We have an annual family tradition of travelling to the Florida Keys for spring break. One very important part of the tradition has become searching for the very best and most authentic key lime pie we can find. There is a lot that goes into the perfect tart-sweet, creamy pie and while they are all yummy, some are extraordinary.
It’s now gotten to the point that several of our family members list key lime pie as their favorite dessert and we end up making it in place of birthday cakes for several birthday celebrations every year in the spring and summer. Figuring out how to make the “perfect” key lime pie at home required some trial and error over several years and incorporating parts of different recipes and different pie experiences.
Fair warning--zesting and juicing the many limes required is a painstaking process and takes some time. You can definitely substitute bottled juice when time is short. We usually can’t find key limes where we live, so use regular limes and the pie is still delicious.
The graham cracker crust is very buttery and nicely sweet, which we love, since it pairs well with the tart lime-y filling. After you pre-bake the crust, make sure to let it cool for about 10 minutes before pouring the filling into it. The whole pie, once baked, will need to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours or overnight for optimal consistency, so plan ahead.
We like to top it with homemade whipped cream sweetened with a bit of honey and sprinkled with a good amount of lime zest for more tartness and a beautiful presentation.
This delightful pie is a must for key lime lovers and great for any summer occasion!
1 ½ cups graham crackers, finely crushed (about 12 whole graham crackers)
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
2 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp grated lime zest
¾ cup lime juice
For the topping:
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp honey or confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp grated lime zest
8-10 thin lime slices
For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter in a medium bowl.
Stir with a fork and then your hands until well combined.
Use your hands and the bottom of a measuring cup to press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 x 1.5 inch pie dish. The crust should be about ¼ inch thick. It’s easiest to do the sides first.
Bake for 10 minutes, until slightly browned.
Let the crust cool on a wire rack.
For the filling:
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Wisk the condensed milk, yogurt, lime zest and lime juice in a large bowl.
Pour the yogurt mixture into the pre-baked pie crust. Make sure the crust is not still hot, warm is OK.
Bake for 15 minutes until the filling is almost set. It should be a bit wobbly.
Cool the pie at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours or overnight.
For the topping (follow these steps when ready to eat the pie):
Use an electric mixer to beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
Add in the honey or sugar and continue beating until string peaks form.
Top the pie with the whipped cream and lime zest and slices.