pie plate to wire rack. Do not turn off oven. (Crust must still be warm when filling is added).

3. Pour thickened filling into warm pre-bake pie crust. Bake pie until center is firm but jiggles slightly when shaken, 15-20 minutes. Let pie cool slightly on wire rack, about 1 hour. then cover loosely with plastic warp and refrigerate until filling is chilled and set about 3 hours.

4. For the topping, if using: Once pie is chilled, use stand mixer fitted with whisk to whip cream and sugar to medium low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1-3 minutes. Spread topping attractively over top of pie.

Ingredients for Graham Cracker Crust
8 whole graham crackers, broken into 1-inch pieces
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons sugar

Procedure for Crust
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Process cracker pieces in food processor to fine, even crumbs about 30 seconds. Sprinkle melted butter and sugar over crumbs and pulse to incorporate, about 5 pulses.

2. Sprinkle mixture into 9-inch pie plate. Using bottom of measuring cup, press crumbs into even layer on bottom and sides of the plate. Bake until crust is fragrant and beginning to brown 13-18 minutes; transfer to wire rack.

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