Pi day is almost over and I almost didn’t post! Nothing exciting mathematically for this quick post; just a RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS AND EASY LIME PIE. If you buy a graham cracker crust, it has THREE INGREDIENTS. If you don’t, it has five!
Fun and cutely embarrassing fact: when I was in high school, my best friend and I would come up with codenames for our crushes- hers were a series of colors, and mine was a series of fruits. Also, how we became best friends is I “stole” her “boyfriend” (we were 14), whom we later dubbed “orange” because it’s the only color which is also a fruit. Anyways, I saved lime for a really serious one, because it was at the time my favorite flavor. In fact I think “lime” never got assigned to anyone. I wish I could go back to my teenage self and ask her if this guy I married is worthy of the “lime” title (hopefully she’d say yes! I’d say I think he is, but it’s now unclear to me how good the title is. In any case I like my husband a lot, but maybe not as much as I loved small green fruits when I was 15).
The not-secret ingredient behind lime pie is a can of sweetened condensed milk- this is also the not-secret ingredient behind Vietnamese iced coffee. You too can make ca phe sua da or ca phe sua nong at home: pour some sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of a glass, add some espresso/very strong coffee, then add ice cubes or some hot water. Stir. I used to squeeze sweetened condensed milk over bread pudding as a sort of creme anglaise substitute. Also, shaved ice + freshly cut chilled fruit + pour over some sweetened condensed milk = DELICIOUS. And of course you need sweetened condensed milk for magic bars, which I will make and blog someday. Just thinking about sweetened condensed milk is making me happy right now.
You may notice that this is not a key lime pie. Key limes are small. This pie would require juicing 20 or so key limes. There are four limes in the picture above. I am fairly lazy. You do the math. (This is funny because there’s no math to be done here, besides maybe realizing the inequality 4<20. However, in my meeting with my advisor a few weeks ago he told me that the key point that I had missed somewhere was the fact that 4/3 of three is less than five. So there is math! Or something something about me.)
This was my first graham cracker crust, and my friend actually made it (this may be the second time I’ve made a pie with someone. First time was also in high school, with a friend who coincidentally shared my last name– we made a beautiful apple pie. She showed me her secret of leaving the apple slices in a bowl of water to keep them from turning brown.) We microwaved a stick of butter, crushed a bunch of graham crackers in a plastic bag, and mixed the two with a pinch of salt right in the pan.I didn’t realize graham cracker crusts were so easy! To make it a bit prettier you can tamp it down with a measuring cup or anything flat. Then bake it while you make the filling.
Step one of filling is zesting the lemons. If you don’t have a microplane grater yet, I highly highly recommend buying one. This is one of very few kitchen tools I’ve bought (rolling pin? Why not a wine bottle? Any other gadget? Why not a knife?). Also, think about how long this would take if you used 20 key limes instead of four normal limes.
Next, toss in some egg yolks. You could of course use the whole eggs, but yolks make things more custardy/rich and they’re what I used. Then I had egg whites for breakfast (you could also use the opportunity to make pavlova, the best thing I’ve ever made). I used my stand mixer and mixed that up really well, til pretty light. You could also just use a fork/whisk and a bowl for this recipe, but I do think that using a beater makes the texture super smooth.
Now add in your can of sweetened condensed milk and beat that too.
Ugh I’m using my husband’s stupid little computer and I accidentally published this post here. Sorry! Updating as fast as I can to finish it.
Finally, juice those four limes (or 20 key limes) and toss that in to the filling, and mix. I have some asides about recipes here: generally, key lime pie recipes I found listed graham crackers and lime juice using cups as units of measure: so 1 1/2 c of crushed graham crackers and 2/3 c of lime juice. The lime juice I understand, because limes come in different sizes/might be juicier or less juicy, and you want recipes to be repeatable. But aren’t all graham crackers the same size? Every time you crush X number of graham crackers, you should get 1.5 c of crumbs. I’m just saying as an amateur graham cracker crust maker, I did not know how many graham crackers to use.
Pour your filling into your parbaked crust (it’s been in the oven for about ten minutes by the way, unless you’re really slow at juicing limes in which case maybe you took it out after ten minutes), and bake for another ten minutes until it looks not jiggly.
We let this cool for a little bit, then stuck it in the freezer because we wanted to eat it. You could also put freshly whipped cream on top if you wanted. But it’s great on its own, and is SO EASY. We literally went from “hey, do you want to make a pie?” to eating a pie in one hour, which includes the 15-20 minutes of freezer time.
SO GOOD. SO EASY. SO GLAD THIS POST IS DONE SO I DON’T HAVE TO KEEP COMING UP WITH PI PUNS.
Lime pie (adapted from the ever-amazing smitten kitchen)
1 sleeve of graham crackers
1 stick of butter (1/2 c)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
4 limes or 20 key limes
3 egg yolks (or eggs)
Crush the graham crackers (we stuck them in a plastic bag then pulverized with a bottle, but a rolling pin or something would work well too). Melt the butter. Mix the graham crackers and salt in a pie pan, then pour over the melted butter and mix. Tamp down into a crust. Bake at 350 while you make filling (set timer to ten minutes to be safe).
Beat the egg yolks with the zest of the limes for several (5 per SK) minutes. Meanwhile, juice the limes. Then add sweetened condensed milk and beat more (3 minutes per SK). Stir in lime juice. Pour into parbaked pie crust. Bake for another ten minutes.
Let cool completely, then chill. Then eat.