Award-Winning Key Lime Pie

OK, so technically this pie hasn’t won any awards. But it was made for an Awards party… so the title is almost true. There were Awards won in the general vicinity of this pie.
Every year, my parents throw a party to celebrate the Academy Awards. Now, my mother is a party-planning queen. In the sense that she has no sense of scale. Which means everything is always awesome (if not under budget). One example: take a look at the gorgeous tablescape below. See those gold stars on the runner? Those are individually hand-spaced. No simple confetti-scattering for this hostess! (I love you, Mom.)

Whenever my Mom entertains, I always bring dessert. In this instance, I wasn’t the only one – in addition to a delicious dinner, we had quite an awesome dessert spread…
Can you spot my pie way up there at the top? Don’t worry, we’re going to take a closer look.
The pie came from one of my Christmas-gift cookbooks (thanks Aunt Libby!), A Year of Pies by Ashley English. It’s technically Gingersnap Key Lime Pie, because the crust is made of gingersnaps, giving a slight twist to your traditional key lime. And in fact, the crust is just gingersnaps – well, and melted butter. Excellent.

Once you’ve got your crust ready, you press it into your pie pan and pop it in the oven to cook. It’s that simple.

Then we get to the filling – the key limes. I couldn’t find key lime juice, but I did find the little limes themselves. It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but they’re teeny-tiny. Which makes them extra fun to juice, let me tell you. Sixteen limes later, I finally had the required quarter cup of juice and three tablespoons of zest. Then I had to go lie down.

The filling is just key lime juice, zest, condensed milk, and egg yolks. It bakes for fifteen minutes, and then I topped the whole thing with some fresh-whipped cream.

It was very popular. Maybe the favorite dessert. Some might even say it won the vote. The People’s Choice Award. We could almost call it…award winning?

Gingersnap Key Lime Pie
From A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home-Baked Pies by Ashley English

Though the final product was delicious, I did have a couple of issues with this recipe. First of all, it really didn’t make a lot of filling. I was using a deep-dish pie dish, so I’d recommend using a shallower one, but you also might want to multiply the filling recipe a little to match up with the amount of crust (I used the whipped cream to fill the dish a little more). I’d also recommend buying bottled key lime juice if you can find it (and just using regular lime zest). All that juicing of tiny limes is definitely the hardest part of this recipe.

Yield: One 9-inch Pie

Ingredients for Crust:
10 oz. (about 2 1/2 cups) gingersnap cookies
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for Filling:
1/4 cup key lime juice
3 tbs. grated lime zest
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
3 large egg yolks, beaten
Whipped cream for serving (optional)

Directions for Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter a nine-inch pie pan.

Crush the gingersnaps in a food processor or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin and combine with melted butter in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until fully mixed.

Press the mixture into the pie pan, covering bottom fully and pressing crumbs halfway up the sides (I pressed them all the way up – there was a lot of crust!). Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and cool completely before filling.

Directions for Filling and Assembly:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine lime juice, zest, condensed milk, and egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk until fully blended.

Pour the filling into the prepared cooled crust and bake 15 minutes. Cool completely before serving. If using whipped cream, serve with pie or pipe over filling. Enjoy!

Note: Pie can be made one day in advance and refrigerated. It would probably also freeze well, though I didn’t try it.

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