Most people know that Key Lime Pie is delicious. But did you also know that it’s also super easy to make?
My version, topped with meringue, is a little fancier--and only slightly more complex. If you want just a classic key lime pie, you can follow along and stop before putting on the meringue. But for a special treat, consider this elegant meringue version.
Yes, it’s delicious either way!
Another choice that you have is whether to use a full size 8-inch pie or make mini-tartlets. This is completely up to you and the filling will work for one full size pie or nine small tartlets. I am using the tartlets today because they are so much fun to decorate for pi day!
And by the way, you can even use a pre-made graham cracker crust, for pie or tartlets—I told you this was easy!
Here's how it goes:
Step 1: Assemble Ingredients
Full Ingredient List:
· 1 8-inch graham cracker pie crust or 9 tartlet sized graham cracker crusts
· 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
· 4 large eggs
· 3-4 limes (or ½ lb key limes)
· ½ teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
· 2/3 cup sugar
· 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Kitchen Supplies Needed:
· Microplane or other citrus zester
· Mixing bowls
· Measuring cups
· Instant Read Thermometer
· Piping bag or zip loc bag
· Electric Mixer (hand or free standing)
· Kitchen torch
Step 2: Zest and Juice Your Limes
The first thing you do is zest one lime to get 2 teaspoons of lime zest. You want just the green part since the white is bitter. Using a microplane is the best way to get very fine zest.
After zesting, you juice enough limes to get ½ cup of lime juice. This will require about 3-4 regular (Persian) limes or 1/3 - 1/2 pound of small key limes. Although key limes are traditional, most people today just use the regular Persian limes. ( I have tried both and most people wouldn’t taste the difference.)
Step 3: Mix Filling
Separate four eggs reserving the whites for the meringue later. Combine the yolks with 2 teaspoons lime zest and a 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk. When well blended, add the 1/2 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup at a time, mixing after each pour.
Step 4: Fill Crust and Bake
Pour the filling into graham cracker pie crust(s) and place in a 350 F oven. Bake for 10 minutes for tartlets, 15 minutes for a full sized pie. Take out, cool and you have a classic key lime pie
Step 5: Begin Meringue by Heating Egg Whites and Sugar
Now for the Meringue
If you really want to impress your friends, you can top you key lime pie with meringue. This is also easier than you would think!
Take the four egg whites leftover from the pie filling and whisk them with 2/3 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Place the mixing bowl over a saucepan with about an inch of water and bring to a boil, whisking while it heats. Keep whisking until the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture reaches 160 F. This will pasteurize the eggs and make the FDA happy.
Step 6: Beat Meringue
Add 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional) and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and beat with a mixer at high speed until the mixture looks like marshmallow and medium stiff peaks form.
Step 7: Fill Piping Bag
Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (or another tip of your choice) or a zip loc bag with a corner cut off.
Step 8: Pipe Meringue
Pipe meringue onto the cooled key lime pie in pi symbols for pi day—or in any shape that you like. A series of small circles is an easy design to do well if you don’t have a lot of experience with piping or meringue.
Step 9: Brown Topping
When you are done piping the meringue, use a torch to brown the topping.
Step 10: Serve and Enjoy!
Serve the same day or this can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated.
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