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Key Lime Pie

September 10, 2019


My first experience with key lime pie wasn't much of an experience at all. My memory may be fuzzy after all this time... but I had never even heard of key lime pie until one afternoon about 12 years ago, when my parents came back from a trip to the Florida Keys with one in hand. But much to my dismay, I was catching a flight back to Pittsburgh that evening and they didn't want to break into it until my brother arrived the next day (since it was at his request they bring one home, not mine). Honestly, if I brought this up now they would probably deny it, but I do believe this story to be true and I still have never tried an actual from-the-keys key lime pie! But I have since tried many others in my quest for the best one.

Whether you have or haven't ever had key lime pie, you'll find that there are many iterations of it depending on where you look. The premise is always the same - a graham cracker crust topped with lime curd (made from key limes and not regular limes, if you're lucky) and finished with a whipped topping. I've found that the whipped topping is where you'll get the most variance - sometimes it's light and fluffy, other times it's thick like cream cheese; sometimes it's spread across the entire pie in big dollops, other times it's piped on carefully just around the edges. Regardless of how it's topped, I've never had a bad key lime pie. My favorite is still the one from the Amish stand at the farmer's market I used to go to back in Philly; it was one of those ones with the cream cheesy type whip piped around the edges, and it had just the right amount of tang and sweetness and coated your mouth in the most pleasurable way.

This is not that pie. I'm still working on figuring out how to recreate that one. This one definitely falls on the other end of the spectrum - rich tart filling topped with light, fluffy, melts-in-your-mouth cream. It's still really freakin' good. It's also not as complicated as it looks, I promise. Trust me; try it, and let me know what you think! And don't be afraid to try key lime pie wherever you can find it... it's my go-to whenever I have the option!



Key Lime Pie

Crust:
  • 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
Filling:
  • zest 1 lime
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • ⅔ cups key lime juice (fresh, if you can find them, or this)
Topping:
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup confectioner's sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt the butter over the stove or in a microwave, set aside.

If you have a food processor- Break up graham crackers and run until crumbs form. Add butter and white sugar and pulse to combine.

If you don't have a food processor- Break up graham crackers with a mortar and pestle, or in a zip-lock bag with a rolling pin. In a bowl, combine the graham crackers, melted butter, and white sugar until a coarse crumb forms.

Gently press the crust into your pie pan, making sure to get an even layer up the sides. Use the palm of your hand or the base of a measuring cup to press the base of the crust down. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 325°.

While the crust is cooling, in a large bowl beat together the lime zest, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk using a spatula and strong hand or using a handheld mixer. Once the mixture looks thick and glossy, pour in the key lime juice and beat until combined.

Pour the filling into your slightly cooled crust and return the pie to the oven for 20-25 minutes. The filling should be set but not browned. Allow the pie to cool completely before topping with whipped topping.

To make the whipped topping, use a handheld mixer to whisk heavy cream to soft peaks. Add in the cream cheese, vanilla extract, and confectioners sugar and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. Top cooled pie with whipped topping and smooth with a spatula. Enjoy!

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Look Back at August

September 09, 2019

Watching:

In the Dark, binge-watched this on my days off and can't wait for season 2
Always Be My Maybe, finally (lol Keanu cameo)
Instant Hotel (season 2), guilty pleasure
Tiny House Nation, definitely searched online for tiny homes for sale after this

Reading:

Three Women, began this while camping, read for hours on end, and finished wide-eyed on our couch
Ask Me Again, Yes, slow to start but now I'm sucked in and can't wait to see what happens

Listening:

Hidden Brain, rediscovered during an epic cleaning project at work
Ologies, my newest podcast obsession
Mysterious Universe, with Shawn on our days off
Scott Bradley's Postmodern Jukebox, the best covers of all the songs, hands down
Unified Highway - Are You That Somebody, speaking of covers... on repeat

In the Kitchen:

Blueberry Crumb Cake, with sour cream instead of milk
Beer Bread & Beer Cheese, recipe testing for a class we ended up cancelling
Summer Quiche, with zucchini and red peppers and not enough milk
Gluten-free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes, for work and based off various recipes
Mustard Chicken, marinated 36 hours and oven-roasted
Zucchini Bread, topped with Nutella

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Things to Remember From August

September 06, 2019


The scent of ripening peaches filling up the kitchen.
Soft skin gently pulling away from flesh, juice dripping down my wrists over the sink, sweetness, savored.
Catching the final strands of pink sky after the sunrise.
Succumbing to the comfort of a brand new rotating tower fan in the midst of a slew of intensely hot days.
Podcast after podcast and the satisfaction of a clean and admirable basement storage room; a job well done.
Nutella spread across an ample slice of homemade zucchini bread.
Wishing we had a house if only to have an excuse to buy that vintage pink stove, and the midcentury-modern king-sized bed frame that came with nightstands attached.
A solo date with beer and french fries that looked deceptively like onion rings.
Discovering Scott Bradley's Postmodern Jukebox.
Tasting summer cherry tomatoes with a clerk at the grocery store.
Telling my yoga class to slowly make their way onto their backs and looking up to see them all waiting in anticipation of my usual core-centered ten-count slow lean-back, when I was going to give them a reprieve from it.
Hearing Coldplay's Yellow on the radio; thinking of my dad and being a teenager.
The scent of lavender bushes filling the air.
An odd little bluebird frolicking happily on a neighbor's front lawn.
Recognizing a 22-year old version of myself in an eager new student.
Spending slow morning hours listening to Mysterious Universe with Shawn.
Putting up shelves in the apartment for the sole purpose of having more plants.
Buying more plants to fill up those shelves.
Spotting three new cats on my way to and from work all in one day. One particularly sweet one with the same name as a friend.
Brunch at a new-to-me spot before work with a friend I hadn't seen in months; putting pins in conversations.
Waking up in time to watch the sunrise.
Late night thunderstorms; Lucifer cuddling close.
Needing a few minutes to process good news; the excitement of the prospect of something new.

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