Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Key Lime Pie

This summer, I "celebrate" something fairly odd. :) For the first 25 years of my life key lime pie, to me, was identical to lemon meringue pie with the simple substitution of lime. The crust was pastry; the filling was cooked on the stove, prepared from lime juice, egg yolks, cornstarch; then it was all topped with meringue and baked. And the filling was green (the shade depended on how carefully the food coloring was poured from the tiny bottle). And for the past 25 years, I have thought of key lime pie in a totally different way.

In 1983, Jack and I were on vacation in South Carolina and went out for dinner. I ordered key lime pie for dessert, assuming that I would get the same pie which I had grown up thinking was key lime pie. Wrong. What appeared at my place had a graham cracker crust, was yellow-green in color, and served with dollops of whipped cream on top. Not wanting to appear unsophisticated (because, at age 25, I liked to think of myself as worldly), I ate it and enjoyed this pie tremendously. Maybe a year or two later, I was asked to make a key lime pie for a family picnic and I made the one which I had grown up with (straight from the pages of Betty Crocker). I asked a few of the people who complimented me on it if they had ever had a key lime pie that wasn’t green, and wasn’t covered with meringue. Nobody had. So I decided that this kind of pie may be common in our area of the country when, closer to Key West (closer to the origin of the Key lime), their version of key lime pie was much more authentic.

However, actual key limes were almost impossible to get in this area of Pennsylvania 25 years ago (20 years ago, heck, even 10 years ago!) so it wasn’t until the past several years that I found actual key lime juice in specialty stores then, in the past couple of years, key limes started to appear in WalMart, of all places.

I was surprised at how tiny these key limes are, and I opt to make pie from the bottled juice rather than attempt to squeeze these bitty citrus ping-pong balls.

First, RealLime (the little brother of RealLemon) is not what I mean. I buy Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime juice (if this were unavailable, I would juice regular Persian limes because key lime pie is not deserving of RealLime juice in its filling!)

The pie which I made is easy. Super easy. I use Keebler Graham Cracker Ready-Crust (lowfat version, of course) because, after you mess with crushing the crackers, then add the butter and sugar, then press it into the pan, to me it’s just worth the cost to buy it already prepared!

The filling could not be simpler—egg whites, whole eggs, fat-free sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice. Some grated lime rind, if you are so inclined. No coloring added. And with some thawed Cool Whip Lite dolloped on top, it’s the taste of summer.

Okay, when I posted this on my laptop the photo looked fine-- now (viewed on my desktop) it has an odd greenish cast. What does everyone else see???

* Exported from MasterCook *

Key Lime Pie

Recipe By: Vicci
Servings: 8

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 large egg whites
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Key lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime rind (optional)
14 ounces fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 reduced-fat graham cracker crust
1 cup Cool Whip Lite® -- thawed
1 large Key lime -- optional, sliced thinly into 8 "center cut" slices (simple, impressive finishing touch)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the whole eggs and beat for 2 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice, then lime rind and beat until well-blended (about 2 minutes). Pour into crust and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the center is almost set (the tip of a knife, inserted into the center, will come out clean). The pie will jiggle, but it will firm up as it chills.

Cool pie on a wire rack until no longer warm. Cover loosely, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Cut into pieces, serve with a dollop of whipped cream and, if desired, a lime "twist" made from the key limes.

*** Key lime twists-- make a cut in each lime slice from the center out to, and through, the rind. Hold at each side of the cut and twist one side one way, the other side the opposite way. Place in each individual dollop of whipped topping.***

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per serving: 281 Calories (kcal); 6g Total Fat (1g Saturated); (18% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 48g Carbohydrate; 47mg Cholesterol; 200mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 1 1/2 Other Carbohydrates

Total, fifty years of key lime pie (which may not be totally accurate since I cannot remember what type of key lime pie I ate when I was a young child, if I did eat key lime pie, but I’m betting on the meringue-topped one.). Life could be a lot worse!


Carrie said...

Looks good Vicci! I like that it is lower fat than the one I normally make with whole eggs & non-fat-free sweetened condensed milk.

Anonymous said...

Vicci - I love all key lime pies but especially the creamy kind (which is mostly what I've had). This looks and sounds delicious. I will be picking up ingredients to try it because it's been too long since I've had key lime pie!!

Okay, so I just realized it's only been about a month, but it feels longer ;)


Kitchen Queen Victoria said...

Carrie, it's amazing how simple it is to make something lower-fat, and this pie is one of them!

Nat, a month in the summer without key lime pie? You must make this soon! :) Hope you like it.