Slice of Summer

 

Just as St. Louis is known for toasted Ravioli and Baltimore is celebrated for it’s crab cakes, Key West is notoriously known for their famous Key lime pie. There are very few restaurants you can venture into that do not serve this sweet specialty.

First, it should be noted that Key lime pies are always yellow in color, not green and the crust must be a delicious graham cracker. The pies are always made with sweetened condensed milk, due to the fact that the Florida Keys did not have milk available until the opening of the overseas highway in the 1930’s. The small round key limes are the only type of limes for this recipe, and are not to be substituted with the less sour, Persian limes so often found in the grocery store. Few dishes are as refreshing and incite the feeling of a vacation like this one.

Bon Appetit on this hot July in Missouri, close your eyes and see the waves, smell the salt air and feel the cool breeze. Food has a way of taking you places you have not dared to adventure, or returning you to a time long ago.

Key Lime Pie ~ Courtesy of Martha Stewart

FOR THE CRUST:

1 1/2 cups graham-cracker crumbs, broken into pieces

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 tablespoons sugar

FOR THE FILLING:

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice (about 17 limes)

1 tablespoon grated key lime zest, plus more for garnish (about 8 limes)

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled

3 tablespoons sugar

FOR THE MERINGUE TOPPING:

8 large egg whites

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

DIRECTIONS:

For the Crust: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine graham-cracker crumbs, butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl; mix well. Press into a 9-inch pie plate, and bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.

For the Filling: Lower oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, gently whisk together condensed milk, egg yolks, key lime juice, and zest. Pour into the prepared, cooled crust.

Return pie to oven, and bake until the center is set but still quivers when the pan is nudged, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Whipped Cream Topping: Shortly before serving, combine cream and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon over cooled pie and serve immediately.

For the Meringue Topping: Add topping shortly before serving. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, sugar, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spread meringue on pie, making sure it touches the crust all around. Use a kitchen blowtorch to brown meringue all over.

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