A recent blog post by the Wanderlust Traveler (you can check out her blog here) about her trip to Southern Florida in which she writes about the key lime pie she sampled there inspired me to make my own version of key lime pie this past weekend.
When I visited Key West in 2007, D and I dined at the world famous Sloppy Joe’s (a favorite drinking spot of Ernest Hemingway who lived nearby) and for dessert, we split a slice of key lime pie. For a nice and refreshing sweet finish, especially when contending with the hot and humid temperatures of the Florida Keys, key lime pie is ideal. Comprising key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk, it’s a truly simple dessert to whip together. Although its exact origins are unknown, it’s believed to have originated in Key West in the late 19th century. The original recipe did not require the pie to be baked which was ideal for fisherman since many did not have access to an oven. The recipe required a chemical reaction (souring) to occur to produce the proper consistency of the filling. Canned milk was also beneficial since it would not spoil without refrigeration and fresh milk was not a common food article in the Florida Keys before modern refrigerated distribution methods.
For anyone who does not know the difference, key limes are nothing like the limes (also known as Persian limes) found in most food stores. Key limes are actually yellow when ripe but often picked green commercially. It is smaller and has more seeds than the Persian lime and also has a higher acidity, a stronger aroma and a thinner rind. Although my local supermarket does not sell key limes, I was lucky enough to find some in the Strip District-a bag of about two dozen for only 50 cents.
Although it took me a while to produce 1/2 cup of key lime juice (the limes are little devils when trying to juice them), it was well worth it being able to keep to the authenticity of the recipe.
I hadn’t had key lime pie in easily a couple of years so having it for dessert on a 98 degree kind of day was simply fantastic. And I did keep things “somewhat” healthy by using a low-fat prepared graham cracker crust and fat free condensed milk.
I highly recommend trying this recipe yourself which was courtesy of the Pioneer Woman’s website and can be accessed here.