Desserts

November 22, 2021

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

This key lime pie is seriously one of the best desserts I have ever tried! When I tell you I'm obsessed with this, I'm not lying. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


What makes it so incredible is the how perfectly balanced the flavors are and how velvet-smooth the pie is. The citrus, the sweetness, the crunch... it's all there. Want to know how we make it even better? A homemade Graham Cracker Crust and Italian Meringue!


TO DIE FOR!

What is Key Lime Pie?


The history of the key lime pie is a heavily debated topic in Key West, Florida. No one seems to know for sure where or when it was created but the origin can be traced back to the 1800s. The reasoning behind the ingredients used were simple. They used what they had available.


A key lime pie is very similar to a lemon meringue pie, but because of the abundance of “key limes” in Key West, they were used instead of lemons. Eggs were used to help thicken the filling and instead of using fresh milk, because Key West did not receive daily shipments of milk until the second third of the 1900s, they used canned milk that had been cooked and sweetened (sweetened condensed milk) instead.


As you can probably imagine, the most important ingredient in the pie is the use of the key lime zest and juice.


Key limes differ from other limes in that they are smaller in shape, have a slightly yellow hue in color, and have a tarter and more floral flavor. In 1965, a Representative of Florida actually tried to enforce fines of $100 for establishments that tried to sell or market key lime pies without actually using key limes. The bill did not come to be, but it does highlight just how serious Floridians take their key lime pies.

Ingredients for the best key lime pie ever

Making key lime pie is surprisingly easy! You have ingredients for the crust, the filling and for the topping.


  • Key limes: Key limes, obviously based on the name of the dish, are what makes this pie. While regular limes can be used (although technically it won’t be a key lime pie) key limes are smaller and bring a tarter and more floral flavor to the pie. Key limes can be tough to find in stores but, if you are in a pinch, you can often find key lime juice. Nothing beats fresh squeezed though!
  • Italian Meringue topping: We prefer to use an Italian Meringue because it is very stable and adds the perfect balance of sweetness and delicacy that compliments the pie.
  • Graham Cracker Crust: While we certainly recommend making your graham cracker crust, if you would prefer to use a store-bought crust, simply follow the directions on the package and skip to make the filling in the recipe card.

Variations for the key lime pie recipe


The traditional key lime pie was made with a filling consisting of key lime juice and zest, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk, baked into a pie shell. While the recipe has had thousands of variations such as using no eggs, being bakeless, being gluten-free, or even being served in a manner other than as a pie altogether, one thing that all key lime lovers are adamant about is the authentic yellow color of the pie filling. Food coloring is definitely frowned upon in this recipe.


  • For the crust: You can use any type of crust you’d like to bake your filling in but we certainly prefer graham cracker crust for its brown sugar and cinnamon flavors.
  • For the topping: Typically, key lime pie is either topped with a meringue topping, a whipped cream topping, or no topping. We prefer to use a meringue topping for the pillow-like sweetness it brings that can be balanced with a quick torch to bring some brulee bitterness. If you don’t have a torch, you can very quickly hit the top of the pie with a blast from your broiler in your oven, but make sure to be very quick because the pie can’t be in the oven for more than 45 seconds or it will curdle and deflate.

Tips on making key lime pie


  1. Make sure it's set: Make sure you cool the pie entirely before topping or removing from the pie tin. If the pie has not fully cooled/set then the pie will not stay together when moving.
  2. Don't overcook: Be careful not to overcook the filling. You want to bake the pie until it just sets with a slight giggle. If the pie becomes overcooked, it will have a rubbery and spongy texture as opposed to smooth and creamy.
  3. Refrigerate overnight: It is best to refrigerate the pie overnight before serving to allow the pie to completely set. If you need the pie for later that day, try placing the pie in the freezer 20 minutes prior to serving to get that final chill.

This might me my favorite recipe we've ever made for how beautiful it looks and for how amazing it tastes. We can't wait for you to try it.


Cheers and eat well!

Key Lime Pie

Made with a topping of Italian Meringue and a crust made from homemade Graham Crackers, you will be able to familiarize yourself with a true American Classic! This easy Key Lime Pie recipe will have your family and friends come back for seconds.

Author:

Alejandra Diaz del Valle

Prep:

15

min

cook:

35

min

total:

50

min

serves:

8

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 ½ cups ground graham crackers
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Filling

  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup key lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime zest
  • 1 pinch salt

For Topping

Instructions

Making the Crust

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. In your stand mixer or food processor, add the graham cracker crumbs and sugar and mix on low speed.
  3. Slowly stream in the melted butter and completely mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Press the crust into a sprayed or buttered 8-inch pie tin and bake for about 12-15 minutes until it becomes slightly browned and firm.
  5. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Making the filling

  1. Separate the eggs and add the yolks to a bowl and whisk.
  2. Add the lime juice, zest, and salt and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to whisk until everything is evenly combined.

Putting it all together

  1. Pour the filling into the cooled graham cracker pie shell and bake in the oven at 325 F for about 15 minutes or until the pie giggles slightly in the center but is no longer liquid (Think Jello).
  2. Once cooked, remove the pie from the oven and cool completely before topping.
  3. Top with whipped cream or Italian Meringue using a pastry bag with a tip for a textured topping, or flush with an off-set spatula for a smooth topping.
  4. To brown the meringue, Burn quickly using a pastry torch.

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