Ordering dessert in the Keys is easy. Key. Lime. Pie.
Deciding where to order it, however, is a whole different issue. People in the Keys love to argue about which what makes the best dessert. Meringue or whipped cream? Pastry or graham cracker crust? Which of the numerous restaurants claiming to have the best slice really does?
There will never be a definitive answer (although, Sundowners in Key Largo and Salute! On The Beach in Key West rank high on my personal fave’s list). My recommendation? Work your way down the island chain and taste a bit of the Keys for yourself.
Snowbound? I’ve got you covered. Over the years, I’ve combined my favorite elements—a gingersnap/graham cracker crust, a tart filling and a fluffy meringue. Enjoy!
Micki’s Key Lime Pie
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 4 1/2 cookies)
3/4 cup ginger snap crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 (14 ounce ) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks (keep the whites for the meringue)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh or bottle Key lime juice
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
About 1/3 cup of sugar… if you like a sweeter topping use up to 1/2 cup
How to put it all together
Mix together the graham cracker and gingersnap crumbs, and butter in a bowl until combined, then press the mixture evenly along the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan.
Bake crust on a rack set in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes. Cool pie plate on rack, but leave the oven on.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Reserve the whites. Whisk together condensed milk and yolks in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Add juice and whisk until mixture thickens slightly.
Pour mixture into the cooled pie crust.
Make sure the bowl and beaters are clean and dry. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until medium peaks form. Be patient! Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat. Add sugar in small increments. Keep beating until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
Spread meringue over pie, sealing it to the edge of the crust. Bake until meringue is golden brown—about 15 minutes.
Cool completely, then refrigerate. Most recipes suggest cooling for 8 hours. I’ve never been able to wait that long….