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  • Writer's pictureGrace Saadi

50 Tastes: Key Lime Pie, Florida

Updated: Jul 24, 2022

Key lime pie is almost comically simple. A crust, a filling, 3 ingredients each, top how you like and you've got dessert. Its history, on the other hand, could be considered comically complex. A jumbled mess of rumors and theories topped with a little bit of New York influence and you've got the perfect recipe to peeve any Floridian. Despite its origin, there's no denying that nothing hits the spot quite like a good slice of key lime pie.

 



No matter the origin or personal preference for topping key lime pie one thing everyone (and I mean everyone) can agree on is that green food coloring never belongs in a key lime pie. This pie offers a natural and gorgeous yellow color often hidden beneath swirls of whipped cream or toasted meringue. While I myself am a fan of the first rather than the latter, I do see the appeal in utilizing those leftover egg whites! This recipe is quick and simple to make but even better to consume. Its history, however, is biting off more than it could chew. Whether you've heard the rumors of Cuban sponge fisherman and their rations or Aunt Sally being the chef of a billionaire, key lime pie always descends from the groves on the Florida keys... Or does it really? However this pie came to be, there's no denying that it's the tried and true image of Florida.



 

Authentic Florida Key Lime Pie?

Makes 1 9" round pie


Crust

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (180 grams)

1/3 cup granulated sugar (65 grams)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (85 grams)


Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F

  2. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and stir until fully combined and all of the crumbs are moistened.

  3. Scoop the mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate and firmly press it down into an even layer on the bottom and up around the sides of the dish.

  4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, there should be little to no color change. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. While baking and cooling, make the filling

Filling

4 eggs

14 ounces (396.89 ml) sweetened condensed milk

½ cup (121 ml) fresh key lime juice (or regular lime juice)

1 TBSP lime zest (optional)


Instructions:

  1. Crack the eggs in a bowl and separate the yolks from the whites, set aside the whites. Add the lime zest to the yolks and whisk to combine. Add in the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice and whisk together until homogenous.

  2. Set aside at room temp for approx 10 minutes to thicken slightly.


Assembly

  1. Once the filling has thickened and the crust has cooled, pour the filling into the crust.

  2. Bake the pie until the center is set but wobbles slightly when shaken, 15-18 minutes. Let the pie cool to room temperature on a rack then transfer to the fridge to set for approx 6 hours or overnight.

  3. Prior to serving, top and decorate the pie as desired! Some common toppings are sweetened whipped cream, meringue, and lime zest or slices.

 

References

CBSSundayMorning. “What Is the Birthplace of Key Lime Pie?” YouTube, YouTube, 13 Jan. 2019,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSlmmEHusuM.

legourmettv. “🏆 1930's Key Lime Pie 3 Ways Recipe History & Origins - Glen & Friends Cooking.”

YouTube, YouTube, 1 Mar. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfq9JKD3E3E.

plus54.com. “Our History.” Http://Www.eaglebrand.com, https://www.eaglebrand.com/history.

Stradley, Linda. “Key Lime Pie History.” What's Cooking America, 6 Oct. 2016,

https://whatscookingamerica.net/history/piehistory/keylimepie.htm.



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