It is perhaps fitting that the last thing I make in my beloved Keys this year is a Key Lime Pie. I didn’t plan it that way. I just thought that after 9 weeks it was time to test this iconic dish, so I grabbed the shockingly few ingredients required to make it and set forth, only half paying attention as the mixture was whipping away, while we began packing. You see, dear readers, Mr. Foodie and I are moving back to VA in the coming days. Back to our small, but pretty little condo and our friends and family. I am torn between sadness and excitement because I will miss so much about living here. The water most of all. But I am also looking forward to so much back home. Seeing my loved ones. Cooking in my kitchen. Shopping at a grocery store with more than one kind of fresh herb for sale at a time.
I’m almost finished reading As Always Julia: The Letters of Julia Child & Avis Devoto and I’m struck with how resilient Julia was through all the moving and the major disappointments she faced with her cookbook, and by her dedication to her work nonetheless. Her letters to Avis do not, perhaps, reflect those nights she woke up sobbing with anxiety and despair, but these two friends were as open with each other as they could be separated by so much distance. As I stood over our two long, large plastic bins trying to get all my kitchen equipment to fit properly, I was reminded of Julia and it fortified me. This will be our fourth two-day car ride this year. We’re both looking forward to returning home. And yet, I’m so glad we came here because it gave me this blog. I have always wanted to have one like this, but a nagging voice always said it was a waste of time. I had more important things to do. Moving here gave me the excuse – “our family and friends will know what we’ve been up to lately.” And it helped me fill some lonely hours. It inspired us to try new adventures. It forced us out of the house to meet new people and eat good food. It made me fall in love all over again with Mr. Foodie.
I won’t let it go, even though I will cease to be a resident of the fl keys. I’m having too much fun! And all I can think about is how many cool places and good eats I want to share with you from my hometown. And all the recipes I still owe you. And all the new things I have yet to try. With that I will give you the recipe for this beautiful Key Lime Pie that I made. I was proud beyond measure with the texture of the custard – firm, but light. And the flavor! Tart, but creamy and made whole by buttery graham cracker and sweet whipped cream. Victoria Shearer provides an excellent history of key lime pie in her book, but I’ll just briefly say that this pie evolved here because of how few fresh ingredients it required – canned condensed milk for instance -and of course because of the abundance of key limes that grow here.
Key Lime Pie
Crust (we bought a baked crust from the grocery store, but I might make my own next time for a better texture)
- 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs from 9 (2 1/4-inch by 4 3/4-inch) crackers
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh or bottled Key lime juice (if using bottled, preferably Manhattan brand)
Preheat oven to 350. Mix together crust ingredients and press into a pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool on a rack. In a stand mixer bowl, combine filling ingredients and whisk on medium for 4-5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Once the pie shell is cool, pour the filling into the pie shell. Tap if necessary to even it out. Bake in 350 oven for 15 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours (I let mine sit overnight). Garnish with whipped cream (we used store-bought, but homemade is soooo much better) and a lime wedge if desired (note: if you put whipped cream on the pie, it will dissolve after a few minutes, so make sure you wait until ready to serve to do this).
We’ll be on the move and unpacking in the next few days, but you will still be able to find us here cooking and blogging about our new food adventures. Have you made key lime pie before? Did you play with this basic recipe? If so, how?