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Catastrophe Kitchen | Key Lime Pie

By Salongo Wendland

I had not made one of these in years, as the last one I made required fussy egg-white-whipping and eternal tiny-lime-reaming and the end product was not even worth the colorful expletives I devised while slaving over it. But this one? Not only is it delicious, it’s also easy as…pie.

I’ll let you recover from that one.

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But YES! It is tangy and bright, light and creamy, and ALSO one of the easiest recipes I’ve come across in a long time. Do yourself a favor in these, the last warm days of summer, and make this irresistible treat. Best of all, this is a MAKE-AHEAD dessert. It’s leagues better the second day—don’t try to serve it day one or you will be disappointed. The flavors need time to develop.

YOU WILL NEED:

Crust:

  • 1 sleeve graham crackers
  • 1/2 C butter (one stick)
  • 1/4 C sugar

OR

a pre-made graham cracker crust

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Pie:

  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 3/4 C Key lime juice (from the Key West Lime Juice bottle or from about 1 bag of Key limes)
  • zest of 1 regular lime or 3 Key limes
  • Whipped cream and more zest, for serving

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Preheat oven to 350F.

Making the crust is a snap, but if you’re pressed for time or just can’t be bothered, buy a pre-made one. I throw the crackers and sugar in the food processor, but you can also crush them together in a Ziplock about as easily. Add melted butter, then pat it into the pan. Get it into the oven and set your timer for 12 minutes. It’s done when it’s slightly brown, but you can start checking it when you start smelling it.

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The crust needs to cool down before you add the filling. While the crust cools, you can either start juicing 25 tiny Key limes, or you can use the Key West Lime juice they have near the bar supplies in the supermarket and call it good. Trust me! Juicing the tiny limes is the WORST THING. If I were re-writing the Purgatorio, the slothful would be juicing Key limes for eternity, which is approximately the amount of time it takes to juice enough for one pie. Use the pre-juiced juice. It will be insanely delicious and no one will even know—except you and your un-cramped hands.

So now that you have decided to just use the juice, throw all of the filling ingredients, including the zest, into a mixing bowl. Remember, when you zest the lime, you only want the colored part on the outside (the flavedo, wherein resides the FLAVOR) and not the white part underneath (the bitter pith, as in “I pithy the fool who includes the pith”).

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Mix them together on medium-high for a few minutes, until the filling gets light and fluffy.

Pour into your pre-baked (and now cooled) shell.

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Set the pie in the oven and set your timer for 12 minutes. Yep, just 12 minutes. This should be long enough for minuscule pinhole bubbles to form on the top of the pie but not long enough for it to turn even slightly tan. See the photos? The first one is uncooked, the second is cooked. Almost no difference.  I also absentmindedly left one in for 20 minutes and it was totally fine, so you’ve got some room on this one.

Take it out and let it cool. Then put it in the fridge overnight.

The next day, whenever you feel the need for some amazing, tart, cool Key lime pie, just open the fridge and congratulate future you on past you’s foresight.

I like to serve mine with whipped cream and grated zest.

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Go forth and make delicious Key Lime Pie—the easy way!

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