Key Lime Pie is a southern classic that is as delicious as it is easy to make. Absent the crust, Key Lime Pie boasts only three ingredients – Key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. Traditionally, the crust of choice is graham cracker crust. However, the store-bought graham cracker crust that I intended to use was a broken mess when I opened it. Fortunately, I had some Lemon Oreos on hand and voila – Lemon Oreo Crust was born.
About Key Limes
Key limes are so named because of their association with the Florida Keys. They used to be grown commercially in the Florida Keys until a hurricane decimated many of the groves in the 1920’s. Rather than replant the key lime trees, the farmers in the Keys decided to plant the Persian lime trees with the larger fruit. Today, Mexico is a major producer of key limes.
Key limes are significantly smaller than the Persian limes that one can purchase in the grocery store. In addition they are more tart and contain seeds. The green key limes are actually immature fruits that turn yellow as they ripen. Probably the best known use of key limes is in Key Lime Pie.
Making the Lemon Oreo Crust
Lemon Oreo Crust requires just two ingredients – Lemon Oreos and melted Butter.
I started by processing the Lemon Oreos in my food processor fitted with a steel blade until they were crumbs. This took about a minute. Then, I added the melted butter to the food processor and pulse processed the mixture 5 or 6 times until things were nicely combined.
I went back and forth about whether to use a pie plate or a spring-form pan. As it turned out, the spring-form pan won! In retrospect, I think that it was the better choice because it made it so much easier to serve this delicious pie.
I dumped the crust mixture into my 8-inch spring-form pan. You could definitely use a 9-inch spring-form instead! I firmly patted the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, first with my hand and then with a straight-sided measuring cup.
After the crust was formed, I popped it into a preheated 350°F oven for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the crust was set, so I removed it from the oven and let it cool.
Making the Key Lime Pie Filling
The most time-consuming part of making this awesome pie was juicing the key limes. I cut the key limes in half. After a bit of trial and error, I placed 3 of the halves into my citrus juicer and juiced away. In no time at all, I had the cup of the key lime juice that I needed. As an aside, you could always use regular limes for this pie instead of the key limes.
Once I had the juice, I combined it with the sweetened condensed milk. Then, I whisked in the egg yolks which I had beaten. Once the filling was well incorporated, I poured it into the prepared crust.
I baked the pie in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, I removed the Key Lime Pie from the oven and let it cool. Once it was cool, I covered it with aluminum foil and put it in the refrigerator so that it could completely chill.
Now, the moment of truth! I uncovered the Key Lime Pie, removed the outer ring of the spring-form pan and cut a slice.
I served the Key Lime Pie with Lemon Oreo Crust with a swirl of whipped cream and a sprinkling of lime zest. It was perfect. The Lemon Oreo Crust perfectly complimented the filling that had just the right combination of tartness and sweetness. Yum!
If you like key lime pie, but don’t want to make a whole pie, you should try my Key Lime Tartlets with Cream Cheese Pastry. They are little bites of heaven!
Key Lime Pie with Oreo Crust
Lemon Oreo Crust (See Tip 1)
- 25 Lemon Oreos
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Key Lime Filling
- 2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk (See Tip 2)
- 1 cup key lime juice (See Tips 3 and 4)
- 4 large egg yolks, beaten
- Whipped Cream for garnish (See Tip 5)
Lemon Oreo Crust
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Crush Lemon Oreos in food processor fitted with steel blade or in a Ziploc bag. Add melted butter; mix well.
- Pour into 8 or 9-inch spring-form pan or pie place. Firmly pat mixture onto bottom and up the sides of the pan. (See Tip 6)
- Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven; allow to cool.
Key Lime Pie Filling
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and key lime juice in a large bowl. Whisk in beaten egg yolks.
- Pour into prepared crust. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to come to room temperature. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until thoroughly chilled.
- Yield: 8 servings.
Chula's Expert Tips
- Graham cracker crust is more traditional with the Key Lime Pie. If you decided to use a graham cracker crust, however, make your own. The store-bought graham cracker crust pales in comparison to a home-made version.
- You can use regular, low-fat or no-fat sweetened condensed milk in this recipe.
- Fresh key lime juice really takes this pie over the top. However, if you are unable to fresh key limes, you can use the more common Persian limes. I would, however, avoid using bottled key lime juice. It tends to have a rather unpleasant taste.
- You should wash the limes before cutting them in half. Otherwise, any nasties that happen to be on the outside will end up contaminating the juice!
- The more authentic Key Lime Pie is finished with a meringue topping, like lemon meringue pie. I prefer, however, to use a dollop of whipped cream.