Sunday, February 7, 2016

Key Lime Pie

The other night, we were eating this pie, and the kids asked me to tell them a funny story.  I told them about a story when I was a senior in high school.  My friend Jessi and I were quite the trouble-makers in government class.  Our teacher learned this quickly but never got mad at us.  He would just look at us and say, "Jeesssssiii, Caaaalllllie" and give us a disgruntled expression and a raised eyebrow.  Before the bell rang, he always stood in the hallway and talked to the other teachers.  One day, we had a quiz over the counties of Nevada.  Jessi and I made about 20 copies of the answers and stapled them all over the walls, unbeknownst to him since he was yapping in the hallway.  He came in the classroom, looked around, smirked, and looked right at Jessi and I and said, "Jeessssssiiiii, Caaaaallllliie."  He made us take them down, but we sure thought it was hilarious.

We were having some people over for dinner a few weeks ago, and I asked what they wanted for dessert.  One of them quickly asked if I could make key lime pie.  I had never made or eaten key lime pie, but I was bound and determined to do it.  When I got home, I researched key lime pie recipes for a good hour trying to find one that looked amazing.  I saw one that had a coconut macaroon crust, but I thought that it might be a bit too sweet.  I finally settled on the America's Test Kitchen key lime pie recipe, but I toasted some coconut to sprinkle on top.  Sweet mother of all that is holy.  This is one good pie.

A couple weeks after making this the first time, I made it for another friend.  He said that it was the best key lime pie that he'd ever had and told me that I should work in a bakery.  That made my whole day!

Key Lime Pie
source: America's Test Kitchen: The New Family Cookbook

Graham Cracker Crust:
8 whole graham crackers, broken into 1-inch chunks 
3 T sugar
5 T butter, melted and cooled

Preheat over to 325.  

Place the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a food processor.  Process until fine.  Add the melted butter and pulse about 5 more times.  

Press into a 9-inch pie plate.  You can use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the crumbs in.  Bake until beginning to brown, 12-18 minutes.  Remove to cool, but keep the oven on.

Key Lime Pie:
4 large egg yolks
4 t grated lime zest and 1/2 c lime juice (about five limes)
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 c heavy cream
1/4 c powdered sugar

Set oven to 325.

For the pie, whisk the egg yolks and lime zest for two minutes until mixture has a light green tint.  Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk.  Add the lime juice, and whisk to combine.  Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to thicken.

After the 30 minutes is up, pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the center is firm but jiggles slightly.  Cool on a wire rack for one hour.  Cover and cool in the fridge for at least three hours or overnight.  

Before serving, make the whipped cream.  Beat the heavy cream and sugar with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.  Spread over the chilled pie.

If you want to add toasted coconut, heat a small skillet over medium-low heat.  Add about 1/2 c toasted coconut.  Watch it closely and stir often to prevent over-browning.  Once it's nice and golden brown, sprinkle it over the whipped cream.  

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