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Original Key Lime Pie

When I was growing up in south Florida key lime pie was frequently the subject of much humor.  Back in the day key limes could be hard to find, especially away from Florida, and were considered to be a bit exotic  Because it was in demand by tourists area restaurants always had key lime pie on the menu.  During times when key limes were scarce some of the less reputable establishments would substitute regular limes for the key limes.  It was always good for a laugh to see green "key lime" pie served to a diner at a nearby table.  Tourists, you see, generally weren't aware that the inside of key limes, and hence the juice, was yellow, not green  :)

For the Crust

 
1 cups graham cracker crumbs
cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup melted butter

For the Pie

 
4 large fresh eggs, separated
1-14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
4 ounces key lime juice
cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350Combine the crumbs and the sugar.  Add the melted butter and mix well.  Pack the moistened crumbs down into a 9" pie plate pressing the crumbs across the bottom and up[ the sides.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes and allow to chill for 1 hour in the fridge.

When the crust is ready whisk together the lime juice and the condensed milk.  Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time.  When fully combined pour the mixture into the pie shell spreading evenly across the bottom.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, cool and chill in the fridge.  When the filling has setup, about an hour, spoon the meringue (recipe below) over the filling while forming swirls and peaks.  Bake in the oven until the meringue has nicely browned, about 15 minutes.

For the meringue beat the egg whites with the sugar until stiff peaks form but the meringue isn't dry (about 6-7 minutes.).  This timing is really important.  If the meringue is over beaten and gets too dry it really makes a huge difference.  You'll know it's too dry if the meringue doesn't spread easily onto the custard.

Notes:

  1. The meringue needs to beaten at a fairly high speed so using a mixer is advised (otherwise your arms will get very tired :)
  2. Store bought graham cracker crusts will do fine in a pinch, but you'll really appreciate the added flavor that a home made one provides.

 

 

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