I’ve always been intrigued by the American Key Lime Pie and thought it was high time I tried it.
Of course, here in New Zealand we don’t have access to Key Limes, so I had to substitute good old New Zealand limes. I’ve kept the name though, as New Zealand Lime Pie doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, and I want to honour the original recipe. So, if you have Key limes, by all means, use those.
I searched through a bunch of online recipes and came across this one contributed by Marcia Kiesel at Food and Wine.com, which was based on a recipe from the 1940s. I adapted it further still, using gingernut biscuits for the base (see gluten-free version here), adding extra juice and zest for a bit more bite, as well as a good dollop of crème fraiche to counteract the sweetness of the sweetened condensed milk. I also didn’t sweeten the whipped cream, as I felt the pie was already sweet enough without adding further sugar.
What I quite liked about this particular recipe was that it whipped up the unused egg whites and folded them back into the mixture, giving it a lighter, more mousse-like quality. It went down a treat with the family and I’m sure I’ll be making it again.
KEY LIME PIE
- 200 g Gingernut biscuits (try these Gluten-free Gingernut Biscuits)
- 70-85 g unsalted butter (melted)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 large eggs separated (I used organic eggs, hence the pronounced yellow colour)
- 1 large egg
- 14 oz 390g sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (Key limes if you have them)
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest (plus more for garnish)
- 300 ml heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). In a food processor, process the biscuits until they resemble coarse crumbs. Put into a medium sized bowl and add as much of the melted butter as needed so that all the crumbs are coated.
- Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish (I found the 9 inch pie dish to be a tad too small to hold all the mixture – I think you could have a slightly bigger dish). Bake the crust for about 15 minutes, or until firm. Let cool.
- In a large bowl, beat the 3 egg yolks with the whole egg until thickened (about 3 minutes). Beat in the condensed milk and crème fraiche (or sour cream), then beat in the lime juice and zest.
- In a stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Fold one-third of the beaten whites into the mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for about 15-20 minutes (mine took closer to 25 minutes), or until barely set (the middle should still wobble a little). Transfer to a rack and let cool completely, then refrigerate overnight (it will continue to firm as it chills).
- About an hour before serving, whip the cream until firm peaks form and spread over top of the pie and garnish with lime zest. Pop back into the refrigerator until ready to serve.