Key Lime Pie

Matt had to work late tonight, and so I'm sitting here alone at 8:18pm with a piece of this pie. I'm rejoicing, reveling even, in this moment to myself after having spent the entire day with my little boy (who, incidentally, took two steps all by himself this afternoon). In a sentence: being a parent is so great and so emotionally and physically wrenching. (See photos below for evidence of physical wrenching.)

Speaking of parents, my stepdad Bruce was here this weekend (meeting Teddy for the first time!) and instead of getting a babysitter, I offered to make dinner and dessert. Enter: this Key lime pie, a favorite of Bruce's.
I'd bought a bag of Key limes before actually finding a recipe, and as soon as I began the search in earnest, I was surprised to find that all of them called for sweetened condensed milk. Surely a blog of this nature, of this high level of class and culinary esteem could do better than canned milk, right? And so onward I searched until eventually coming across this interesting article on the history of the Key lime pie by Molly O'Neill. O'Neill explains how when sweetened condensed milk was originally invented, its main aim was to "eliminat[e] malnutrition abroad. The boiled, sweetened, and canned milk was, however, also a boon to the Florida Keys, where there was no ice or refrigeration until 1930 when the Overseas Highway allowed tank trucks to travel to the far-flung islands." In short, when this canned milk arrived in the Keys around 1855, it was a total luxury... and people started doing luxurious things, like making Key lime pie.  

As if I was going to mess with a recipe that's been around for 150 years. Plus, as you'll see from the below photos, I had enough to deal with this Saturday afternoon in the kitchen. 
p.s. I hate to brag... but my stepdad was here for less than 24 hours and had three slices. One for dessert, one for breakfast, and one as a pre-lunch snack! 
Pepe's Cafe Key Lime Pie super slightly adapted from Epicurious

For the graham cracker crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs from about 12 (2 1/4-inch by 4 3/4-inch) crackers
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
2 large egg whites
4 large egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key lime juice
To serve:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoons sugar

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Drizzle with the melted butter and stir until well combined. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until set and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a large mixing bowl with a whisk or hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. Add the lime juice and whisk until combined. Gently fold in about 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten the mixture then add the remaining egg whites and fold until just evenly combined. Gently spread the mixture in the pre-baked crust and bake until just set in the center, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely then refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. 

In a medium bowl, combine the heavy cream and sugar and whisk until soft peaks form. Cut the pie into slices and top each with a dollop of whipped cream.
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Matthew said...

If I were to describe this blog in one word it would be "classy." Also, I'm going to get fat. xoxoxo

Sarah Fennel said...

This looks delicious! I would probably have eaten 3 slices in 24 hours, too. And Teddy's looking so beeeg!

sshaver said...

That grabbing-the-pants picture is classic.

Mary Anne said...

you didn't tell me about the steps!! rude! also, is sweetened condensed milk not classy? i never knew! it's so delicious! (mmmm Tres Leches cake...)

Amelia Morris said...

I think the steps happened after we talked? And I don't know if it's fair of me to say that SCM (let's call it) isn't classy, but in today's age of organic, farm-to-table, unprocessed everything, it seems kind of backwards... doesn't it?

Kristen said...

This looks delicious, I can't wait to try it! Also, have you read Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott? It chronicles the first year with her son, and it's dead-on about the joy and struggle of parenting an infant.

Sara said...

This looks so good! I wish I had a piece right now. I love how you captured Teddy's minute by minute emotional journey. Adorable!

BrooklynSalt said...

Key Lime Pie should be the only food.

tannaz sassooni said...

homemade key lime pie is the best thing in the world. only made better by little Teddy peering up at you while you prepare it. this looks amazing.

Marie said...

Love key lime pie! It's like the fun, bubbly female relative of the pie family. Congratulations on the successful pie and Teddy's first steps!!!

Dani k said...

um. yum.