19 April 2009

Key lime pie

I'd heard of Key lime pie a long time before I heard about Key limes. For a long time I had dismissed it as something I'd want to make purely (and utterly unfairly) on the basis that it sounded like Mississippi Mud Pie, which I think of as an impossibly sweet dessert. Although it does contain condensed milk and is topped with meringue, Key lime pie is closer in taste to a lemon meringue pie and the tartness of the limes makes it more 'grown-up' than the Mississippi offering. It is also similar to the Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook's chilled lemon flan that my mother used to make (but which didn't have the meringue topping).

Key limes are much smaller than regular limes. My recipe declared that they are sweeter than ordinary limes, while Wikipedia says that they are more tart. So I'm not sure which is right. They're quite fiddly to juice as they are so small - my usual juicing device was too broad to fit inside the tiny fruit, so we had to use a wooden juice reamer instead.

I always use digestive biscuits for the bases of pies like this, but the recipe calls for Graham crackers. I don't know if they'd be better or worse - will have to try Graham crackers one day and see. I don't add any sugar to the biscuit base, as I think the digestives are sweet enough. The recipe suggests whipped cream on top of the pie, but as meringue is more authentic (and there are egg whites left over from the filling), I make the meringue version:

My mother-in-law was helping me and mentioned that her cookery teacher told the class that they should be able to hold the bowl of meringue mixture upside-down over their heads when it got to the required stiffness. That seemed a bit cruel to me - I wonder how many girls ended up with a meringue shampoo after trying this trick!

1 comment:

Linda said...

Those technicolour 1970s cookery books hold some real gems. This looks rather mouth-watering. Like you, I've always thought 'instant sugar headache' at the prospect of Mississippi Mud Pie.