One of the most popular pies to find on the menu is the infamous key lime pie. As the name suggests, this pie features a key lime-flavored cream filling held on top of a crumb crust and topped with whipped cream. Key lime pie is also one of the simplest recipes to prepare especially on a first try.

Key lime vs regular lime

Some might already be asking the age-old question when coming across recipes with "key lime" in the name: What separates them from regular limes? Well, that is determined by some subtle differences. Key limes are a little smaller than regular limes but they pack a harder punch when it comes to flavor.

However, they might be a little hard to track down at the grocery store than regular limes. The latter, also known as Persian limes, are usually preferred for their size and lack of seeds which is why key limes are overlooked sometimes.

The recipe

This recipe for key lime pie is as simple as it gets. Things start with a simple graham cracker crust straight from a cheesecake recipe, followed by the filling and ends with a topping of Creme Chantilly (aka whipped cream). All three components are simple to make especially the filling. Though not universal, a basic formula for the filling can consist of a 2:1:1/2 ratio of sweetened condensed milk to key lime juice to sour cream (or cream cheese in some variations).

The following recipe is pretty much what was outlined but with minor adjustments.

Crust Ingredients:

  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup (12 sheets) graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (14 oz each) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup key lime juice or fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp key lime zest or lime zest
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Crème Chantilly ingredients:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

The directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Melt the butter in a small saucepan or frying pan over low heat. Set aside.
  2. To make the crust, break the graham crackers and put in a food processor. Add the sugar. Process until the dry mixture is fine. Pour the melted butter into the mixture as it processes to combine. Fill the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with the crust mix and use the back of a spoon to level it.
  3. To make the filling, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, lime zest in a bowl. Stir in the sour cream.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and use a rubber spatula to smooth the surface.
  5. Bake the pie for 10-15 minutes. Remove to cool, then chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours or more before serving.
  6. When it's time to serve, prepare the Creme Chantilly by beating the heavy cream with an electric mixer until it forms soft peaks. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, then continue beating until the whipped cream forms stiff peaks. Glaze the pie with the Creme Chantilly by spreading it or piping it decoratively on top. Serve.

Serves: 8