A Day for Key Lime Pi

I hate math.

I have absolutely always hated math, or maybe math has hated me I'm not sure which is truer. One day a year math and I find something we can share in common, a sweet little something that we can celebrate together. 


Saturday is the only day of the year that math and I will get along because it's National Pi Day. Yes, pi, the never-ending number that starts 3.14 a crazy little "holiday" that we use as an excuse to make and eat pie. There are some math-minded ways to celebrate this little holiday or you can celebrate the way I prefer, fork in hand and extra whipped cream on the side.

For some reason I have been intimidated by making Key Lime Pie. It's probably because I love it so much it was my body's way of protecting me from eating it in large quantities. I always order it when it's on a dessert menu and I'm a tough critic because it's easy for make this too sweet or too tart for ones taste buds but this version was a joy to eat. 

I was always under the impression that this pie would be a real chore to make but it comes together in a snap. I didn't even get the cake beaters dirty. Now that I've tried this easy peasy recipe, I'm convinced I'll have it at every get-together, girls night and Netflix binge-watching session for years to come. Ok - overkill perhaps, but definitely a great quick dessert idea if you have the few hours it needs to set.  

If you're not crazy about the tartness of limes back away from the recipe slowly... or dial the lime juice back to 1/2 a cup. I found 2/3 cup to be pretty spot on, it wasn't too tart and it cut a lot of the sweet. Didn't overwhelm my tastebuds but I can see where it may not be pleasant to everyone. If you are particularly sensitive to lime, there's no share in using a bit less. If you cut back on the lime you can also add another egg yolk for some volume and some extra richness. 

If you can find Key Limes, fantastic! I have a hard time tracking these guys down sometimes and that's pretty upsetting because I love them dearly in and on everything. They are common pretty much everywhere but the U.S., they have a much thinner rind, have a wonderful flavor that's a bit more acidic but a more dynamic than the limes we are used to in the U.S. but no worries but regular Persian limes make for an equally delicious pie. 

Slightly modified from Smitten Kitchen 

For the Crust:

1 1/2 cups fine ground graham cracker (about 9 or 10 crackers/full sleeve)
2 tbsps white sugar
1 pinch of salt
6 tbsps melted butter

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Pulse crackers in a food processor until finely crushed and there are no cracker bits. In a bowl, add sugar and salt and mix gently before adding the melted butter. Stir until the butter is well mixed and all the crumbs are moist. Press crust into your chosen baking pan, you can use clean hands, I won't tell. When crumbs are pressed into pan tightly place in the oven for 10 minutes to set and remove to cool. Leave the oven on for the pie.

For the Pie Filling:

1 1/2 tbsps lime zest
3 large egg yolks
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
If using Key Limes you'll need about 12, regular limes 3-4 will produce around 2/3 of a cup

In a large bowl mix together the condensed milk, egg yolks and lime zest mix until thick and frothy. Mix in lime juice until well incorporated. Pour on top of cooled pie crust and tap sides gently to remove any air bubbles from the surface. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, remove and let cool on counter for 20 minutes and allow to set about 2-3 hours in the fridge. The pie will keep for about a week in the fridge.

For the Topping:

1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whip briskly with a whisk for about 5 minutes until the cream stiffens. About 2 minutes with a cake mixer or food processor. If you'd like sweeter whipped cream I'd say you can use up to 3 tbsp of sugar but I prefer the topping just sweet enough for a pie as tart and sweet as this. 

Garnish with a bit more lime zest or raspberries if you'd like.

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