Apparently I'm on a citrus kick. I can't seem to seem to pass up a recipe if it has lemon or lime in the title and felt compelled to buy a bag of limes as big as a mini-van at Costco the other day. I think this is my way of feeling like I am in a tropical climate when I am, in fact, in the thick of the winter season in cold Virginia. In an effort to use up my sack o' limes, I made this pie and was instantly transported to Key West.
I think this recipe made the best Key Lime Pie I've ever had. It uses not 1 but TWO cans of sweetened condensed milk so you know its good. While I guess this is technically Lime Pie because the recipe calls for regular limes and not the smaller Key limes you could probably use either. Regular limes are so much easier to juice and are more readily available so that's another plus for this recipe as far as I'm concerned. The pie also achieves its pretty green color naturally through plenty of lime zest-- no food coloring needed.
For the Crust:
Note: The original recipe calls for unsalted butter for this crust and I always use unsalted butter in my baking but this is one instance where I think salted butter works better. I think the crust benefits from a little salt to cut down on all of the sweetness. If you do use unsalted butter, I would add a pinch of salt when you are combining the ingredients in the food processor.
1 lb. graham crackers (about 4 1/2 half cups when finely ground)
1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted), melted
a 9-inch pie dish, greased
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Roughly break up the graham crackers and put them in a food processor. Process until finely ground. Slowly pour the melted butter into the processor while the motor is running until the butter is combined with the crumbs. Press this mixture into the base and neatly up the side of the prepared pie dish, using the ball of your hand or a tablespoon to flatten and compress it.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until deep golden and firm. Set aside to cool completely.
For the Filling
8 egg yolks
2 x 13.5 oz cans of sweetened condensed milk (I could only find 14 oz. and it was fine)
freshly squeezed juice and grated zest of 5 limes, plus extra grated zest to decorate
2 cups whipping cream
Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Put the egg yolks, condensed milk, lime juice, and zest in a glass bowl and mix gently with a balloon whisk until all the ingredients are very well incorporated. The mixture will thicken naturally.
Pour into the cold pie crust and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes (I found that 20 minutes was all that was needed for my oven so be sure to watch your time). The filling should be firm to the touch but still very slightly soft in the center (not wobbly). Let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight if possible.
When you are ready to serve the pie, whip the cream with the whisk attachment in a stand alone mixer or with a handheld electric mixer. I add about about 1/4- 1/3 cup of powdered sugar before I start whipping, to sweeten. Whip the cream until soft peaks form then spread over the pie and decorate with a little lime zest.
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook