Key lime pie is a wonderful and refreshing treat — and it is especially enjoyable during warmer weather.
Many modern key lime pies are made with graham crust, bottled lime juice and green food dye. Delicious and attractive as they may be, I wanted to make a truly authentic dessert...
Becoming a classic of the Florida keys meant using readily available ingredients and being able to avoid the full heat of the oven.Traditionally, condensed milk was used because it was easy to store and kept well. A meringue topping both used up the egg whites and eliminated the need for fresh whipping cream. Graham crusts were a great innovation, but the first key lime pies used simple pastry. Of course fresh key limes were and still are preferable to bottled juice or other varieties of lime.
For health and safety reasons it is not advisable to go with the original, uncooked method so as a compromise I chose to par-bake for ten to fifteen minutes at 300° F then broil for a couple of minutes to brown the meringue.
You Will Need:
1 can condensed milk
25-30 key limes
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Step 1: Filling
Start by zesting and then juicing your key limes. Set the zest aside for later use.
Next separate your egg yolks from the whites and put the whites in the fridge.
Whip the egg yolks until frothy, then combine with the lime juice and condensed milk. Continue to whip until the mixture expands and gets lighter or seems puffier. Then pour the filling into a pre-baked crust and move on to the meringue.
Step 2: Meringue
Get the egg whites you set aside earlier, add the cream of tartar and begin whipping. Once the eggs start to get frothy, start adding sugar by the spoonful, whipping in between each one. Keep whipping until stiff peaks form.
Step 3: Bake & Broil
Pour the meringue onto the pie and spread around evenly.
Optional: Use a fork to flick up small tendrils.
Pop the pie into the oven on the middle rack (preheated to 300° F) for ten to fifteen minutes then switch to the top rack and broil for a couple of minutes to brown the meringue.
Step 4: Serve
To slice your key lime pie neatly, use a sharp knife that has been dipped in cold water. Then enjoy your creamy, tangy treat - perfect for spring and summer.