If Aunt Gail’s sweet potato is my favorite pie, her key lime is a close second favorite. Every time I visited her, she had a key lime pie waiting for me. This is another serious Southern pie, native to the Florida keys and is very easy to make. It is also inexpensive and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. I like to decorate my pie with lime slices.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: See note in final instructions.
- 1 graham cracker pie crust
- 1 can condensed (sweetened) milk
- 3/4 cup lime juice (you may use more or less juice depending how limey you want your pie). If it gets too runny, add an extra egg yolk.
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 egg whites
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Pour sweetened, condensed milk into a bowl.
- Add juice.
- Add egg yolks & stir until smooth. Pour into pie crust.
- Place egg whites in a large, very clean bowl. Beat with mixer at high speed until soft peaks form.
- Add sugar gradually, while beating. When you can turn the bowl upside down without anything falling out, you’re done.
- Add vanilla.
- Spread meringue on pie, mounding it. Make sure it touches all edges of the crust.
- Aunt Gail insists that she only bakes her pie “in preheated 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned.” However, whenever I have done this, I end up with key lime pudding. So, I follow the baking time from The Joy of Cooking which says to bake key lime pie for 35 minutes at 350 degrees which has worked well for me.
- Allow to cool.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow the pie to thicken. If you are in a hurry, pop the pie in the freezer for 20-30 minutes and then refrigerate.
- Juice: Aunt Gail says you can mix limes with lemons to add variety. I like to stick with limes. Key limes are best if available. If not, you can buy bottled key lime juice at a specialty grocery store like Whole Foods. If all else fails, bottled non-key lime juice will suffice, but it isn’t as authentic.
- Meringue: Any grease in the bowl or on the beaters will interfere with the beating of the egg whites. Make sure both bowl & beaters are very clean.