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In desperate need of a good key lime pie recipe :)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hey there, I tried for a key lime pie and the one I used was VERY strong, tried cutting the lime juice down a little for the second attempt then the condensed milk taste was to prevalent. So does anybody have a good solid recipe? Im making this for a friend, it's their favorite dessert so I want it to come out delicious as she's had many many different versions of it.

Thanks much!

post #2 of 13
Key Lime Pie is a tart dessert, but very simple.
Crust, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and key lime juice-that's it. If any recipe calls for zest, cream cheese or any other adulterations, it just won't be right.
Here's the recipe every respectable pastry chef or conch homemaker in Key West Florida uses:

1 9-inch graham cracker crust
3 egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup fresh or bottled key lime juice (use Nellie and Joe's or Floribbean brands, never ReaLime!)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Toast crust for 6-10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together yolks and condensed milk. Slowly whisk in key lime juice. Pour into crust. Bake 10-15 minutes until small bubbles begin to form and pop just around the edges. Top with meringue while hot, or whipped cream after cooling and chilling pie completely.
If you are topping with meringue-
While pie is baking beat 3 egg whites until foamy. Slowly add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spoon meringue onto top of hot pie and swirl to form nice peaks. Bake 5-10 minutes until meringue becomes golden and peaks darken. Cool completely on wire rack.

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!


Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

post #3 of 13
Try this, I find it a good balance and its doesn't break when cut:

2 - 9in pie shells
15 egg yolks
9 oz Nellie & Joe's Key lime Juice( or the real thing)
3 - 14oz cans of condensed milk

Bake @ 325 for about 20 to 30 min.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, I will give these a try.
post #5 of 13
My recipe is a slightly adapted version of the one from Joe's Stone Crab.

For a 9" (homemade) graham cracker crust, I use:

3 egg yolks
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup freshly squeezed ripe key lime juice
Zest of 1/2 to 1-1/2 limes (taken with a microplane)

Those are the proportions, anyway. There are a couple of fine points to the technique. Start by beating the eggs with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer, and beat them at high speed until they turn lemon yellow, about five minutes. Add the milk and beat until thick, about four minutes. Add the lime and zest, and beat at low speed only until just combined.

Now here's the kicker Clint: I start with the lesser amount of lime juice and zest, and taste the custard as I mix, before baking it. If it's too creamy I add more lime juice. Too bitter, I counter the bitterness with a little confectioners sugar and/or a little cream.

Always remember a recipe is only a suggestion. It was not given on Mt. Sinai written in stone. What was written in stone is this: The first rule of cooking is to taste and adjust. The acid/sweet/dairy balance of a key lime pie should not come as any more of a surprise than the amount of salt in a soup.

Taste and adjust,
post #6 of 13
Thanks Yeti-Ji,
post #7 of 13

lemon pie

This recipe is really easy and different from the other above and highly recommended.

For the pie base:

100 g unsalted butter cut to cubes
100 g sugar powder
200 g flour
1 egg

For the lemon filling:

150 g sugar
100 cc fresh lemon juice
3 eggs
1 lemon zest
400 cc cream
100 g cherry (you don't have to use it, it's just to make it beautiful...)

And now to work:

1. Mix all the pie base ingredients until you have a smooth douge and place in the fridge for 20-30 min.

2. Heat the oven to 160 Celsius, place the dough in a pie pan and bake for 15 min.

3. In the meantime, put the lemon juice, zest and sugar in a saucepan and heat it until the sugar will melt.

4. Place the 3 eggs in a bowl and mix them to an airing mixture, add the lemon slowly and mix well.

5. Heat the cream in a saucepan antil it will start bubbling on the sides.

6. Mix the cream slowly into the lemon mix.

7. Raise the temperature of the oven to 170 Celsius, blend the filling mix into the pie base and spread some cherry.

8. Bake for 20 min.

:D Have fun.

Amir Arie
Amir Arie
Amir Arie
post #8 of 13
I must say, the use of lemon and cherry in place of the key lime really makes that the sort of key lime pie one just doesn't see much any more.

post #9 of 13
...or, ever.

Sorry, I must disagree with the zest suggestion. Lime zest can be wonderful in some applications. Combined with condensed milk, then baked, it becomes bitter and does not contribute any valuable flavor profile to a key lime pie.
You also should never use green limes for key lime pie. Key lime pie is just that-a pie made with key limes. Anything else is some other lime dessert.

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!


Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

post #10 of 13
My recipe actually specifies ripe, yellow, key limes -- and I wrote it for this thread that way. Unfortunately there were server problems last night, which combined with my usual obsessive editing, caused part of the recipe to drop out. Perhaps it's more accurate to say the server problems confused me, and when it comes to confusion there isn't much head room. My bad.

Here in Southern California, we still grow lots of key limes commercially, and also import an enormous amount of key limes from Mexico, mostly because key lime plays such an important role in Mexican cuisine. These limes are usually harvested, sold and used while small and green. Small and green as opposed to the limes on my tree which are large and yellow -- when truly ripe. These green limes, like the immature green limes from my tree, are more limey compared to the ripe limes, which are more generically citrus.

We obviously disagree on lime zest. This may or may not have something to do with how it's taken -- I take mine with a micro plane which avoids pith. It's the pith which is mostly responsible for unpleasant bitterness. The volatile oils in the skin add intensity and (to me) a pleasantly bitter aftertaste, adding one more contrast to sweet/sour/custard-creamy.

FWIW, the recipe I posted for the key lime filling tracks Joe's Stone Crab's recipe very closely, including the use of zest. Joe's Key Lime Pie The differences between my recipe and Joe's are that, while allowing for variation in the flavor and intensity of the limes, I tend to use less lime and less zest than Joe's. On the other hand, I use considerably more lime juice than do you. We have our own lime tree, and use all our own fruit. Even so, or perhaps because, the quality of the fruit varies tremendously. If you disagree on the use of any lime zest at all, you should take it up with Joe's. Boar D. Laze only pawn in game of life. I also use a slightly different crust, but that wasn't at issue here so I didn't include it.

As you may have guessed, my real concerns on this forum are far more about teaching strong cooking techniques than disseminating any recipe or particular set of recipes. Considering that you and I often run into one another on baking threads it may surprise you that I don't consider baking to be one of my strengths -- still more true with pastry. I'm adequate, and no more (K-A on proteins and sauces, if I say so myself).

Nevertheless, my experience is that most home bakers follow recipes too closely to the extent they rely too heavily on repeating accurate measurements without much regard to their materials. Especially with fruit, the products vary too much for a tsp of this and a cup of that to be reliable ratios which will produce a particular flavor. What's important are tastes and textures. To the extent that it's possible, that means tasting. Whether you can taste or not, you always need to use your senses of taste and smell -- not to mention the good sense the good Lord gave you. Good cooking requires active involvement. That's why I posted the variable measurements and the tasting advice. IMO, that way of thinking about food is more important than the question of zest or no zest.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
boar_d_laze: Wait a minute, key limes are yellow when ripe?

Does the flavor of the pie change as it is baked and cooled? Because when I taste tested the custard it tasted nice and limey then when I tasted the finished product the lime flavor seemed to mellow out on me.

All these recipes look similar to the one I used so I think Ill just keep taste testing my custard until perfection. Part of it may be my personal bias that interfered, when I think pie I think generally sweet but as foodnfoto mentioned I guess it is supposed to be tart. Hopefully my friend likes it. There is nothing more stressful than cooking for friends >_<
post #12 of 13
In the US, we mostly use two kinds of limes for food. These are Key, a.k.a. Mexican, a.k.a. Bartender's limes, and Persian limes. Key limes, ripened on the tree are a pale yellow. Ripe Persians are green.

There are a lot of reasons why the filling becomes less tart and more mellow as it cooks. One of the reasons to include zest is to hold on to some of that tart quality. The volatile oils in the zest don't convert to sugars as much as those in the juice, nor because of their inherent bitterness are they as overwhelmed by the mellowing of the condensed milk -- both effects caused by the combination of egg yolk and cooking. At any rate, after cooking they hit the palate a little harder than limey components of the juice. This is something you're going to have to fool around with until you're completely in control. Dealing with your description, my first impulse would be to bump the zest and juice a little.

post #13 of 13
My apologies if I seem a little dogmatic about Key Lime Pie. I'm a former Key Wester (though not a conch) and have very fond memories of the place, and of working there too. It was there that I first discovered a talent for pastry and set off into my culinary life. Key Lime Pie, it's culture and production and my vocational life are kind of romantically intertwined. My Cuban baby sitter (Mama Oria) used to make KLP for me sometimes and it was so simple and tart with a big billowy meringue on top. Wow, it was good on a hot, humid day. And of course, as a pastry cook, I made thousands upon thousands of them. We saved the zest for the conch salad.

On a side note, we used to eat these little limes right off the tree in the backyard-called them Spanish Limes. They grew in clusters off the branches of large shady trees and had thin, crispy skins and center pits like lychees. But the fruit around the pit was limey and sweet, like a naturally juicy SweetTart. I never could figure out how to use them in a recipe, but they were great.

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!


Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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