This tart, sweet and simple to make super creamy pie is perfect for summer afternoons or, if you are a lime-lover like I am, it is a welcome dessert year round! It pairs perfectly with a graham cracker crust, a dollop of whipped cream and, of course, a freshly brewed expresso.
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What is a key lime? A key lime is a citrus hybrid fruit that is significantly smaller than their Persian cousins (a key lime is about the size of a ping pong ball). Regardless of their size they pack a ton of flavor and are more acidic, aromatic and sweeter than other limes.
I suggest making the dessert a day in advance of serving it. This allows the filling time to set up properly and the flavor will be enhanced. Each component of this recipe only takes a few minutes to make so take the time to make the pie in advance and you will thank yourself!
Tips for Making the Perfect Key Lime Pie
- Key lime pie is traditionally make with a graham cracker crust pressed into a pie tin. If you are looking to save a step you may certainly use a store bought crust, but I think the texture of a homemade crust is divine.
- This recipe calls for 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs. If making your own crumbs in a food processor you will need about 15 full graham crackers.
- I like to save a bit of the graham crust mixture to put on the edges of the pie prior to baking. It enhances the look and the extra crust is a great texture with the creaminess of the pie.
- Do you need to use key limes? No, but key limes are my preference. You will need approximately 12 – 15 key limes to achieve the 5 fluid ounces of juice needed in this recipe. Not everyone wants to spend time squeezing a dozen key limes and you will still get a spectacular pie using regular limes or my favorite lime juice from Nellie and Joe’s.
- Mixing / Baking:
- The secret to the perfect key lime pie is in the mixing and baking of the pie. When combining the three ingredients for the filling (egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and lime juice), whisk the filling slowly and completely until the filling is homogenous.
- If air bubbles form during the mixing, simply tap the bowl on the counter to allow the bubbles to escape.
- This pie needs to bake slowly at a low temperature to allow the custard to set evenly. After baking for 16 – 18 minutes the middle of the pie will still be a bit ‘jiggly.’ This is what you are going for and you don’t want to overbake or you will have a a cheesecake texture.
- As tempting as it may be to serve the pie shortly after baking, don’t! Let the pie cool completely on a cooling rack then place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (overnight is preferable). This will allow the flavors to meld and the filling to set properly.
The Perfect Key Lime Pie
- Pie Pan 9" , or
Graham Cracker Crust
- 240 Grams Crushed Graham Crackers (2 Cups)
- 66 Grams Granulated Sugar (⅓ Cup)
- 90 Grams Unsalted Butter, melted (6 Tablespoons / 3 ounces)
Key Lime Pie Filling
- 4 Large Egg Yolks
- 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 ounces)
- 5 Fluid Ounces Lime Juice
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Melt butter in microwave or over stovetop.
- Place graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add melted butter to bowl and toss the mixture until the butter is evenly distributed.
- Gently press the graham cracker mixture on the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Bake for 6 minutes. Cool completely before using.
Key Lime Pie Filling/Baking
- Preheat oven to 300°
- Whisk egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk together.
- Pour lime juice into bowl whisking slowly so as not to create air bubbles.
- Pour filling into cooled pie crust.
- Bake for 16 – 18 minutes, or until pie is set. The middle of the pie filling will still be jiggling, do not overbake.
- Cool completely then place in refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.