Key Lime Pie is the state pie of Florida. But the exact origins of the key lime pie are unknown. We can, however, trace back the first mention of a recipe for this dessert to William Curry, Key West’s first millionaire.
Like William Curry, my husband Steven is a Key Lime Pie fan. Whenever we go out, if it is on the menu he will try it. Well, I decided to try my own hand at this favorite dessert of his. After many, many, many attempts I finally came up with a winning recipe. You will see that I use whipped cream as the topping for my pie recipe, although the traditional topping is meringue.
But before we get to the recipe, which is super simple, what exactly is a key lime? Simply put, it is a citrus fruit that is smaller, more acidic, and more thinly skinned than the traditional Persian limes that one normally find at the grocery store. Some key limes also have more of a yellow than a green hue. The key lime goes by other names as well such as the West Indian lime and the Mexican lime. The key lime plant is native to Southeast Asia, but found its way to places like Africa, Sicily, and the Americas by Spanish explorers.
Where to get Key Limes? Good question. I can pick them from the tree in my yard or buy some at Publix or Winn Dixie, my local grocery stores. But I would imagine that some people may not be able to find fresh key limes at their local stores. So, if you cannot find them there are a few options… You should be able to find Key Lime Juice which is actually much easier to use than it is to squeeze out the juice from these suckers. I like Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice brand. But Florida Keys Key Lime Juice and The Original Key West Lime Juice are also good options. Whatever brand you go with, just make sure that there are no sweeteners added as that will throw off the taste of the recipe. And if push comes to shove and you cannot find key limes or key lime juice, you can use traditional limes and/or regular lime juice. Just keep in mind that since regular limes are not as tart as key limes, you may have to adjust the amount of juice used by a couple of ounces.
- 3 – 6 oz key lime juice (depending on how tart you like your pie)
(I like Mrs. Biddle’s brand or Nellie and Joe’s brand)
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle brand is my favorite)
- 1/2 cup Breakstone’s sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- ready made graham cracker pie crust or shortbread pie crust (Keebler preferred)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 T powdered sugar
- 1/4 t real vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine key lime juice, condensed milk and sour cream in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat eggs; add to lime mixture and beat for 1 minute. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove pie from oven and cool for 1 hour. While pie is cooling, combine heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla in a separate bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over cooled pie. Store pie in fridge or freezer until ready to serve.