Desserts – State by State: Florida

As American as key lime pie.

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True, that’s not quite how the saying goes, but considering that Slate decided not to award apple pie to any state, and I made this delectable dish for our community 4th of July party, I figured it was only fitting to customize this idiom to suit the patriotic and comestible needs of the expat lifestyle. Perhaps at our next post cherries, blueberries, lemons or maybe-just maybe-apples will represent Americana for us, but for now, key limes are our go-to.

The small yellowish limes typically used as the basis for this dessert are ubiquitous here, so needless to say I’ve had key lime pie on the brain for quite some time. Unfortunately we have quite the opposite situation when it comes to graham crackers, so I substituted with a local snack frequently found at the fruit stand–fried animal cracker-like cookies.  They were a fine sub in a pinch, but graham crackers really are the best for this crust. I actually tested two types: the classic recipe with an egg base and another which includes the addition of sour cream. While I love tang, the sour cream version was a little too tart for my taste, but the classic version tasted, well, classic. Just remember to add a bit more powdered sugar than you normally would to the whipped cream, as even the classic version needs a bit of sweet to balance the tart.  I also added a bit of gelatin to the whipped cream so that it would hold its body in the heat.

Gabon's answer to animal crackers. Just like their western counterparts, these niblets are just sweet enough to make you come back for more.
Gabon’s answer to animal crackers. Just like their western counterparts, these niblets are just sweet enough to make you come back for more.

State by State Desserts: Florida – Key Lime Pie

Rank: Fantastic: Thank you, Florida, for sharing this dessert with the rest of us!

Yield: 1 9-inch pie

Ease of Preparation: Easy

INGREDIENTS

Crust

  • 16 graham crackers, crushed
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 1/4 lb unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh key lime juice (appx. 12 limes)
  • 2 tsp fresh grated lime peel

Whipped cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3-4 Tbs powdered sugar, sifted (add more to taste if necessary)
  • Splash of vanilla
  • 1 Tbs gelatin (1 packet)
  • 1/4 cup water (of which you will only use appx. 1-2 tsp)

For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix crushed crackers, sugar and butter in a small bowl then press mixture into a nine inch pie plate. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned then place on wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:
Beat egg yolks until thick and light yellow, being careful not to over mix. Turn mixer to low and sdd sweetened condensed milk then one half of lime juice. Once juice is blended, add the remainder of the juice along with the lemon zest and mix until just combined. Pour the mixture into cooled pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes until eggs are set. Cool completely then chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight. Whipped cream can be added once pie has completely cooled or just before serving.

For the whipped cream:
Place water in a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over the water. Let sit for 1 minute then place pan on medium heat, stirring until gelatin has dissipated (there will no longer be any grains in the water). Do not let the water boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you make the whipped cream.

Chill a metal bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Remove and add whipping cream; beat on low until large bubbles begin to form then gradually increase the speed to high. Whip on high for 4-5 minutes or until cream begins to thicken. Once cream thickens into barely soft peaks, add sifted sugar, vanilla and a teaspoon or two of the gelatin water. Continue to beat on high for 1-2 minutes or until stiff peaks form. The whipped cream will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

 

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