Friday, August 10, 2012

Another Green Pie

Our lime tree decided to provide ten ripe limes all of a sudden, completely out of season. After hankering after Key Lime Pie for more than a year, I grabbed those limes and presented them to the Piemaker, along with the Key Lime Praline Pie recipe I’d set aside a couple of months ago. He laughed and said that would be enough for about a tablespoon of lime juice, so I gave him a one-time dispensation to buy additional limes.

Key limes are not the mystery they once were, but for clarification, here is a size comparison.
The three large green fruit are plain old limes, known horticulturally as Persian limes, Citrus latifolia. The tree is thornless, and bears a seedless fruit. The small yellow and green fruit are our Key limes. Key lime, Mexican lime, and West Indian lime are common names for the species Citrus aurantifolia, a very thorny tree with these very small, seedy fruit.
My palate is not sophisticated enough to explain the difference in flavors, since they are both vibrantly sour and sweet. But there is a definite difference, which is why genuine Key Lime juice is so sought after and expensive, and people will actually go to the effort of squeezing hundreds of marble-sized fruit to get the juice.

So, back to the pie.
Our favorite magazine, Southern Living, was once again the source for a mouthwatering recipe.
The pie according to Southern Living
For the one cup of lime juice in the recipe, the Piemaker said he needed my 10 tiny Key limes and about 6 regular limes, so, be prepared.

We decided ahead of time that we would not need any whipped cream for this pie and we were glad of that decision later.  
Our version, sans creamy topping

All the rich, sweet-and-sour flavors came through, and the crispy caramel praline was the perfect contrast to the creamy custard filling. Certainly the regular lime juice did not detract from the flavor, so maybe that small amount of Key Lime juice was enough.
This overexposed photo shows the candy-like praline crust

This is definitely the best Key Lime Pie we’ve had.
And I should know! Long before I discovered that all I had to do to get pie was simply to wish for it, I used to make pies myself. (I know, it’s hard to believe. This was probably eight to ten years ago, and thankfully, a time nearly forgotten. ) I went on a quest to find the perfect Key Lime Pie recipe, and I collected and tried at least five of them. There were two Key Lime Cheesecakes, two custard-style pies, and one similar to Lemon Meringue Pie. They were all good, but the recipes used very basic crusts. Since good pies are magical balancing acts between filling and crust, none of the ones I tried really stood out as The Ultimate Key Lime Pie.

I think this pie definitely deserves the title. Plus, have you ever noticed that the pies baked by someone else always taste better than the ones that you yourself make?


  1. OMG - I was hungry but trying to ignore the feeling! Now, I have read this post and am dying after looking at the pictures of your pie. Great job! So delicious!

  2. Wow, didn't know that about limes. I thought Key Lime Pie was just a name like Mississippi Mud or something.
    Another Pie Maker winner!

  3. oh to have a lime tree!
    The pies look gorgeous so three cheers to the Pie Maker.MY son when he is home does all the cooking and it is the only time we get to eat truly interesting and edible and delicious and just EVERYTHING food as I am a rubbish cook!