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Bill and Robin, owners of the Key Lime Pie Factory & The Coconut Factory, collectively know everything about Key lime, Key lime pie, Key West, Fla., and basically the universe. If you don’t believe us, you should ask for a history of the Key lime pie next time you stop in for a treat! Bill uses only Borden’s sweetened condensed milk in his pies, sticking to the original recipe, which he says gives the pie it’s incredibly creamy texture.
*NO regular limes. Bill says it’s not the same thing and there are no substitutions! Pies made with regular Persian limes will be the wrong flavor and the wrong color. If your pie filling is green, Bill says, "Run the other way... it’s not actually Key lime pie."
- 1 can Borden’s sweetened condensed milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 Ounces Key lime juice*
- 1 Keebler Crust
Classic Key Lime Pie
Creamy, tart-sweet Key lime pie has long been a favorite dessert of restaurant-goers. But if your dining-out days are few and far between, and you don't want to go long stretches without this delightful dessert, it's easy to make at home.
- 1 1/2 cups (128g) graham cracker crumbs (or 142g boxed graham cracker crumbs)
- 1/4 cup (28g) confectioners' sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 2/3 tablespoons (74g) butter, melted
*While it isn't traditional, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup (1 1/4 to 1 7/8 ounces) toasted coconut to the crushed cracker crumbs, if desired.
- grated zest of 1 medium lime, about 1 tablespoon, not packed
- 3 large egg yolks
- 14-ounce (397g) can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
- 2/3 cup (152g) bottled Key lime juice or freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon lime oil, optional
Select a pie pan whose inside top dimension is at least 9", and whose height is at least 1 1/4". Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Make the crust by stirring together all of the crust ingredients, mixing until thoroughly combined.
Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan.
Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes it'll start to darken in color a bit. Remove it from the oven, and place it on a rack to cool while you make the filling.
Perfect your technique
Key Lime Pie
Whisk the grated lime zest and egg yolks at high speed of an electric mixer for about 4 minutes. The mixture will lighten in color and thicken somewhat, looking kind of like Hollandaise sauce.
Stir in the sweetened condensed milk, mixing till smooth. Beat at high speed for 3 minutes the filling will become slightly thicker, and gain a bit of volume.
Add the lime juice, stirring just to combine. The mixture will thicken. Add lime oil to taste.
Pour the mixture into the crust, and return the pie to the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes, until it appears set around the edges, though still a bit wobbly in the center. The center should read about 145°F.
Remove the pie from the oven, and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Slice and serve each piece with a lightly sweetened dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
The Perfect Authentic Florida Key Lime Pie Recipe
Authentic Florida Key Lime Pie is the first thing you must try when you arrive in the Florida Keys.
I promise you won’t be long here before you notice this brilliant but simple dessert on the menu.
Actually you have about as much chance of finding Elvis alive as you have going somewhere that doesn’t serve Key Lime Pie.
Every restaurant throughout the Keys serves this as a staple diet of the "conchs" who live here, and to be honest you wouldn’t disagree against the reasons behind the plentiful production of this wonderful and tasty pie once you taste it for the first time.
There are many different versions of the Key Lime Pie, and many people claim that they have the secret ingredient that makes their recipe the “Authentic Florida Key Lime pie”.
But what is the real version?
What adds the authenticity to a pie that to my taste buds always tastes good no matter where I eat it?
Well there are many factors to making the ideal pie.
Lovers of Key Lime Pie can never agree what is the best way to make one for start.
Some say a Pastry Crust is the main ingredient, whilst others say Graham-crackers do the trick.
Some say the only way to eat one is with Meringue on top, whilst others say whipped cream
The disagreements go long into the night.
The one thing that they do agree on is that under no circumstances should you ever add green food colouring.
The filling of authentic Key Lime Pie is a light yellow, and that is because authentic Florida Key Lime Pie uses tiny yellow key limes.
These are absolutely bursting with juice.
And why do we use the small limes you might be asking?
Well quite simply these have more acid and a really strong flavour, and that is what you want as you create the perfect after dinner dessert.
Nobody really knows who was the first person to make Key Lime Pie.
Most people who research these kind of things believe it is a William Curry (a ship salvager and Florida’s first self-made millionaire) who might have been responsible.
William Curry, or as he was often known Rich Bill, had a servant in his employment called Aunt Sally, and it was this lady who is thought to have created the Key Lime Pie in the late 1800’s.
Whether she did create this or just put her own spin on something that was already around at the time we don’t really know.
Lost in the midst of time.
But we do know that it wasn’t until the 1930’s that the first recipes were written down, and then still there aren’t many documented instructions, as this was a traditional type of food which people passed down from generation to generation.
Families just knew how to make it.
As the Florida Keys had no milk available to them, and even if they did, had noway to keep it cold, as ice and refrigeration was a distant wish they had to use condensed milk.
It wasn't until until the arrival of tank trucks with the opening of the Overseas Highway in 1930, that they had the option of the fresh cold stuff.
The brilliantly delicious Key lime pie, might have taken its name from the small fruit plentiful in the Keys, but really it was the condensed milk that gave it its crowning glory.
It would not be the same without this, we are sure of it.
So now you know the history I guess you want to start making one.
So ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the one and only.
Authentic Florida Key Lime Pie recipe.
Remember like everything you can choose specifically what type of ingredients you want to use.
Be creative if you get the urge.
Its ok to say that you want the most authentic Florida Key Lime pie sitting on your plate, but if you haven't got the exact stuff then experiment.
Enjoy the whole experience
Start by getting your oven up to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C)
Then rub some butter or grease onto a 9 inch pie pan (you can use a tart pan if youon't have a pie one)
Get your cracker crumbs, and mix it altogether with some sugar and melted butter.
Press onto the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until set and lightly browned.
Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool while you make the filling
In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks until pale and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
Gradually add the condensed milk and beat until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the lime juice and zest.
Pour the filling over the crust and bake for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until the filling is set.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Once it has completely cooled, cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Once the filling has chilled, in the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.
Either pipe (I used a Wilton 1M star tip) or place mounds of whipping cream on top of the filling.
Authentic Florida Key Lime Pie Recipe
Looking for the perfect Florida pie for the holidays … or any time for that matter? You can’t beat this tasty, quintessential dessert: Authentic Florida’s Key Lime Pie. No wonder Key Lime Pie is our state pie … it’s perfect with Florida seafood or any light dish … and is an ideal way to finish off almost any meal. Read on to check out Authentic Florida’s delicious Key Lime Pie recipe!
We like to make the pie with fresh key limes, but realize they are increasingly harder to find. Generally we buy key limes from the farmer’s market, or in the absence of key limes, we use local limes. We also use fresh limes in place of the bottled key lime juice. Many use bottled juice and are happy with the results. Whatever your choice is … Enjoy!
Authentic Florida’s Key Lime Pie Recipe (Step-by-Step)
A slice of Authentic Florida’s Key Lime Pie
Florida Key Limes (most turn yellow when ripe)
Authentic Florida’s Key Lime Pie ingredients
- 1/3 of a 1-pound box of graham crackers
- 5 Tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup of sugar
Note: if you want to use a store-bought graham cracker crust, rather than making your own, you can find in the freezer section of most grocery stores.
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons of lime zest – be sure to zest before you squeeze the juice!
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 2/3 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 24-36 limes depending on the freshness of limes), or 6-8 regular fresh limes (again, depending on freshness)
Note: if you prefer to use whipped cream, rather than meringue, substitute for the above meringue topping
Tools: 1 Pie pan, Cuisinart or hand mixer lemon/lime hand squeezer, zester (or rasp) to grate the outside of the limes
Directions for Florida Key Lime Pie Recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Making the graham cracker pie crust
Break up the graham crackers place in a food processor and process the crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, place the crackers in a large plastic bag seal and crush the crackers with a rolling pin. Add the melted butter and sugar and pulse or stir until combined.
Press the ingredients in a pie pan
Press the mixture into the bottom and side of a pie pan, forming a neat border around the edge. Lightly form a border up the sides. Bake the crust at 350 degrees until set and golden for 8 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack, let cool. Leave the oven on.
For the filling:
The first step, using a rasp or grater, grate 2 teaspoons of the lime skin. Then, using a hand press, squeeze 2/3 cups of key lime juice by cutting each lime in half and placing it in press (they are usually too small for a juicer).
Zest the limes, press the juice
Next, separate the egg yolks from the whites. Set aside the egg whites for the meringue if you want to use them later. Have your sweetened condensed milk opened, your juice finished and your zest ready for the next step.
Assemble your ingredients for the mixing
In an electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment, beat the 4 egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of lime zest at high speed until very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the can of condensed milk and continue to beat until thick, 3 or 4 minutes longer. Lower the mixer speed and slowly add the 2/3 cup of lime juice, mixing just until combined, no longer. Pour the mixture into the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the filling has just set. Cool on a wire rack.
Pour the pie filling into the baked crust, bake again
Next, add the topping:
Make the egg white meringue using the leftover egg whites
With a mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar until forming stiff peaks.
Pour the meringue over the pie, smooth out the top, and bake again. Watch the oven!
Spread over filling and seal to edge of crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-8 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Note: Watch the oven and don’t take your eyes off the meringue, it could brown quickly. Place in the refrigerator and let it chill for 2-3 hours.
Authentic Key Lime Pie Recipe
Key limes are part of the citrus family and are similar to Persian limes. They are the main ingredient in the authentic key lime pie recipe that is made in Key West. Key lime pies are known for their delicious flavor and wonderful texture and are one of the signature desserts found in Key West. Kermit’s authentic key lime pie recipe is still used today and the pies can be found at the Key Lime Shop in Key West.
Authentic Key Lime Pie Recipe
Many people try to replicate the authentic key lime pie recipe from Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. These are the authentic pies that are simply the best on the planet. They have been recognized by Food Network, National Geographic and others as being the most delicious key lime pies available. We use the highest quality ingredients that we can find to create these delicious and sought-after desserts.
Key lime pies are baked fresh daily. The pie starts with a graham cracker crust which is then filled with delicious key lime filling made with authentic key lime flavor and then completed with wonderful whipped cream to top it off. This is a true delicacy and a taste that will immediately bring you back to the sun and sand of Key West.
Shipment of Key Lime Pies
Kermit’s authentic key lime pies are available for delivery. Pies are shipped on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and are packed securely in dry ice to ensure freshness. You must choose the overnight shipping option for fresh pie deliveries. You may also choose to purchase frozen pies.
You may choose to purchase one pie, two pies or three pies. Key lime pies are 9-inches in diameter and are fresh and ready to eat. There are other options to try as well. You may opt for a gluten-free key lime pie version which is still as delicious as the original. For a tasty variation try the strawberry key lime pie which combines two luscious flavors together in one dessert.
Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe
If you are in Key West you will certainly want to stop by Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. Here you will find a complete selection of foods and other items that are made with authentic key limes. The taste is unforgettable and you’ll love the experience of browsing the many selections.
The Mysterious Origin of Key Lime Pie
Don&apost panic, Southerners, but we have some news about Key lime pie. Turns out the official state pie of Florida may not be from Florida at all, but * gasp * New York City.
New York City website Gothamist reports that there is an ongoing controversy surrounding the origins of the beloved lime tart. It all started when Stella Parks published her cookbook, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts,which included diving into the pie&aposs history.
While researching her book, Parks consulted with Key West historian Tom Hambright, who couldn&apost find a local recipe for Key lime pie earlier than 1949, reports the Miami Herald.
Parks, though, found a nearly-identical recipe that dates back to 1931. While the recipe she found uses lemons instead of limes, it&aposs the same idea of a sweetened condensed milk citrus pie. However, the dessert wasn&apost created in the Sunshine State, but by the Borden condensed milk company in New York City. Thanks to a wave of advertising by the condensed milk company, the recipe for Magic Lemon Cream Pie most likely made its way to Florida sometime in the 1930s and s. There canny pie makers modified the recipe, swapping lemons for Key West&aposs sweet-tart limes.
WATCH: Hevenly Key Lime Pie
There&aposs an old story floating around Key West that Key lime pie was invented back in the 1890s—way before the Borden company&aposs recipe𠅋y a woman known only as "Aunt Sally". She allegedly concocted the pie in the kitchens of Key West&aposs Curry Mansion, where she had access to sweetened condensed milk. However, according to the Miami Herald that story has never been verified.
While Parks&apos cookbook won a prestigious James Beard Award, it also won the ire of some Key lime enthusiasts, most notably David Sloan, the author of the 2013 book The Key West Key Lime Pie Cookbook and the man behind Key West&aposs annual Key Lime Festival. Sloan wasn&apost willing to accept Parks&apos Key lime pie origin story.
Unwilling to go down without a fight for his beloved pie, Sloan, the Key lime booster, took to Facebook seeking help to defend the honor of Florida&aposs state pie.
Sloan told the Key West Citizen that he has historical documents that show that Aunt Sally is very real and that she definitely had access to condensed milk earlier than the 1930s. He also believes that Borden may have gotten the recipe for Magic Lemon Cream Pie through a recipe contest they held in 1931 simply swapping lemons for hard-to-find Key limes.
He is still looking for Key lime origin stories, too. "I need Key lime pie help," Sloan wrote on Facebook, adding that he was "going to compile all of our evidence and make it clear that Key lime pie really is from the Keys." If you have a story, do your part to keep Key lime pie as a Southern treat.
Key lime pie is yellow as is a ripe Key lime. If you see a green Key lime pie or green lime slices or meringue or whipped cream on a Key lime pie it is not authentic. In the late 1800's there was no refrigeration hence the condensed milk. There was no sour cream, no confectioners' sugar, no whipped cream, or any of the other fresh ingredients some people use to jimmy up their recipes.
The amount of juice you use is a matter of taste. I like to taste the Key lime, not the condensed milk so I use 1/2 cup of juice. If you buy bottled Key lime juice, make sure the ingredients say "100% Key lime juice" and not "Key West lime juice.
I use a Keebler's(R) crust, but it is probably better with a homemade graham cracker crust if you have the time and the energy. You actually do not even have to bake this pie, just refrigerate it overnight but it might slump a little. The citrus actually does the "cooking." Baking helps firm it up a bit and cooks the egg yolks.
Photographer Stephen Shore’s take on key lime pie uses a cornflour and water base, which helps dial down the tang factor.
Some recipes assert that this pie is only worth making with key limes, the local name for a distinct species of thin-skinned, acidic, south-east Asian lime thought to have been brought to the Keys by Spanish sailors, and rhapsodise over their gorgeously aromatic qualities. In blind taste tests, however, this claim doesn’t always stand up, but whether or not they have a point, the fact remains that even on the Keys themselves, the limes used tend to be grown in Mexico, and even these are very rarely found outside the Americas, so I’ll be using standard fruit here. A good way to create a more well-rounded, perfumed flavour is to add zest, as most recipes suggest, whisking it with the yolks to release the volatile oils before stirring in the condensed milk and juice. Half a cup, or 120ml, juice is fairly standard – when you learn this is about four standard or 20 key limes, you may well feel relieved they’re so hard to come by.
- FOR GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
- 1-1/2 C graham cracker crumbs from about 12 (2-1/4 inch by 4-3/4 inch) crackers
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- FOR FILLING:
- 2 large egg whites
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 C fresh or bottled Key lime juice
- FOR TOPPING:
- 1 C heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
2. For the crust: 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.
3. For the filling: 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.
4. 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.
(The pie can be baked and stored, covered, in the refrigerator, up to 3 days.)
5. When 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.
How to Make Key Lime Pie
- Start with a graham cracker crust. You can buy a pre made crust at the store, but a homemade graham cracker crust is so much better and so easy to make. All you need is graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar. You can find my post on how to make a graham cracker crust here. It is the perfect base for this pie!
- Bake the crust at 350 degrees F. for 10 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.
- While the crust is baking, combine your key lime juice with sweetened condensed milk and sour cream. Stir until it is completely combined and smooth.
- Pour the key lime mixture into your graham cracker crust and bake. It only takes 10 minutes! You don’t have to wait for the crust to cool before filling it, it is going to go right back into the oven.
- Watch for little bubbles form just underneath the surface of the pie, after ten minutes, turn off the oven and let it sit in the warm oven for another 30 minutes. Just make sure to remove it before the pie starts to turn brown. Allow it to cool after removing it from the oven and then chill it in the refrigerator overnight to allow it to set up. The waiting is the hardest par!! But I promise, it’s worth the wait.
- Top the key lime pie with whipped cream. Follow my directions for making perfect whipped cream here. I don’t sweeten the whipped cream because the pie is so sweet. I do add the vanilla to the whipped cream though.
- Put the whipped cream in a piping bag with a large start tip to get the great border on my pie above. Then sprinkle a little lime zest onto the whipped cream, add a slice of lime as a garnish and you’ve got perfection.
Now just grab a fork, close your eyes and you can almost imagine yourself in the Florida Keys with a warm summer breeze blowing through the air!