Key Lime Pie with Cinnamon Nutmeg Crust

This key lime pie recipe originated with a search for “key lime pie” and is an adopted version from: Easy Key Lime Pie through its comments area. I do not add whipped cream. This is optional, and not necessary. However, making a better crust IS necessary. Hence, a gently spicier pie with nice bite.

Prep:

1-2 9″ pie shells (use disposal if bringing them to a gathering where dishes can get lost and the food is the paramount aspect. Use nice dishes when presentation matters.)

1 large bowl

1 medium bowl

spatula (thing to scrape down the insides of a bowl)

clean hands

beaters or really good whisk

fork

Ingredients:

Pie Filling

4-5 egg yolks, beaten (I say 4-5 because if you use medium or smaller eggs, you will need more. Large eggs or especially jumbo eggs, only use 4.)

2 large cans sweetened condensed milk

1 c Nelly and Joe’s Key West Lime juice or 3/4 c regular lime juice

Crust: 

1 box pre-crushed graham crackers (Crush them yourself if you want to take the time and/or effort. I don’t want to.)

at least 1 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

1/3 c sugar (white is fine)

6 T melted butter (melt butter in the microwave. It’s faster if you have it and a small microwave-safe cereal bowl.)

1 t pure vanilla

All spices may vary according to taste.

Method:

Add all dry ingredients together and mix in medium bowl. Add butter and stir with fork to make consistency of wet sand/grainy pebbles. Press into sprayed (cooking spray) pie pans up to top area of edged. DO NOT BAKE yet!

In large bowl, add eggs and whip with whisk. Add sweetened condensed milk and incorporate together well. Add lime juice and incorporate with this. The effect of the lime juice will be to curdle the eggs and change the consistency more akin to pudding than soupy. It may be very thick, but pour/distribute evenly into the two pie shells. You may want 2.5 cans of sweetened condensed milk to fill both pie shells dependent upon how full you want them.

Bake in 375 degree oven for around 15 minutes. The tops of the pies should look glossy. Edges of pie shells may turn brown before middle is completely done. So long as it doesn’t burn, this is fine.

Note 1: Real key lime pie is not green. Unless you want to add food coloring or lime zest, there is no reason for it to turn green, either. I prefer the pale yellow color. It’s nice.

Note 2: Controlling strength of lime flavor

Real key limes are not as strong as Persian limes and are smaller with thinner skins. It takes more juice to give a tarter taste. If using normal lime juice (anything excepting Nelly and Joe’s or juice that specifically states that it is KEY lime juice is Persian lime juice) it is stronger and requires less lime juice for the same effect.

I have also combined both Key West and Persian when I ran out of Key West or upped or lowered the amount of sweetened condensed milk. If using one cup of lime juice and 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk, you should have a good pie. If you want the pie lighter, either use more sweetened condensed milk to dilute the juice or use less juice. If using Persian lime juice, then adjust accordingly.

DIU (Doctor It Up) or Variations on the Theme from Thanksgiving 2012:

Key Lime Tartlets

For making smaller key lime pies homemade (for children’s desserts for Thanksgiving, for instance) then the normal recipe may be converted into tartlets. It will take longer to initially make, but purchase enough muffin liners for at least one regular-sized muffin pan. This is not for huge or mini muffins. Those still need experimentation at a later date. In this case, the muffin liners were paper. I recommend foil liners as they have metal on the outside and paper on the inside. Spray the inside of the muffin liner. No one needs to eat the muffin wrapper and spraying them helps you get all of the baby pie. If using paper liners, the spray will soak through. I did not try buttering the liners. Attempt that and feel free to leave comments. Fill the muffin inside with enough crust to coat the bottom and sides and press in to make “stiffer” crust sides. This takes the longest time of the whole recipe.

Although the key lime filling likely curdled akin to “cold cooking” like as in ceviche from the strength of the acid in the limes, we are talking about raw egg yolks. Cook them. So, once the crust is in (DO NOT BAKE THE CRUST PRIOR TO pouring in the filling. It will get tough if you do that.) then pour in the filling and try to keep it even between the different tartlets.

Cook as if it were a normal pie, but keep an eye on them. You want them cooked, but this recipe does not make the filling turn brown. The crust may turn a little brown, but not a ton. the filling should be smooth and glossy from the beaten yolk, but not soupy. Possibly a little jiggly, but upon cooling and refrigerating, it should set well. This is a citrus custard.

Remove from oven and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and remove tartlets before serving to a tray. Each tartlet serves one, child or adult. Rave reviews.

Serves 12 people, adults or children.

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