Recipe: Key Lime Cream Pie with Meringue

My sister Carrie got me a pie dish for Christmas, and I’m pretty sure I’ve used it at least once a week so far this year. I have made apple pie, chess pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate silk pie, strawberry pie, tomato pie. I honestly didn’t know I was such a pie person until I had the pretty dish in my house. (In case you think I am obsessed with desserts, I also use it for making savory dishes like roasted chicken and quiche).

One of my favorites is this key lime pie recipe. I have actually made two key lime pies this season (don’t judge, we’ve had lots of dinner parties to attend), and this one is my favorite. It’s the meringue topping. Really creamy and light. The first time I made it I was thrilled that I could make something that tasted like it came from a French bakery. Yes – it’s that good.

Is this recipe easy? Yes. Is it something I can whip up quickly and effortlessly? No. That’s what people really want to know when they ask if a recipe is easy. Any recipe is “easy” if you can read and follow basic cooking instructions (well, except for this icing which is incredibly hard to master), but this one calls for a little more attention and time for chilling.

All I’m saying is if you are planning to make this pie for a party on Saturday night, the latest you can start on it is early Saturday morning. I made the mistake of making it too late and while it was tasty and still had raving reviews from my friends, the next time I made it I allowed for much more time to chill.

Key Lime Cream pie with Meringue Recipe

Key Lime Cream Pie with Meringue Recipe
Adapted from the Chicken and Egg cookbook

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
(or just use a store-bought graham cracker crust)

Filling:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
6 egg yolks
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup lime juice

Meringue:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup water
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
3/4 sugar

DIRECTIONS:

To make the crust:
(Omit this step if you are using a store-bought crust and follow the instructions on the packaging).) Preheat the oven to 350. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and lime zest. Pour in the butter and stir until all of the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-ince pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes or until set and slightly deeper brown in color. Cool on a wire rack and leave the oven on.

To make the filling:
Beat the cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Whisk in the condensed milk and the lime zest until blended. Whisk in the lime juice. Gently fold in the whipped cream and pour the filling into the cooked pie crust. Bake pie for 15 minutes or until the filling it set. Leave the oven.

To make the meringue:
While the filling is baking, dissolve the cornstarch in the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 30 seconds or until very thick, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and ocver to keep warm. Beat the egg whites and cream of tarter in a large bowl until the whites are frothy. Increase the speed and beat until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in the sugar. Next slowly add the warm cornstarch mixture, one spoonful at a time. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the egg whites are glossy and will hold a stiff peak. Remove the baked pie from the oven and immediately spoon the meringue topping over the hot filling.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the meringue is dry to the touch and lightly brown. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until cold before serving.

What’s your favorite pie?