We had a birthday or two come and go recently at Casa Sass, so we were due for a nice dessert. I asked John’s son, who is visiting, what he’d like, and key lime pie was the clear winner. It’s a favorite of mine as well — it makes me think of my mom, of Mexico where they grow all over, of Arizona where I used to live, not to mention key limes alone make me think of sitting on the beach under a palapa sipping a Michelada (good beer, over ice, with key limes muddled into the glass and salt on the rim). Key limes are basically fantastic in everything.
Now, I haven’t made a key lime pie in a few years, but it’s one of the easiest pies to make. Some recipes don’t even call for BAKING it! Mine does, though, even if it’s only for a little bit.
I doubled this recipe to make a deep dish pie in a deep 10″ pie shell, as an experiment. It came out GREAT! It’s the height of a nice cheesecake, but is all about the sweet/tart lime custard. I baked it for an extra 10 minutes to make up for the extra volume of filling.
Key limes (the little round golf ball limes) taste different than Persian limes (what we find in most supermarkets) and I have been told that if you substitute 1/4 of the juice for lemon juice, with 3/4 of the juice Persian lime juice, you can come out with a similar flavor to actual key limes if you can’t find them locally. I squeezed about 10-15 key limes per regular 9 inch pie to make a half cup of juice.
Also, do not adjust your eyeballs — key lime pie is supposed to be a buttery yellow color, not green. The lime juice is a pale color, so the pie gets its golden hue from the egg yolks in the filling! I was very lucky to have fresh, local eggs from Double R Farms, scored at the Farmers Market here in Oklahoma City.