Thursday, January 28, 2010
sweetness at the bottom of the birthday pie...
I have been fortunate enough to maintain many of my childhood friendships... and Monica is one of these friends. Her birthday is TODAY (Happy BIRTHDAY Mon) but we celebrated last weekend. I wanted to bake her a really good dessert. I wanted to bake her something that would really show her how much her friendship means to me. I decided to bake her a key lime pie.
Yep. Monica is a fan of the key lime pie. It's sweet but with that edge...kinda like Monica :0) Since I'd never made this kind of pie before I figured I needed to use a source that I could count on: a recipe that would be fail-safe. I opened up the hummingbird bakery cookbook. Remember... I used it for my lemon poppy seed cake? Everything that I've tried from it has so far been successful... so I figured I couldn't go wrong with this recipe. I was right. Not only was this pie simple to make, but the burst of lime brightened up a cool January evening.
Note: This pie is made in 3 steps; with necessary cooling time between each step: the crust, the filling and finally the meringue topping. I made the crust and filling the day before and then topped the pie about 2 hours before I presented it to Monica. So plan ahead!
Monica loved it. And really at the end of the day, that's all that really matters. So thank you again hummingbird bakery - another successful recipe from your cookbook of goodies.
Key Lime Pie
3 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 1/3 c. butter, melted
8 eggs, separated
2 x 300 ml cans of condensed milk
freshly squeezed juice and grated zest of 5 limes (I actually only had 3, so I added 2 tbsp of lime juice)
1 1/4 c. white sugar
Grab your 9-inch pie dish. The recipe book says to grease it... I forgot to :0)
Preheat your oven to 325 F.
For the crust: In a large bowl (or in your food processor) combine the melted butter with your graham cracker crumbs. You want to really incorporate the two together. Press the graham cracker crumbs into the base and sides of the pie dish (use the ball of your hand to flatten and compress the crust).
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes - the crust will be golden and firm. Place on a wire rack to allow to cool completely.
When the base has cooled you'll be ready to start the filling (about 40 minutes... or you can place it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to rush up the process).
For the filling: Preheat the oven to 300 F.
Put the egg yolks (keep the egg whites, covered, refrigerated until ready to use), condensed milk, lime juice and zest in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using your whisk attachment and beat everything together . You want this to be very well incorporated.
Once your filling has been well whisked, pour it into the cold crust and bake for about 20 - 30 minutes... the filling should be firm to the touch but still slightly soft (not wobbly) in the centre (mine took 30 minutes to bake, but I checked at the 20 minute mark).
Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. When ready, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
When you're ready to top the pie...
The Meringue: Preheat your oven to 300 F.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until frothy (a medium to low speed). Slowly incorporate the sugar (1 1/4 c.), increasing the speed of your stand mixer until you reach top speed. You want to get to the stiff peak stage.
Spoon the meringue on top of the lime filling, making sure that the entire pie is covered (meringue and crust should touch). Create peaks and swirls in the top of the meringue with a tablespoon.
Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the pie and bake for another 8 minutes - you want the meringue to be evenly golden on top... you'll know when it's ready. Just keep a close eye on it.
Allow to cool completely at room temperature before serving. Garnish with some more lime zest if you have it... the pie is beautiful either way :0)