Key Lime Pie. Whats not to love? It’s tender crisp crust…the sweet, slightly tart filling…the ease in preparation. It’s a little slice of heaven.
I developed this recipe when I was running deep with a cocaine dealer out of Fort Lauderdale. Many people first think of Miami when they think of nose candy, but a little known secret is that Lauderdale is where the real party (and thus money) was. Which is why we were there.
At the time, my days were mostly spent hopping between Fort Lauderdale beach and Key West’s famed Duvall Street. You see, I was doing my lover the favor of running product, and his clients spanned from the ritzy canals of Lauderdale to the quaint cottages of Key West.
It was there in Key West that I had my first taste of my dessert obsession.
Key. Lime. Pie.
I had just dropped off an order of pure white gold to some overweight vacationing stock broker and his boy toy on Key West, and decided to take a quick break to relax before driving my boyfriends Corvette back to his condo off Las Olas back in Fort Lauderdale. I needed something refreshing and cool on this hot South Florida day to rejuvenate me for the drive. I took a stroll up Duvall Street, and ducked into a little bar & restaurant serving up a killer rum punch.
I ordered up a tall icy glass of the house punch.
One more for prosperity.
Now I was proper hammered.
I began to make my way to the bathroom for a refreshing pee and a bump, when I noticed a nice old couple sharing a of slice of this tasty looking yellowish-green custardy pie. My sweet tooth began to ache, and I quickly turned around and headed back to the bar to order a slice of whatever they were having. Moments later, the bar keep presented me with a cool, creamy slice of silky heaven in a crumbly crust with a sweet dollop of whipped cream. I polished off the slice in about 2 seconds flat, and asked for another. Noticing that I had no purse, and little room in my tight tube top and micro mini skirt for a wallet, the barkeep asked how I intended to pay for my drinks and pie. I then realized that I had indeed left my purse at the vacation home of the stock broker. I didn’t want to risk going back for the purse, lest I end up getting involved in some coke fueled bizarre love triangle, so I banged the barkeep in the shitter to pay for my refreshments, did a line off his boner, and started to make my way back home so I could start to perfect the recipe for this divine pie.
Two days and several grams of Big C later, this is what I had come up with:
First, make your crust.
For this you will need about 12 graham crackers, ¼ tsp salt, and 1 stick of melted butter.
Break the graham crackers into pieces and toss them into a food processor with the salt. Process until the crackers are the consistency of dry sand. You could also place them in a bag and beat them with a rolling-pin. My cocaine dealing boyfriend and I used to delight in doing something similar to those who did not pay up in time.
Next, melt the butter and drizzle it into the running food processor. Once the mixture has come together, dump it into a 9” pie dish and press it evenly across the bottom and sides of the dish. Bake this at 350 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes, or until slightly browned. Keep your oven on, because you’re going to need to bake the pie filling in a few minutes here…
Now make the filling.
You will need 4 egg yolks, a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk, about 1-2 tbsp of lime zest, and ½ cup of lime juice. If you don’t have key limes, you can use regular limes. Sometimes I use regular limes even when I have access to key limes just because those little devils are SO tedious to cut and squeeze. Not to mention, they are a bitch to zest. I end up zesting my finger tips, which is actually OK aside from the searing citrus acid pain, because i’m usually so lit that I just snort them back up, thus recycling any traces of blow that might be in my bloodstream. So go ahead and use regular limes if you want, but for the love of all that is holy, do not use the shit that your mother always has in her fridge in the green lime shaped squeeze bottle. If you’re going to do that, you may as well take a piss in your graham cracker crust and call it a day.
To mix the filling, you can use either a stand mixer, or a hand mixer. You can beat it by hand if you really want to, but it’s going to be hard. That’s what she said.
Beat your egg yolks on medium speed until they are thick and have turned light yellow in color.
Add the can of sweetened condensed milk and mix some more until it’s just combined.
Now begin to drizzle in half of the fresh squeezed lime juice (that’s about a quarter cup for you slow learners) into the eggs & milk mixture while beating. Once you have this combined, add the rest of the lime juice and the zest and continue to mix until it’s just combined. Pour the mixture into your prepared pie shell and bake it for about 15 minutes. You want the custard to be just set, so look for it to be firm around the edges, but jiggly in the middle. Like that barkeep in key west…..
Once the pie has cooled to room temp, you can top it with whipped cream if you desire. I typically do, however today I forgot to buy heavy cream, therefore, i’m forced to go without. So you can either squirt whipped cream from the can onto each slice, which is a total waste of a whippet if you ask me, or you can make fresh whipped cream. To make the fresh whipped cream, combine 1 cup of heavy cream with 1 tbsp of granulated sugar (or up to 3 tbsp, depending on how sweet you like it), and ½ tsp of vanilla extract. Beat the shit out of it with an electric mixer until it forms soft peaks, like the mountains of blanca I used to snort on my boyfriends yacht. Sometimes i’ll sub the vanilla extract with coconut extract, which is not traditional, but makes it taste extra islandy, in my opinion. Top each slice of pie with a dollop of whipped cream, and enjoy!
Key Lime Pie Ingredients:
12 crushed graham crackers
¼ tsp salt
1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, melted
4 egg yolks, room temp
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice (from about 4 regular limes or a fuck ton of key limes)
1 to 2 tbsp grated lime zest
- Whipped cream (if you feel like it):
1 pint heavy whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla or coconut extract
1 to 3 tbsp sugar, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Break the graham crackers into large pieces and place them in a food processor or a plastic zip lock bag with ¼ tsp salt. Process or pound with a rolling-pin until they are crushed fine (about the consistency of sand). Melt the butter and, with the processor still running, slowly add it to the graham crackers and continue to process until just combined. Dump the mixture into a 9” pie plate and carefully press it along the sides and bottom of the plate. Bake for 10 minutes, or until it is just starting to brown.
- Add 4 room temperature egg yolks to a medium-sized bowl and beat (either by hand, or with an electric mixer, or in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment) until thick and yellow. Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to mix until just combined. Slowly drizzle ¼ cup of the lime juice, while mixing, into the egg yolk/condensed milk mixture. Once incorporated, add the remaining ¼ cup lime juice and the zest. Mix until just combined.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the custard is just set. Cool completely before serving, and store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
- If you’re making whipped cream, simply beat your heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla or coconut extract until it forms soft peaks. Top individual slices of pie with a dollop of whipped cream, and a few sprinkles of lime zest if you’re fancy AF.