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Celebrate Spring with a Taste of Key West

Mar 01, 2017 02:13PM ● By Linda Ditch
Have you had enough of winter? Though we’ve been spoiled by some unseasonably warm weather, I bet you’re ready for a taste of the islands—Key West, Florida, to be specific—and what better way to start than with a slice of key lime pie?

This easy-to-make key lime pie recipe is adapted from one given to me by Kermit Carpenter, owner of Kermit’sKey West Key Lime Shoppe. Kermit has been in the key lime business for more than 20 years. His chocolate-dipped pie slices have been featured on both the Food Network and the Travel Channel. Besides a delicious pie, he produces many other key lime foods, such as bottled juice, cookies, taffy, and chutney.

A key lime is smaller than the more common Persian lime found in the grocery store. It’s more tart and acidic, with a thinner rind and lots of seeds. Trust me when I say it takes a lot of key limes to get a little juice. Kermit says it takes about 20 fresh key limes to get a half a cup of juice. So be prepared to do a lot of squeezing, or take my advice and buy bottled key lime juice.

This pie recipe is the traditional blend of sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, and key lime juice. You should avoid using an aluminum pan when making the pie. The acid in the juice can react with the metal, giving the pie an odd flavor. The filling will be a light yellow color, not green. Also, I made my own graham cracker crust, but you could use a pre-made one.

The finished pie is not too tart but rich and creamy. I like my slice topped with a little sweetened whipped cream.

Kermit’s Key Lime Pie

Serves 8

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

6 egg yolks

2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk

1 cup key lime juice (1/2 cup of Kermit’s key lime juice, which is double strength)

Grated lime zest, for garnish

Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a mixing bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, and melted butter until the mixture is crumbly, like sand. Pour into a 9-inch. deep-dish pie pan. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is set and browned. Remove and place on a rack to cool.

2. Lower the oven temperature to 300°. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth and then whisk in the sweetened condensed milk and key lime juice. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow the pie to cool for 15 minutes before refrigerating. Before serving, sprinkle some grated lime zest over the top of the pie. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Over 20 years ago, Kermit Carpenter began selling smoothies from a small stand in front of Papa’s Restaurant in Key West during his tenure as Papa’s bookkeeper. Then, Kermit was left looking for a new adventure. Having been brainstorming with his sister Anita and her husband John, they decided that whatever they decided to do, it needed to be high quality and say “Key West”… gourmet food and Key Lime fit the bill, and so began Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe.

Learn more by visiting Kermit's website.

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