Sunday, March 7, 2010

South Beach: Key Lime Pie

A few weeks ago we snuck away with some friends for a warm weather getaway to Miami. We spent the weekend enjoying the outdoors, the sunshine, and the delicious food available in South Beach. I had a few items on my “to-do” list of things to eat while I was down there: stone crabs, mojitos, plantains, and key lime pie. Within the first two days, I had checked off every item!

We had a great meal at Joe’s Stone Crabs, which we capped off with their famous key lime pie. Before heading home, I stopped in a grocery store and picked up some key limes to bring back with me. I made a key lime pie in my own kitchen to bring us a little taste of Miami in our winter wonderland here.

I fortunately bought two bags of key limes, and used every single one of them to squeeze out the 2/3 cup of lime juice the recipe calls for. If you have a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, now is the time to pull it out! You’ll save yourself a lot of time (and your arm muscles a lot of strain!) in whisking both the filling and the whipped cream.

Key Lime Pie

Graham Cracker Crust:
1/3 of a 1-pound box graham crackers
5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar

3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup freshly squeezed Key lime juice, or store bought

1 cup heavy or whipping cream chilled
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

For the graham cracker crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Break up the graham crackers; place in a food processor and process to crumbs. If you don't have a food processor, place the crackers in a large plastic bag; seal and then crush the crackers with a rolling pin. Add the melted butter and sugar and pulse or stir until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and side of a pie pan, forming a neat border around the edge. Bake the crust until set and golden, 8 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack; leave the oven on.

For the filling:
Meanwhile, in an electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and lime zest at high speed until very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to beat until thick, 3 or 4 minutes longer. Lower the mixer speed and slowly add the lime juice, mixing just until combined, no longer. Pour the mixture into the crust. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the filling has just set. Cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate. Freeze for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

For the topping:

Whip the cream and the confectioners' sugar until nearly stiff. Cut the pie into wedges and serve very cold, topping each wedge with a large dollop of whipped cream.

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