Even though I sometimes complain about having to bake things for other people, I secretly love it. It makes me think outside of the box, and adds recipes to my repertoire that I normally wouldn’t bake for myself.
Like this beautiful key lime pie:


This was a request from my coworker’s sister, who wanted to get a key lime pie for her boyfriend’s birthday (key lime pie is his favorite dessert).
Me, personally, I’ve never thought of myself as a key lime pie fan. I always found it to be either too tart, or too sickly sweet and tasting of weird chemicals and fake artificial flavors. I was also put off by the bright green neon color the pie filling sometimes had. But it turns out I’ve been eating terrible key lime pie all my life, because this pie is none of those things:



People were oohing and ahhing about how light and fluffy it was, how the cream’s sweetness balanced the filling’s tartness, how the crispyness of the crust contrasted wonderfully with the lightness of the cream and lime filling.
Everything in the pie was fresh and made from scratch — the cookies for the graham cracker crust, ripe limes freshly squeezed for the pie filling, and hand-whipped cream topping it all off. That was baked, squeezed, and whipped all by yours truly. It was kind of a pain, but it was worth it. I think that’s the secret to good key lime pie… or maybe pie in general. You just can’t cut any corners.
This recipe is an amalgam of a recipe for graham cracker cookies from San Francisco’s famed Miette bakery, combined with a classic key lime pie recipe from Martha Stewart (when in doubt, trust Martha). If pressed for time, you can make the cookies up to 2 weeks in advance (they keep well if they’re stored in an airtight container); or, you can substitute the graham cracker cookies with store-bought graham crackers. But promise to bake the entire thing from scratch one day. Because it’s really worth it.

Get the Recipe: Key Lime Pie

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For the Graham Cracker Cookies

    (makes enough for one deep 9-inch pie pan, plus some extra for filling in pie crust cracks)

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon koshet salt
    • 1/4 “heaping” teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2/3 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
    • 2 tablespoons honey

    For the Key Lime Pie Filling

    • 1 1/2 cups graham-cracker crumbs,
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
    • 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup key-lime juice, freshly squeezed
    • 1 tablespoon grated Key lime zest

    For Whipped Cream Topping

    • 1 1/2 cups cups heavy cream, cold
    • 2 tablespoons sugar plus 1 teaspoon sugar, separated
    • 1 tablespoon grated Key lime zest


    For the Graham Cracker Cookies

    • Sift together 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon into a bowl. Set aside.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 2/3 cup butter, 1/2 cup ligt brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons honey and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the dry ingredients (from the first step) to the butter mixture (from the second step) in 3 additions, beating until just combined after each addition. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
    • When the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350 (F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
    • Unwrap the dough and place between two sheets of waxed paper. On a clean work surface, roll out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Using a 3 1/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out the graham crackers. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet, placing the cookies about a half-inch apart. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. They should snap crisply when cooled.
    • Gather up the dough scraps, reroll, and cut out to make more cookies. Bake as directed and let cool completely.

    For the Graham Cracker Crumbs

    • To make enough crumbs (1 1/2 cups) for the pie crust, place the cooled cookies in a food processor and pulse at 5-second intervals until crumbs form. 12 cookies makes around 1 1/2 cups.

    For the Key Lime Pie Filling

    • Preheat the oven to 375 (F). Combine 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from recipe above), 6 tablespoons butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl, mixing well. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate, using your fingers and the back of your hand to spread the crumbs evenly throughout the pan. Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.
    • Lower oven to 325 (F). In a medium bowl, gently whisk together 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk, 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup Key lime juice, and 1 tablespoon Key lime zest. Pour into the cooled, prepared crust (from the first step).
    • Return the pie to the oven, and bake until the center is set but still quivers when the pie is nudged, about 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

    For the Whipped Cream Topping

    • Shortly before serving, combine cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon over cooled pie.
    • In a small bowl, use your fingers to rub together 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 tablespoon Key lime zest until the sugar is fragrant. Sprinkle over the whipped cream topping. Serve immediately.


    Adapted from Martha Stewart & Miette
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