I love key lime pie, and the best thing about it is that it is one of the easiest pies to make. My friends in south Florida tell me that a truly authentic Key Lime Pie consists of three elements:
1) A Graham Cracker crust
2) Filling made only of egg yolks, Sweetened Condensed Milk, and Key Lime Juice
3) Fresh Whipped cream as a topping
I am sure that there is a great Key Lime Pie debate raging somewhere amongst the Floridians about meringue vs. whipped cream or whatever. But since I live in New England, I am just going to have to take my friends' word for it that this is the real thing. The fantastic recipe below comes from the Nellie & Joe's company, and it is super easy to make. When people ask me for the recipe, I tell them to just buy a bottle of Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Juice and follow the recipe on the bottle - it's the best recipe I've found. Bottled key lime juice is usually found in the juice aisle, the baking aisle, or sometimes even the drink mix section of your store. If you can't find it, check specialty stores. You really cannot get the same taste from regular limes, so it pays to look around and find the real thing. Sometimes you can find key limes in the store, and if you feel like squeezing them, more power to you!
1 recipe Easy Cracker Crumb Crust, using Graham Crackers (I use the max amount of sugar for this pie because the filling is so tart)
3 Egg Yolks
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (I prefer Carnation brand - some others can be slightly chalky)
1/2 Cup Key Lime Juice
1 pint Heavy Cream
Extra sugar for sweetening the whipped cream (I usually use 2 Tablespoons)
Prepare the graham cracker crust and bake it at 350 for 10 minutes. Allow the pie shell to cool to room temp (but leave the oven on).
Beat the egg yolks, Key Lime juice, and sweetened condensed milk together until well blended. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 15 minutes more. Allow to cool to room temp and then refrigerate. Before serving, top it with homemade whipped cream (see below). If you have limes on hand, adding a little lime zest or lime twists as a garnish is nice.
To make whipped cream: Chill your cream along with the mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for at least 25 minutes before you start. Pour the cream into the bowl and whip the cream with a balloon whisk until slightly thickened. Add desired amount of sugar, then whip some more until it is a forms thick peaks, being careful not to overwhip until it becomes clotty.