Key Lime Pie
Tired of making the same old desserts that bring about the same flavour experience. Well then look no further as we take a look at one of America’s most iconic desserts – the Key Lime Pie. Named after the unique aromatic key limes that are juicer, tarter than your average lime.
Key limes are named after the region where they are grown commercially – the Florida Keys. Originally the Florida Keys were not known for their unique limes, in fact, it wasn’t until the 1920s when a hurricane wiped out the original lime groves and farmers had to replace crops with imported Persian Limes, did the region start to make itself known.
Today, every restaurant in the Florida Keys serves up this wonderful pie. Interestingly within Florida, there seems to be a key lime pie for every palate, with numerous versions made throughout the region. Unsurprisingly, Key Lime Pie is considered the official pie of the Florida Keys.
As we have realised over the course of exploring popular dishes, their history is usually rather convoluted and shrouded in mystery. The origin of the Key Lime Pie is no different. Culinary historians will debate this but the most logical theory was that the pie was not even invented in Florida but in New York City, by the Borden condensed milk company, back in 1931.
The proto-pie recipe was made with lemons rather than key limes and imaginatively called ‘Magic Lemon Cream Pie’, which was a huge hit. Thanks to the successful advertising campaigns by the Borden condensed milk company, the proto pie was embraced nationwide. Eventually making its way to Florida sometime in the 1930s and ‘40s. There, canny pie makers transformed the recipe, switching up lemons for Key West’s sweet-tart limes. Thus the Key Lie Pie was born.
Interestingly, the reason for the rise of popularity with the pie recipe being with condensed milk as opposed to fresh milk, as locals had no access to the latter. No fresh milk or refrigeration (or air conditioning) was available in the Keys.
Key Lime Pie is traditionally made with Key Lime juice, Sweetened Condensed Milk and egg yolks in a pie crust. But today, a mixture of regular limes & lemons can act as a sufficient substitute. As well, today, most prefer a graham cracker/digestive biscuit base over a pie crust.
Key Limes are so revered in The Florida Keys, they even have an annual festival dedicated to them. Find out why this recipe is so culturally significant stateside. Let’s dive into making The Key Lime Pie.
What you’ll need:
Circular baking dish
- 300g Digestive biscuits
- 150g butter, melted
- 1 x 397g can condensed milk
- 3 medium egg yolks
- finely grated zest and juice of 4 limes
- 300ml double cream
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- extra lime zest, to decorate
Preheat oven to 160° C.
- Crush and powderise all digestive biscuits (a plastic zip lock bag helps)
- Mix the crushed digestives with the melted butter (can heat in the microwave) and press into the base and up the sides of the baking dish.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove and cool.
Using the Masahiro Paring Knife:
- Put 3 medium egg yolks in a large bowl and whisk.
- Add a can of condensed milk and whisk for 3 minutes
- Grate the zest of the 4 limes and add to the filling mixture.
- Slice the 4 limes and add their juice into the filling mixture. Whisk for 4 mins.
- Pour the filling into the cooled base and put it back in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Cool then chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Bringing it all together:
- To decorate, softly whip together 300ml double cream and 1 tbsp icing sugar.
- Dollop the cream mix onto the top of the pie and finish with extra lime zest.
When it comes to what knives to have in your kitchen at your disposal. The paring knife comes in at a close second to the Chef’s knife. The Masahiro Paring Knife is a manoeuvrable blade that comes in very handy for precision-oriented tasks like peeling apples, deveining shrimp and in the context of our recipe slicing up limes.
The Masahiro Paring Knife made quick work of the limes during recipe preparation. Small, extremely sharp and able to perform required tasks perfectly on or off the chopping board. Sharpness, comfort, and control are all factors looked for in a paring knife and the Masahiro Paring Knife completes its duties outstandingly.
Lightweight and perfect balance, this blade seemed ready to spring into action being handled. With an excellent blade-to-handle ratio, the Masahiro Paring Knife is a worthwhile investment if you’re an amateur or professional chef required to handle a lot of delicate tasks in the kitchen.
Masahiro knives are made from one layer of high carbon stainless steel (similar to VG-10). The stainless steel is treated by 3 stages of tempering and quenching to reach a hardness of 58-60 HRC. This makes the knife slightly softer than the VG-10 models, but the knife ultimately has a lot more flexibility.
The asymmetrical edge of Masahiro knives offers its most prominent feature. Asymmetrical edges are 35% thinner than knives with a 50/50 edge; making Masahiro’s knives sharper than other Japanese knife brands. This gives the cook or chef better control over the direction that the blade will follow, especially when performing delicate low-pressure cuts.
The handle is made from a moisture-resistant resin, which is much more practical and longer-lasting than a typical laminated wood handle. The handle is riveted and smooth. The handle also has antibacterial properties which keep it hygienic in its daily use. The handle’s 3 rivet design uses a very wide full tang (almost as wide as the handle itself); enabling an incredibly smooth rounded handle that feels great in your hand as you slice & dice.