This recipe comes to us from James Oseland, author of Saveur: The New Comfort Food – Home Cooking from Around The World.
Growing up in suburban California, key lime pie felt exotic. It was like an unattainable version of lemon meringue pie, slightly daring and weirdly sexy. It took a family trip to New Orleans when I was a teenager for me to taste it for the first time. It didn’t disappoint: It was one of those I-have-arrived moments, and in the years since, despite the pie’s growing ubiquity (you can find it on menus all over the country these days), for me it hasn’t lost its cachet.
The pie’s specialness is crystallized in this recipe from Saveur: The New Comfort Food, which came to the test kitchen by way of Joe’s Stone Crab, a classic Miami restaurant. The recipe is fabulous. The filling is just key lime juice (persian lime juice can be substituted, if you muuuuust), condensed sweetened milk, and enough eggs to hold everything together. With a graham cracker crust and a rich whipped cream topping (no meringue here; that would be sacrilege on this pie), the simple ingredients combine into something brilliantly complex: nutty, creamy, and bracingly tart. It’s everything a citrus pie should be.
Keep reading for the recipe…
Key Lime Pie
This Key lime pie is based on the one served at Joe’s Stone Crab, a Miami restaurant. You can use tiny, intensely flavorful Key limes or bottled Key lime juice though ordinary Persian lime juice works well, too.
1 cup plus 2 1/2 tbsp. graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tbsp. lime zest (from 2 limes)
3 egg yolks
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup fresh lime juice preferably from Key limes
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Pulse cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a food processor to combine. Press evenly into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
2. In a medium bowl, beat lime zest and egg yolks with a had mixer until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add milk and beat until thickened, 3-4 minutes more. Add lime juice, mix until smooth. Pour filling into pie crust; bake until filling is just set in the middle, 8-10 minutes. Let the pie cool.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk cream and confectioners’ sugar to stiff peaks. Spread whipped cream over the top of pie and chill 2-3 hours before serving.