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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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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