Spring makes me happy. There is nothing nicer than warming temperatures and spring flowers.
I recently went on a quick jaunt to the Florida Keys – it rained the whole time, but it didn’t prevent me from tasting “the world’s best key lime pie” at Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen in Key Largo. Although many places we passed made similar claims about their pie, it was indeed the best key lime pie I have ever eaten. I knew I had to replicate it at home so I schlepped a lb of key limes back with me to New Haven.
Since I like a challenge and am always trying to eat less wheat, I decided to make a gluten free “graham cracker” crust. Although it wasn’t as beautiful as I would have liked, the taste hit the spot. It has great crumbly texture and the perfect graham flavor. Hubby claims it’s better than any graham cracker crust he’s ever tasted – but I’m never sure if he’s just misremembering. Either way, it rocks. And it’s gluten free.
While reviewing tons of recipes, I came upon a raging argument over whether whipped cream or merengue was a more authentic topping. Since Mrs. Mac’s used whipped cream (as did the 70’s style key lime pie post card I bought), I did too. Which ever you choose, I recommend whipping up one of these – it is super easy and is bursting with spring flavor.
4 egg yolks
zest of 4-5 key limes (about 4 tsp)
can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
1/2 cup key lime juice, strained
4 tsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp agave
1 1/4 cup almond meal, packed
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp white rice flour
2 Tbsp tapioca starch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
a couple tsp sugar (to taste)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Whisk yolks and zest together until the mixture lightens in color and has a light green shade, about 2 minutes. Whisk in sweetened condensed milk and then key lime juice. Set aside to thicken at room temperature while you prepare the crust.
Lightly coat pie plate with cooking oil spray. Whisk together crust ingredients until evenly combined. Press into bottom and up sides of pan. Bake 10-20 minutes, tenting with foil if necessary, until lightly golden and crispy. Let cool completely on rack. Change oven temp to 325 degrees.
Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until set but still jiggly when shaken. Let cool to room temp. Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Whip up some cream and serve with pie. Enjoy the taste of spring.
According to my filling inspiration, Baking Illustrated, you can refrigerate up to 1 day when covered with saran wrap lightly sprayed with oil. HOWEVER, I don’t recommend covering it right away. I did (before I had finished photographing this lovely thing – and it stuck and ripped part of the top. Instead, let it chill for a couple hours, THEN proceed with oiled plastic covering.