Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Key Lime Pie. . .(my version, not the classic)

I have heard people wax on and on all poetical and stuff about the wonderfulness of Key Lime Pie. I love pie, I love the keys, all that stuff, but to my taste, most of the pies you get there suck out loud. Sticky sweet and not even close to bringing the wonderful flavor of the small, thin skinned, full of seeds, key lime.

I can almost hear the screams of the butter clogged southern tracheas and the fossilized Florida "purists" for my having the audacity to call this "Key Lime Pie" when it isn't swimming in all that good southern standby ingredients like sweetened condensed milk. I say, "Fuck you" back. In the first place, there ain't no such thing as Key Limes anymore. They cut down all the lime trees and built trailer parks.

Botany Note Before Oddjob Busts My Chops

What is called a Key Lime is no longer grown in the keys, hurricanes, pollution, and human encroachment wiped it out as a commercial crop. When you see Key Limes in the store, you're buying Mexican Limes.

Step 1: Gingersnap Crust


1 1/2 cup finely ground gingersnap crumbs (you can go ahead and use commercial gingersnaps but i recommend using Pal Cookies all you have to do is leave them out on a plate overnight and then rip them to shreds in a food processor)
2 tablespoons baker's sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Mix all the ingredients together and using your very clean fingers or the back of a spoon (in your very clean hands of course) press the mixture into a 9" pan looking for total coverage and an even distribution. Be creative or not when forming the edge of the crust. I usually just pinch it to form a little ridge along the edge of the pan. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.

Make a double batch (2 cups finished product) of Lime curd and chill that.

In a small bowl soften 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin in 3 tablespoons good amber rum. (I use Havana Club because even though I'm sober I remain partial to communist hootch. Their economy and government suck out loud but the Cubanos make a beautiful rum. Mount Gay® from Barbados is a close substitute or even a Puerto Rican Añejo would do, but no dark rum please, if you would rather do without the rum use water) Also allow 8oz of cream cheese to come to room temperature in the bowl of your stand mixer.

Cream the softened, moistened gelatin and cream cheese together at a low speed using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Add in the lime curd. Mix it very well. Put it into the crust and chill in the refrigerator.

For topping you can use fresh whipped cream, piped in any decorative manner you wish, or since you have some left over egg whites from making the lime curd I figure might as well go with a light Italian meringue. You with me? (I knew you were brave)


1/2 cup powdered sugar, measured then sifted to remove any lumps
2 tablespoons water
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Have a 1 cup heat proof (like tempered glass) liquid measuring cup handy by the stove.

In a small heavy saucepan stir the sugar and water together until the sugar is completely moistened, then heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring and turn the burner down to its lowest setting. On an electric range, turn the burner all the way off and leave the pan on it.

In a mixing bowl using the balloon whip or a hand whisk beat the egg whites until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and and beat until stiff (Viagra stiff) peaks form.

Increase the heat under the the syrup and boil until your candy thermometer reads 236° (soft ball stage), pour the mixture into the measuring cup (which you can lube with a bit of cooking oil or spray to make the pour easier) to stop the cooking.

If you are using a stand mixer, or doing this by hand (my choice), pour a little bit of the hot syrup over the egg whites and mix vigorously for about 5 seconds. Do this until all the syrup is mixed in (don't forget to use a rubber spatula to get all the syrup out of the measuring cup).

Take the pie assembly out of the fridge and mound the meringue all over the top. I like to use a small silver spatula to make little peaks and decorative swirls, but then I'm a total kitchen show off, do what makes you happy. For a great little added touch I like to dust the very top of the meringue with a bit more powdered sugar because it gives it such a wonderful little caramel flavored crunch.

Put this all under the broiler for 20 seconds to a full minute, watching carefully to prevent any burning, but waiting for that beautiful golden brown of a perfect meringue. Cool, away from any drafts for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

To serve, cut with a wet, thin bladed knife, wiping with a napkin between cuts.

Give this one a try. Serve it to your Southern Friends and watch them as they struggle with the instinct to call you a Goddam Yankee Carpetbagger but fail to do it because this pie is way better than the crap they've been serving.

Laughing at their cognitive dissonance is allowed and encouraged.



Anonymous Lisa said...

~gasp~. . .I am speechless. Key Lime has always been a favorite, though because I like a touch of bitter and sour [hence, why I can work with you-know-who.]

I love my sweets, but I have never like too cloying, and that is indeed the problem with most key lime pies. Your recipe would seem to eliminate that problem. Thank you. I have no time for Martha Stewart, and you fulfill my desire for both the warrior and the culinary perspective. Quite a good combo.

9:56 PM  
Blogger seventh sister said...

Oh, you've done it now. Stephen's favorite thing is key lime pie so I am sure that I will have to try this. I guess I'll have to join 2 gyms...maybe a belly dancing class and yoga will help. Maybe I'll start riding again.

7:00 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

riding is good. better than yoga. a lot of times in an AA meeting when people go on and on about the prayer and meditation stuff i tell them that i do my meditating in the barn, shoveling poop. i load up a big forkfull of horseshit and straw and think to myself "i'm qualified for this work, i'm good at it." then i feed them so that they can make me more poop to shovel and i contemplate that whole "circle of life" thing. i shovel poop, i feed the horses, they poop more, i shovel the poop."

maybe i'm very weird but that's the stuff that gives my life meaning. that, and the look on the face of a little girl when she goes for her first ride.

there's a great scene in a very underappreciated jimmy stewart movie called "shenandoah" where the gentleman farmer played by stewart has his family gathered at the table. when it comes time for the blessing he says

Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it, sowed it, and harvested it. We cooked the harvest. It wouldn't be here and we wouldn't be eating it if we hadn't done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you Lord just the same for the food

the first time i heard that i said "yup"

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Botany Note Before Oddjob Busts My Chops


- oddjob (who has visited Key West twice and can't recall seeing any citrus groves on the trip down Route 1)

10:00 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

couldn't resist that my friend. . .
there haven't been limes grown in the keys for a long, long time. it's a more profitable crop growing RV pads and trailer orchards than citrus. i also seem to remember a blight that hit florida (right around the time that anita bryant was being extemely obnoxious, even by her standards. i love cosmic justice)

10:49 AM  
Blogger Willie Jordan said...

Old Captain Tony, God Rest His Soul, told us many years ago that if we wanted real key lime pies not to look for them here in the keys because they only make cheap-stuff there in the keys to sell to the tourists. He told us if we wanted real authentic key lime pie that we should look for his friends Kutchie and Anita Pelaez in Asheville NC near the Biltmore House. He told of their place called Kutchie and Anita's Key Lime Pie Factory. And that's the place to get the original recipe authentic key lime pies. The Captain said both him and Jimmy Buffett recommends Anita and Kutchie's pie to everyone and that Jimmy always brings him a stack of them when he is near NC.

Well to make a long story short, Captain Tony wasn't just tell us another "Fish Tail", he was right-on about Anita's and Kutchie's fabulous key lime pies. We have been ordering them ever since.

Thanks Captain Tony,You're The Man!


4:07 PM  
Blogger Jake Carson said...

It just doesn’t get any
better than seeing the gorgeous “Mrs. Anita Pelaez” over at her and her
husband “Captain Kutchie’s” place..Some Folks Also Call Him..”The
KutchMan others call him The Kutchmon!”…Most Just Call Him “The Most
Interesting Man In The World”….(Anita and Kutchie Pelaez’s Key West, Key
Lime Pie Factory and Grill)…Just watching the lovely couple baking together all those Yummy
Key Lime Pies at their Key Lime Pie Factory and Grill in Asheville.
…It’s always worth the trip to visit them in they’re Historic Key Lime
Pie Factory and Grill…It should be on everyone’s bucket list for
sure..And The World’s Best Key Lime Pies!..YUM-YUM-YUM….­­.”Talk About
World Class” What An Understatement!…….AA­­HHHHH!….The Magic Of The
Lovely..”Mrs. Anita Pelaez” And Her Delicious Key Lime Pies Baked With
Pure Love…Always……40 Years And They’re Still Going Strong….

….May GOD Continue Blessing “Anita And Kutchie Pelaez” and They’re World
Famous Key Lime Pie Factory And Grill Where The Personalities, Ovens And
Smiles Are Always Warm And Inviting. “Kutcharitaville” You’re The Best We Love You!….

…Now You Know Who Is The Hottest!…And Baby Let Me Tell You, Mrs. Anita Is No Act…She’s The Real Thing Baby!…

….Located Near The Biltmore House And Estate…..
....Who Could Ask For Anything More?...Anita's Key Lime Pie...(Hell Yes!)

11:34 AM  

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