Key limes in the grocery store,

make Key Lime (or Mexican, or West Indies lime) pie. That’s just good sense. I use a recipe that someone cut out of a Gourmet magazine nearly ten years ago (it wasn’t me – I don’t cut things out of magazines).  I’ve long since memorized it, but I dug out the original clipping so that I wouldn’t steer you wrong. And yes, it’s the same four or five ingredients I remember, but I have made some adjustments over the years.

The recipe allows for using bottled lime juice, and even recommends a brand. Don’t do it! When key limes appear in your grocery store (or who knows – on the tree in your back yard), then you can make this pie. Absolute proof of this is the fact that you’ll need 1/2 C plus 2 Tbs of juice to make this pie, and that’s exactly how much juice the limes in that silly neon green one pound bag will produce. See? Cosmic.

So. Buy the bag. Allow the limes to ripen in a cool dark place for a few days, until some  are slightly mottled with yellow spots and the skin has thinned. Roll one under your palm on a flat surface to break some of the membrane, then slice off about 1/2″ from one end. Insert your wooden lemon-juicer, or your fingers, and allow the juice to dribble into a large, stable container – like your 2 C pyrex measuring cup. You don’t want to knock this over. Oh, and if you have any papercuts on your hands, or like me, having been pruning blackberry bushes lately, you’ll know. The juice will be pale, rather opaque green and smell wonderful.

For crust

  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs from 9 (2 1/4-inch by 4 3/4-inch) crackers
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For filling

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons key lime juice

Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, then press mixture evenly onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch (4-cup) glass pie plate. Actually, these days I use an 8″ pie pan. They’re a little harder to find, but with the Boy at college I can stand to have less pie around the house. This recipe works well either way.

Bake crust in middle of oven 10 minutes and cool in pie plate on a rack. Leave oven on.

Make filling and bake pie:

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 put it in the freezer for about half an hour after it is mostly cool. Keep checking to be sure it does not really freeze.)

Goes well with whipped cream, and an expectation of Spring.

3 thoughts on “Key limes in the grocery store,

  1. Hi Amy, sounds wonderful. I’ve been thinking about Key lime pie lately. I didn’t realize it was a seasonal earning. I make mine with Nabisco gingersnaps instead of graham crackers. And i use the lime peel grated. Now I’ll have to try your recipe (as well as mine) and do a taste test.

  2. I was going to show your recipe to Michael for his thoughts, then I saw the whipped cream and realized that doing so may cause some kind of apoplectic fit.

    No, Amy. No to the whipped cream. Make the meringue or go home. That’s what he would say.

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