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Key limes

Put the coconut in the lime

Three-minute read

Key lime pie is quite literally the very best thing that you can put in your mouthhole. 1 Well, proper key lime pie that is.

Restaurant key lime pie has left many with the impression that it’s something with the consistency of primary school paste dyed nuclear green and infused with lime-flavored petroleum distillates.

And, for god sakes, do not get your key lime pie out a can.

This is America. We can do better. Granted, our presidential nomination process gave us a choice between a thin-lipped scold and a professional wrestling announcer. But key lime pie needs standards.

It’s one of those recipes that’s easier to make in its purest form. It doesn’t take hours in the kitchen getting the specific gravity of a complex set of ingredients just right. It’s just a fairly simple list of ingredients that you mix together and bake. It’s easier to make than gravy.

The secret recipe for really great key lime pie is this:

  • Buy Nellie & Joe’s key lime juice. 2
  • Make the recipe on the bottle.

But this also smacks of settling, like listening to Hootie and Blowfish or going on a date with me. A tweak here or there to the classic recipe can really make a difference.

Key Lime Pie Top Tip No. 1

Use fresh key limes if they are available. It’s better enough that it’s worth the few minutes of extra effort. One bag is enough for one pie.

Squeezing 15 or so ping pong-ball-sized limes might seem a problem. Cut them in half and use a garlic press. It takes less than five minutes to do a whole bag.

Key Lime Pie Top Tip No. 2

The classic recipe calls for graham cracker crust. The best way to make a graham cracker crust is to take the box of crackers and throw them the hell out the window. Graham crackers are shit.

A crust of crushed-up vanilla wafers with a bit of shredded coconut adds a nice counterpoint to the sweet and tart pie filling.

So get this playing on your hi-fi and let’s go. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Three large handfuls of vanilla wafers.
  • Sugar
  • One can of sweetened condensed milk
  • Three eggs
  • One bag of limes squeezed (about 2/3 of a cup or so)
  • About 3/4 stick of butter, melted
  • Shredded coconut

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Crush the vanilla wafers. I generally put them in a large ziplock bag and roll them with a rolling pin until they’re cookie dust. You should end up with a cup or so. Add two or three tablespoons of sugar. 3 Add two or three heaping tablespoons of coconut.

Mix it all up and then pour in the melted butter as you stir the crumbs. You’ll need a little finesse here. The crumbs should stick in place if pressed with a spoon, but not be drenched. You don’t have to use all the butter.

Butter a 9-inch pie plate. Dump the crumbs into it and lightly press them in place with the back of a spoon until you have a reasonable facsimile of a pie crust. Pop it in the oven for 10 minutes. You can skip this prebaking step if you want your crust to be soggy shit that falls apart.

Mix the sweetened condensed milk, lovingly hand-squeezed lime juice and three egg yolks together. When the crust is done prebaking, dump the filling into the crust, jiggle it around a bit to level it and bake for 15 minutes.

When done, chill it for a couple hours and then try to not eat the whole goddamned thing in one joy- and self-hatred-filled sitting.

  1. Well, in the category of food that is.
  2. Get key lime juice. Regular limes won’t work right.
  3. Don’t leave it out. Also, use real butter. You’re making a pie not a kale and quinoa salad.