This is one of my favorite summer desserts, and surprisingly easy to make. It needs to refrigerate before serving, so make sure to plan ahead a little.
Key Lime Pie
4 t. lime zest (from app. 4 limes–I like Microplane graters the best for zesting)
4 egg yolks
1/2 c. lime juice (from the zested limes; strained, if necessary)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
9 graham crackers, broken up
2 T. sugar
5 T. melted butter, still warm
3/4 c. heavy or whipping cream
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
In a glass, stainless steel, or porcelain bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the zest together for about two minutes, or until the mixture becomes light green (it’s a subtle color difference, but the mixture does become green-ish). Continue to whisk while slowly adding the sweetened condensed milk, and then add the lime juice. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (if fruit flies are a problem in your house, like they are in mine) and set aside to thicken for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325. Put graham crackers in a food processor and grind until sand-like, then add the sugar, pulse, and then add the butter and pulse. The mixture should look like wet sand. (If you don’t have a food processor, place crackers in a quart baggie, and roll over them with a rolling pin until they are smashed; place in a bowl and add the sugar and butter and mix together). Place the crust mixture in a 8″ pie plate, and using the bottom of a measuring cup, press the crumbs into the plate until they are uniformly pressed against the bottom and the sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 15-17 minutes, or until goldened and fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack about 20-30 minutes (room temperature).
Once the crust has cooled, pour the filling into it, smooth over the top of the filling with a spatula to make the appearance even, and bake for 15-18 minutes (in the 325 degree oven). The pie is done when the center is set (doesn’t jiggle when you shake it).
Let the pie cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate for 3 hours before serving. Two hours before serving, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla together, and smooth on top of the pie. For decoration, you can thinly slice another lime, dip it into sugar, and place it around the edges of the pie.