November 8, 2009

Key Lime Pie

Serves 10

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Key lime juice
Grated zest of 2 limes (Key or Persian)

1/2 cup water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 egg whites

Cook with the proper tools. Use the Balloon Whisk and the Candy Thermometer to create Key Lime Pie.

The following recipe for Key lime pie incorporates Italian meringue as a topping. When making a Key lime pie, if fresh Key limes are unavailable, bottled juice is acceptable. Avoid using regular limes, which are also known as Persian limes. Persian limes' flavor is different and their juice does not work well in Key lime pie recipes.


To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine pie crust ingredients and mix thoroughly. Carefully press mixture into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Form an attractive border around edges. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until sides begin to lightly brown. Let cool. Leave oven at the same temperature.

To make the filling:
In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. Slowly whisk in lime juice and beat until smooth. Stir in zest, then carefully pour pie filling into baked crust and bake for 12 minutes, or until filling is just set. Remove from oven.

To make the meringue:
You will need a candy thermometer to check the temperature of the sugar syrup.

Combine water and 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan. Stir lightly. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until thermometer registers 240 F degrees and creates a syrup. Remove from heat and cover pan with a lid.

While the sugar is cooking, beat egg whites and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form (forms a peak when you pull up the whip). Continue beating eggs on low speed until sugar is correct temperature.

When sugar reaches 240 F degrees, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form (higher and stiffer than soft peaks). Reduce speed to low and pour hot syrup slowly into whipped whites, letting syrup fall in between the whip and the side of the bowl. Whip until meringue is cool.

Spread meringue over top of pie, or place meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip, and pipe meringue onto top of pie. Place pie under broiler in middle of oven, making sure it is not too close to heat. It needs less than a minute under broiler, so wait and watch until meringue begins to brown. You may need to turn pie to allow meringue to brown evenly.

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