Cook the Book – Fresh Lime Pie

While we lived in the Caribbean, key limes were abundant and anything having to do with them brings me back to the beaches and the markets of the islands.  While I wouldn’t trade for one second living in Maine for anywhere else, a small hiatus during the muddiest part of the season wouldn’t be amiss!

Key limes are touted for having a very special taste and while they are really wonderful freshly squeezed into drinks (especially the rum variety), on grilled fish or in a salsa, I’m surprised to say that they don’t really make a big difference in this recipe.  I tested using both kinds of limes and the pies were a tie each time.

Key limes are smaller, rounder and have a thinner skin than the Persian or Tahitian limes we more often see in the North.  When you are looking for limes, choose ones that have lighter green skins and are a little softer as opposed to the ones that are deep green and hard.  Key limes will sometimes tend toward yellow and this is fine too.

It’s common in lime pies to have a layer of whipped cream on the top of the pie, but I opted for a lighter version with a much smaller amount of whipped cream.  The pie is creamy and rich enough as it is and the small amount of cream is a nice balance to the tartness of the limes.  This dessert would also be a nice ending to spicy grilled fish or grilled chicken with a mango or pepper salsa.

Fresh Lime Pie

1 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 325°. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter together in a medium bowl. Press the mixture into an 8 or 9-inch pie pan and chill about 15 minutes. Bake until the crust is firm and crisp (about 10 minutes). In a medium bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, egg yolks and vanilla and beat until smooth and thick. In a separate bowl, beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar to the whites and continue beating until stiff.  Fold the whites into the lime mixture and turn into the prepared shell. Bake until the filling is set, about 15 minutes.  Cool and serve.

Makes 6 servings

Photo from Google Images – credit unknown