When you dreamt about your wedding as a child did the tiered tower of frosted swoops and swirls take center stage? Or was it a tailored stack of sleek white shapes set off with sprigs of colorful blooms? I think most young romantic dreamers desire to follow tradition. But some couples want something different. They want to create a new tradition. One that reflects what they’re building together as a couple. Like making pie. So it happened that I spent the past week planning for and making pies for a young couple’s wedding. I thought their decision to forego the traditional wedding cake emblematic of all aspects of their “industrial farmhouse” style celebration. It’s one thing to make pie for people who don’t make their own. It’s quite another to make wedding pies for a couple who bake themselves and have distinct favorites. There were fifteen pies. Seasonal gallettes of peach and blackberry were my choice. The groom’s favorite was strawberry-rhubarb crumble to which I added raspberries for color and brightness. The bride was passionate about Key Lime and requested a graham cracker crust made with coconut and macadamia nuts, which turned out to be a revelation. I have the recipe for you below.
This is the last pie-a-day post this summer. Our fourth summer of pie will be complete after the judges announce the winners at the 4th Annual Good Food Pie Contest at LACMA on Saturday. It’s hard to believe that a simple thing like sweet (or savory) filling contained by a crust can inspire so much conversation and community which of course, is what it’s all about. The marvelous community of home bakers, pros, writers on and off the internet, and eaters which gather each year around our virtual Pie-a-Day will coalesce as a group of actual pie competitors, their entourages, proud apron wearers, judges and loads and loads of expectant pie eaters. My kudos to all competitors!
My Friend Theresa’s Key Lime Pie
10 Graham Crackers
1 cup Vanilla Wafers
3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
½ cup diced Macadamia Nuts
½ cup shredded unsweetened Coconut
1 stick (1/4 lb) Unsalted Butter + more if needed
First, pulverize the Graham Crackers and Vanilla Wafers into crumbs. You can do this in the food processor using a steel blade or by putting the cookies in a zip lock bag and beating them with a rolling pin. The later is more fun.
Put the cookie crumbs in a small bowl. Add the brown sugar, macadamia nuts and coconut and toss with your fingers to mix. Melt the butter and pour it over the crumb mixture. Stir or mix with your fingers. Try squeezing the crumbs in your fist. If they don’t stick together melt another tablespoon or two of butter and add it to the crumbs. Press the ingredients into a 9″ pie plate with your fingers. To get a better result press hard. Bake the pie shell in a preheated 350º oven 10-12 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool.
4 extra large Egg Yolks
1 can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup Fresh Key Lime juice (approx. 12 key Limes).
If you can’t find key limes use regular limes. It will be delicious
Beat the egg yolks until they are thick and pale yellow in color. Fold in the condensed milk. Slowly mix in the lime juice in two additions. Be careful when folding the lime juice into the egg-condensed milk mixture not to deflate the volume of the eggs.
Pour the mixture into the cooled or barely warmpie shell and bake at 350º for 15-20 minutes to set the yolks. All you want is for the eggs to set. DO NOT LET THE FILLING RISE LIKE A SOUFFLE!
Key Lime Pie filling is dense and creamy. If your filling rises it will have a completely wrong mousse-like texture. You can always freeze it and call it Frozen Key Lime Mousse Pie.
I check the filling every 5 minutes until it is just set. If I see any bubbles breaking on the top of the filling I pull the pie out of the oven immediately. Let the pie cool then place it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. It’s ideal if it chills overnight.
Serve the pie chilled and topped with a little whipped cream. Don’t mask the whole pie with cream. The filling is too pretty.
½ to 1 cup whipping Cream
2 to 4 tablespoons Powdered Sugar
Whip cream and use to decorate pie.