I used to be terriefied of making Key-Lime pies. I thought I had never done any, until now, but my aunt reminded me of a ginger-key-lime pie debacle of a few years ago. I think that’s why I feared them, and having forgotten about that thing, was convinced I had never baked any.
With the big snow storm of Feb. 5-6, 2010, I got a craving for meringue. All that white fluffy snow on top of cars made me crave a Key Lime Pie. So I got over my fears, called mom for advice and baked away.
This is for you, Sara Carolina.
For the dough:
- about 1 and 1/4 cups of flour, sifted
- 1 bar of unsalted butter, cold, cut up in small pieces
- pinch of salt, if you want
- cold water
For the filling
- 1 can condensed milk
- 2 egg yolks
- about 4 limes, of which you will use the zest and the juice.
For the meringue
- The egg whites you separated from the yolk
- Preheat the oven to 350º
- Mix the flour and butter by hand until they feel like sand. Add the salt (optional). Add the water by teaspoons, mixing the dough as you go. Be careful to not add too much water or the dough will become gummy. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour. Demo here.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator, dust a little flour on the surface of your counter, and place the dough on it. Be careful not to add too much flour or you will unbalance the proportions and dry out your dough. Roll your dough until it reaches the size of your pie mold. According to my French pastry cook book, you should roll the dough in one direction, so as not to shrink it back and also be careful not to manipulate the dough too much.
- Place the dough on the pie, shape it accordingly and bake for about 15 minutes. Poke little pricks on it so it can “breathe” and doesn’t inflate in the oven. Don’t let it get too golden.
- Meanwhile, mix the two egg yolks and the condensed milk. Grate the zest of about three limes and add their juice. Mix. You know you’ve added enough juice when the mixture starts to curdle and is less liquidy. If your limes are not very juice, you may need more than 4. Taste to make sure it’s to your liking.
- In bowl add the egg whites and start to whisk. Either with a standing mixer or by a hand held one (or, if you’re old school, like my mom, with a fork!). Halfway through, start adding the sugar, until it reaches the sweetness you like. Careful, remember that as the meringue bakes and then cools, it will sweeten a bit more, so err on the side of caution with the sugar.
- When the whites are fluffy and firm, pour the filling onto your baked dough, spreading it out. Top with the meringue. Lower the oven temperature, say to 275-300º and return pie to oven. Monitor it, so the meringue doesn’t burn. When it starts to get golden-brown, pull it out and let it cool.
After it’s fully cooled, store in the fridge up to 5 days.