Key Lime Pie

Getting a nice burst of citrus in winter is wonderful, especially since it’s practically the only affordable fruit this time of year.  It’s even more wonderful when you get 12 limes for $2 at an Asian super market.  How does that saying go?  When life gives you limes, make key lime pie?  (Even if the limes you get aren’t actually key limes, I’d go ahead and make the pie anyway, purists be damned.)

During my senior year of college, one of my housemates was obsessed with key lime pie, so I’ve made the dessert quite a few times.  Every time I made it though, the filling never filled out the crust very well, always leaving an overhang of cracker crumbs that loomed ominously over the lime custard, so I went in search of a new recipe.

This recipe uses beaten eggs white to make the filling fluffier and more meringue-esque, while still retaining the tart, distinct lime taste.  And it almost fills out the crust a little too well.  That’s more like it.

Sadly, the lighter filling doesn’t hold together quite as well as a traditional custard, so my photos aren’t so amazing as I’d like.  Still, this pie is a perfect winter pick me up.

Key Lime Pie

Adapted from Visions of Sugar Plum

Crust:

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Filling:

3 large egg whites

 4 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a medium mixing bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 3 tablespoons sugar until well combined; press evenly into a greased 9-inch pie dish. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form; gradually beat in 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. In an additional large mixing bowl, beat yolks, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest, vanilla and salt until well combined – about 1-2 minutes. Fold egg whites into lime filling until combined.

Pour filling into pie crust. Bake 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown on top and filling is set. Cool on a wire rack for an hour before chilling completely in the refrigerator.

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