I’ve made quite a few key lime pies in my life, and I’ve always been really happy with the outcome. There are a LOT of different variations to this tart treat.
Key lime pie filling usually consists of three basic ingredients – egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and key lime juice.
The range of choices as to how many eggs, how much sweetened condensed milk, and whether you use fresh, real key limes versus bottled juice varies and is likely to be discussed and debated until the end of time.
I made this pie using *freshly squeezed key lime juice. I’m never able to find key limes but when our local Fresh Market had them on sale I couldn’t resist buying a bag (with this pie in mind…yum). I have also used Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice in the past when making key lime pie.
*Use a citrus press: Key limes are small in size and have many seeds. Use a citrus press to easily extract the juice and remove the seeds.
The most popular crust for the key lime pie is by far a basic graham cracker crust made with graham crackers, sugar and butter. I have used Sally’s (Sally’s Baking Addiction) graham cracker crust made with macadamia nuts, and it is really good!
I wanted to incorporate a tropical vibe with this recipe so I added some toasted sweetened coconut to the crust. Because the coconut is sweetened, the crust doesn’t need any sugar. It’s a wonderful balance with the tartness of the filling.
Another variation is the topping that goes on the pie. I usually like to use a homemade whipped cream topping made with a cup of whipping cream and ¼ cup of confectioners’ sugar. I made a meringue topping this time, using the egg whites from the egg yolks used in the filling. I toasted the meringue with my kitchen torch…mmmmm!! If I’m being totally honest, I enjoy the taste of both toppings equally (what can I say?!).
I say you make this pie the way you and your family prefers and don’t worry about the natives that will chastise you for not making it the “proper” way!
Ingredients For Coconut Graham Cracker Crust:
- 1½ cups (169 grams) graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup (40 grams) sweetened coconut flakes, toasted
- 6 tablespoons (84 grams) salted butter
Ingredients For Key Lime Filling:
- 2 cans (28 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup (57 grams) whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1 cup (250 grams) freshly squeezed key lime juice.
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- ½ cup (110 grams) fine granulated sugar (I use golden sugar)
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*Making the coconut graham cracker crust:
Preheat oven to 325°F. While oven is preheating, lightly toast the coconut in a sautee pan over medium-high heat for about five minutes (or until golden brown). Melt butter and set aside to cool slightly.
Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until crackers are a crumb texture. Add the butter and pulse several times to combine. Add the toasted coconut and pulse a couple of times (you want the coconut to stay pretty much intact).
Place the crumb mixture in a 9 inch pie plate, and press up the sides and on the bottom using a small measuring cup or glass. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. After the crust has finished baking, remove from oven to cool while you’re making the filling.
*Making the Graham Cracker Crust without a food processor:
- Place the graham crackers in a resealable plastic bag.
- Crush until fine with a rolling pin.
- Once the crumbs are made, combine with melted butter and toasted coconut.
- Press into the pie dish, and bake for 10 minutes at 325°F.
- Let your pie crust cool to create a sturdier crust before adding the filling.
Making the key lime filling:
Turn the oven temperature to 350°F.
Place the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, yogurt and lime juice in a large bowl. Using a handheld mixer (or you can also use a large whisk), mix the filling mixture for one minute. The mixture will start to thicken up slightly. Pour the filling into the baked crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes. The sides will be firm and the middle will jiggle a little (the pie will firm as it cools).
Place the pie on a cooling rack for about an hour, then refrigerate it for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Making the meringue topping:
Prepare meringue by placing the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in medium heat proof bowl.
Place bowl over a pan filled with about an inch or two of water. Heat water to a boil and then take it to a simmer. Make sure the water isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl.
Whisk the ingredients together and continue whisking until the sugar has completely dissolved (about 5 minutes). Continue to whisk until it reaches a temperature of 160°F.
Put the hot mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on high speed for about ten minutes (or until stiff peaks have formed).
You can put the meringue on top of the pie and spread with a small spatula, or you can put the meringue in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. The merengue can be piped on the pie and then toasted with a kitchen torch. It’s really a matter of preference☺️.
I hope you make this tropical delight, and if you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi. I would love to hear from you and see your photos!