Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Lime of Your Life

This is one of those recipes that I hesitate to share because I get so many compliments when I make it, and I am insecure enough to want to keep my secrets, well ... secret. My husband loves it, and it has become a favorite among all of our friends. And, I mean, if all of you start making it at home, then where does that leave me?
But this crumbly, creamy combo of sweet and tart is just too good to keep to oneself, and so I (somewhat reluctantly) share it with you here. You're welcome.

One special tip about serving- this pie can be a really hard one to slice and present attractively. If not properly chilled, the filling and crumbs from the crust will get all over your knife. For picture-perfect slices, place the pie in the freezer for a few minutes before slicing, and wipe your blade off with a clean, damp towel after each slice. Top with a little dollop of fresh whipped cream, and a few thin slices of candied lime rind (see below). Or, forgo the whole slicing thing and attack the pie with your hands. It's up to you.

Crazy-Delicious Key Lime Pie

What you need:
9 to 10 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 4 to 6 limes), or fresh or bottled key-lime juice (but I really recommend going with fresh, if you have the patience to do the squeezing)
4 large egg yolks
Pinch salt

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process graham crackers and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor (or a blender will do in a pinch) until fine crumbs form, add butter. Process until combined. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pat into bottom and up sides. Place pan on a baking sheet, and bake until crust is fragrant and slightly colored, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, lime juice, egg yolks, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and salt; whisk until smooth. Pour mixture into crust (warm or cool is fine), leaving 1/8 inch at the top; return to oven. Bake until filling is set around edge but still slightly loose in center, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. To store longer, cover and refrigerate, up to 2 days. Serve, garnished with zest, if desired.

To make the candied lime zest, cut the rind of one lime into thin slivers. Heat 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan until smooth, warm and liquidy. Add the rind and allow to gently boil until rind is softened and fragrant. Place pieces on a length of parchment paper and allow to cool and harden. Use to garnish slices of pie- oooh, fancy.
pie recipe and photo from: Martha Stewart

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