Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

Another version of the classic, this one from my mother. It dates back at least to the '60's and possibly earlier. It may be from an old Fanny Farmer cookbook.

3-4 eggs, separated
lime juice to taste (usually 3-4 limes, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
a bit of sugar
lime zest (optional)
1 pie crust

Beat the egg yolks until they are thick and straw-colored. Add the sweetened condensed milk and the lime juice and mix well. Add a bit of green food coloring if you think the pie needs it. Add a pinch of salt if you're the sort of person who does that. Pour this into the pie shell.

In a separate and very clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold peaks but are not too stiff or dry. Add a generous pinch of sugar (to taste). Spread this meringue on top of the pie, going all the way to the crust to seal it.

Bake in a 350°F oven (give or take a bit) until the meringue is nicely golden (somewhere in the 20-40 minute range, but I can't remember exactly, sorry). Remove and let cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator. Then eat. Refrigerate leftovers if you have any.

This was my mother's recipe, so all amounts and techniques are more or less approximate. She might use a graham cracker crust, an unbaked regular pie shell, a partially baked pie shell, etc., depending on her mood and what was available. Lime zest was added to the filling, to the meringue, to both, or to neither, depending on her mood. If she was short on limes, she'd make it up with bottled lime juice or even lemon juice.

I have no idea where my mother got this recipe, nor what changes she made to it over the years. I don't know if it is necessary to torture the egg yolks or if less vigorous beating is OK. I don't know if the filling or meringue gets hot enough to be safe according to current safety guidelines. I do know the above general guidelines make a yummy pie.

Even if you don't use lime zest in this pie, save it for use in other desserts or meals.



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