Clear Lime Pie

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About: I am a young engineer who enjoys making and restoring whatever I can in my free time. I like the challenge of making new things with the tools I have available.

Some time ago I came across a place that was making clear pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving. I really liked the uniqueness of how that looked so I figured I'd try my hand and making something similar. Due to my wife getting me into the Great British Baking Show on Netflix, I realized that this could be done by making a pie crust and then filling it with a clear gelatin filling that is flavored how ever you want. I chose to do lime/key lime because I like the flavor and lime juice and flavorings are pretty clear colored which won't make the pie a drastically different color.

Step 1: Making the Crust

There is nothing special about the crust I made and you can use any pie crust you would like for this. I used a slightly modified recipe from a cook book a got for a dollar or two from Salvation Army. That's a great way to get cook books if you want to try new things but don't want to pay a ton for new cook books. We have gotten lots of great recopies from cook books we got there.

For making a pie crust you first mix the salt and flour.

Then you add in the softened butter or shortening and cut it in with a pasty blender or a fork works pretty well. Pretty much you just want to break the butter up into tiny pieces.

Then you add the water little by little until the dough sticks together when lightly formed into a ball.

Now you just need to roll it out until it is an inch or two bigger then the pie pan you are using.

Crust:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter or shortening
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Water

Step 2: Forming the Crust

Getting the dough into the crust can be tricky but I learned a trick many years ago that has been really helpful for me. To easily transport the dough, you want to fold your dough in half and then in half again so that it is thicker and smaller. This makes it easier to move it. Then you just put it in the pie crust and unfold it. To clean up the edges, cut off the excess dough and form the edge however you like.

Warning: I poked the bottom of the dough with a fork so that it wouldn't puff up in the oven but I don't recommend this as it creates holes that the filling can leak through later. I would instead recommend filling the crust with uncooked beans so that they will hold the crust down when it cooks and you won't have holes in the bottom.

Step 3: Baking the Crust

You will want to bake the crust at 425 F for 18 to 20 minutes or until it becomes golden brown. Let the crust completely cool before adding the filling.

Step 4: The Filling

As I mentioned before, the filling is just flavored clear gelatin. To make this you will need to let the gelatin bloom in 1/2 cup room temp water for at least a minute.

While that is setting, you will heat up 2 cups of water and the sugar until all the sugar dissolves.

About the sugar. I used 2 cups of sugar to start with but I found it too sweet for my liking so I ended up adding more water and gelatin to reduce the sweetness. If you want it super sweet then use the 2 cups but if not then I would recommend only using a cup and a half.

When the sugar is dissolved, you should turn off the heat and then add the gelatin that you had started earlier.

When that dissolves, then you will add the remaining 2 cups of cold water. This will help cool it quicker.

The filling is now ready for the flavoring.

Filling:

  • 4 Cups water + 1/2 Cup water
  • 2 cups or 1 and 1/2 cups sugar (depends on how sweet you like it)
  • 4 Tablespoons (4 packets) unflavored gelatin
  • Flavoring (key lime extract or lime juice) or flavor of your choice

Step 5: Flavoring

  • If you don't want it lime flavored then you can make it any flavor you want. But if you want it to remain clear then make sure any extracts or juice you use for flavorings that are clear as well.

If your are interested in unique flavorings, check out Lorann Oils or other flavor extracts and look for any that are fairly clear in color. The flavor option or combinations are almost endless.

Update

I had some time this week and I got to play around with flavorings more. I found there are two different ways to flavor this to get a pretty good key lime flavor.

Recipe 1:

  • 1 Teaspoon key lime extract
  • 2 teaspoons citric acid

The extract gives you the lime flavoring while the citric acid gives you the tart/sour flavor. This version will give you the most glass like filling color but the flavor is only pretty close.

Recipe 2:

  • 3/4 cup key lime juice

If you want the more authentic key lime flavor and don't care if the filling is a little cloudy then this would be the better option for you.

Both options tasted good, the second one is just a little more authentic flavored than the first but the first gives you the better clarity of the filling.

Step 6: Filling the Pie

Now that the filling is made, it just needs to be poured into the pie shell and then refrigerated for at least 8 hours but it is best if you can leave it overnight.

Step 7: Enjoy!

Once the pie is cooled and set, then its time to cut a slice and enjoy.

Because key lime pie usually has sweetened condensed milk as an ingredient and this has no dairy in it at all, I recommend this topped with whipped cream to add some creaminess to it.

This tasted pretty good but I will warn you that the texture of the gelatin filling and the regular pie crust takes a little getting used to.

Step 8: Minis

I had some pie crust left over so I decided to make a little something extra. I put the pie crust into a cupcake tin and made little mini pies. These would be great to make anytime you want little bite sized pie pieces instead of full size pie slices.

Because these are smaller, the bake time for the crust was shorter and it didn't take as long for them to cool and set.

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51 Discussions

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fred1896

2 months ago

Thats flippin' cool dood I hope I get around to trying it :D

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PattiH

3 months ago

I’ve never seen a clear pie before. Yours looks amazing! I watch Game of Thrones and this made me think of “The Wall” and all the ice and snow up in The North of Westeros. I may have to make this to celebrate watching the last season!

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lethalas

3 months ago

"and this has no dairy in it at all" but there is butter?

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ShawnS60lethalas

Reply 3 months ago

Check at Whole Foods—(Or Whole Paycheck we call it); there are a ton of non-dairy margarine options to try!
My favorite:

image.jpg
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lethalasShawnS60

Reply 3 months ago

Cheers, they don't seem to be in Australia however we do have some other non-dairy options here. Becoming more aware of them since my partners son has severe allergic reactions to dairy, egg and tree nuts. Often looking for vegan options even though he eats meat ;)

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ShawnS60lethalas

Reply 3 months ago

Favorite: almond milk
I’ve never been a great milk fan, but this I could drink a cool cup of it, it’s delicios. Oat milk is new (at Starbucks But now Walmart has it), also very good, costs $1 more :-)
I gotta million of ‘em, dude!
Look at “Mozzarella Fellas” vegan options online, a restaurant in Winston Salem, NC
Their buffalo chicken wings made from cauliflower is the best I’ve had.
Middle Eastern: hummus, falafel, lentils all good.
Good luck! Allergies are tough for a kid, but if you watch Forks Over Knives, your child may think of him (or her)self as an environmentalist.

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IJustLikeMakingThingslethalas

Reply 3 months ago

You are correct. I was referring to the filling that has no dairy in it. The butter in the crust doesn't really add any dairy flavoring to the pie. At least not as much dairy as a traditional Key Lime Pie.

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ndjalva

3 months ago

This is great to mess with Parrot Head's.

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ShawnS60

3 months ago

I like the idea of the clear pie, too. The pie slices in this Instructables are very nice-looking. However, there does not seem to be a recipe of how to make a clear pie slice here. The author says several things, that extracts can change the color without adding enough tart to make it taste like "key lime pie", and that lime juice would work, but it makes the pie slice look cloudy. So there really is not a sentence that says: to make a beautiful slice of clear pie like in this photo, and that tastes like a good key lime pie, do the following:
My argument is just that this does not really include a recipe of how to make a good-tasting, clear, transparent pie slice like in the photo. Mostly it tells what doesn't work, good luck, try finding something that works--it does list several things to try and the author's thoughts on results of trying two or three things.
I would still like a recipe for the clear pie slice that tastes like key lime pie; I don't find it here. I wish you the best, though--you must be a good cook to describe this recipe in detail in order to help other people, and I wish to compliment you on that.

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IJustLikeMakingThingsShawnS60

Reply 3 months ago

I just wanted to let you know that I had the time and have updated this to add two flavor recipes.

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ShawnS60IJustLikeMakingThings

Reply 3 months ago

Nice, man!
Good happy eating to you.
I think a light-pink-colored strawberry would be awesome!

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IJustLikeMakingThingsShawnS60

Reply 3 months ago

I completely understand what you are saying. I'll try and clarify based on your comment.
I forgot to add in here that the pie I made in the picture was 3 teaspoons key lime extract (too much) and about 5-6 tablespoons of lime juice (not as much as I would like but I ran out). With this amount of lime juice you can see the it gets a little cloudy near the sides where the filling is thicker when looking at the cross section of the slice but it is still pretty clear.
I did not have time to try a bunch of key lime variations to find the best. I plan on updating this in the next week or so when I get the time to get a more accurate key lime flavor. But because the base of the filling is very different that a traditional key lime pie, I will only be able to make this taste pretty close to a key lime pie.
Many extracts (lemon, lime, apple ,pear, pineapple, coconut, cherry, peppermint, etc.) are all fairly clear in color and would not tint the color of this. Look up flavor extracts, there are a ton of them. If someone were to use strawberry extract, for example, which is a red color then the pie would end up with a slight red coloring. That is why I made the comment about extracts effecting the color. If the extract color is clear then it will have no effect on the color of the pie. Thus, this instructable could lead to a variety of different flavors of pies based on the flavor that individual is wanting.
I decided to post this even though I didn't have an exact flavor combination yet to get the idea into people's mind while I was working on the key lime flavor and hopefully get some input from people on recommendations for how to get the best flavor profile.
Hopefully that answered some of your frustrations and if you check back on this in a couple weeks then I should have a more accurate flavoring recommendation. In the meantime, feel free to try some unique flavors and maybe make a clear cherry peppermint pie or something.

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GL1881

3 months ago

I made 3 of these for my girlfriend and my best friend. The said they smelled great but when I gave them some they thought I was up to one of my elaborate pranks. Once I convinced them I was not the loved it and have been tring to figure out how I did it

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IJustLikeMakingThingsGL1881

Reply 3 months ago

I'm glad everyone liked it. Next time you can make one bubble gum or licorich flavored just to really mess with them.