Key Lime Pie is a classic American dessert, particularly famous in the Florida Keys, from where it gets its name. This pie is celebrated for its unique combination of a buttery crust, a tangy and creamy lime filling, and a soft, sweet topping, usually whipped cream or meringue.
The crust of Key Lime Pie is typically made from graham crackers, crushed into fine crumbs, mixed with melted butter and a bit of sugar. This mixture is pressed into a pie dish, forming the base and sides of the pie. The crust is then baked for a short time to set it, resulting in a crisp and flavorful foundation that contrasts beautifully with the creamy filling.
The filling, the heart of the pie, is where the distinctive flavor of Key limes comes into play. Key limes are smaller and tarter than regular limes, and their juice is more aromatic, giving the pie its unique taste. The filling is made by combining Key lime juice with sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. The condensed milk adds sweetness and a creamy texture, while the egg yolks contribute to the filling’s richness and help it set upon baking.
In some variations, a small amount of lime zest is added to the filling, enhancing the lime flavor and adding a bit of texture. The mixture is whisked until smooth and then poured into the pre-baked crust.
The pie is then baked until the filling is just set. It’s important not to overbake, as the filling should have a smooth, custard-like consistency. After baking, the pie is chilled in the refrigerator, which helps to further set the filling and makes it easier to slice.
Key Lime Pie is traditionally topped with either whipped cream or meringue. Whipped cream offers a light and fluffy contrast to the dense filling, while meringue, typically sweetened and browned slightly in the oven, adds a delicate and airy touch.
When served, Key Lime Pie offers a delightful balance of flavors and textures – the buttery crunch of the crust, the smooth and tangy lime filling, and the light, sweet topping. The combination of the tart lime with the sweet elements makes it a refreshing and satisfying dessert, perfect for warm weather and summertime gatherings. This pie is not only a beloved dessert in Florida but has also gained popularity across the United States and beyond, beloved for its simple yet vibrant flavors.
How to Store Key Lime Pie
Cover the cooled Key lime pie tightly with storage wrap or foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days. Serve chilled.
Can You Freeze Key Lime Pie?
Yes! You can freeze Key lime pie for up to three months (but make sure you don’t add whipped cream or toppings until after it’s thawed). If you plan to freeze the pie, bake it in a foil pan. Wrap the cooled pie in at least one layer of storage wrap, then follow it up with at least one layer of foil. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- 3 cups sweetened condensed milk
- ¾ cup key lime juice
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
- 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
How To Make Key Lime Pie
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Combine condensed milk, key lime juice, sour cream, and lime zest in a bowl; mix well. Pour into graham cracker crust; place pie on a baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes, until tiny pinhole bubbles burst on the surface of the pie. The filling will be wobbly but not browned.
- Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool, then thoroughly chill pie in the refrigerator before serving, about 1 hour. Garnish with lime slices and whipped cream, if desired.