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July 20, 2010 / Kate

Key Lime Pie

Week Seven: Kate Went on Vacation and All I Got Was This Lousy Key Lime Pie

Some of the things I learned while visiting the beautiful state of Massachusetts:

  1. The seafood is AMAZING. Someone really needs put some in a pie.
  2. They have a tendency to give things goofy names: Mashpee, Swampscott, Popponesset, Stub Toe, Burpee, Gloucester…
  3. I once read that there’s a law that states one mile out of every five on the interstate must be straight so that a plane can make an emergency landing. This very well may be an urban legend, but in Massachusetts they’ve adopted some sort of similar policy involving Dunkin Donuts. Seriously, you can’t take more than five steps without being in one.
  4. There really are great white sharks in Cape Cod, just as we were promised in Jaws!
  5. Although there is a disheartening dearth of Kennedys in Hyannis, there are no shortage of bars with Samuel Adams umbrellas. Perhaps they made a deal with Dunkin Donuts.
  6. Destinos (in Gloucester) sub sandwiches are exactly the same as I remember from my childhood visits. That’s a very good thing.
  7. Boston Cream Pie is not now, and never will be, pie.

I also learned that key limes are very tiny and you have to squeeze A LOT of them in order to make a pie; cream is better whipped with machine aid; “What’s a pie pan?” is never a promising response to equipment inquiries when you’re about to start baking in someone else’s kitchen; and you should really just suck it up and make the pie the day before you need it.

That said, the pie was excellent and refreshing on a hot summer day. I’ve been trying to put my own spin on things this summer, but I was at a loss to really “improve” on the standard recipe (and being on vacation, was not inclined to spend a ton of time in a kitchen sans AC during a heat wave). I did add lime zest to this, which counts for something. Right?


(adapted from’s Key Lime Pie)

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 9 crackers or 1 package)
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 stick butter

Preheat oven to 350°.

Melt butter and thoroughly combine with crushed graham crackers and sugar in a medium bowl. Press mixture firmly onto the bottom and sides of a greased 9″ pie pan. Chill the crust for an hour before baking; bake for 10 minutes until the sides are a light golden brown. Keep oven on and set crust aside while you prepare the filling.

Key Lime Filling

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp fresh or bottled Key lime juice
1 tbsp lime zest

Whisk together condensed milk and yolks in a bowl until combined well. Add juice and whisk until combined well (mixture will thicken slightly). Pour filling into crust and bake in middle of oven 15 minutes. Cool pie completely on rack (filling will set as it cools), then chill, covered, at least 8 hours or overnight.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1-2 tbsp Grand Marnier
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Whisk together whipping cream, Grand Marnier and sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form (frosting consistency). Pipe or spread onto finished pie to decorate as desired. Sugared lime slices or long zest curls can be used for decoration as you see fit.


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