Key lime pie
Photo by Tamara West
It is thought this pie was invented in the late 19th century by sponge fishermen in the Key West Florida area. They would have been out at sea for long periods with no ovens and only basic ingredients on board. I think it is quite amazing they came up with adding lime juice to sweetened condensed milk. This made it set, then they topped it with meringue. Nowadays, in the interest of food safety, the pie is baked and sits in a delicious biscuit or pastry crust. Key limes are unique to the Florida Keys region. They have a small thin yellow rind and are more tart and aromatic than green Persian limes. I make mine with limes bought at the supermarket.
- Heat oven to 170C.
- Crush biscuits to make crumbs then mix with melted butter. Press into individual tart moulds to form a 4mm crust along base and up sides.
- Separate egg yolks and whites, whisk yolks, then mix in sweetened condensed milk, stir in lime juice and pour onto biscuit base. Bake for 5 minutes.
- Whisk whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle in sugar and continue whisking until shiny.
- Remove the pie from the oven and pipe or spoon on meringue, return to oven for 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool then place in the fridge to chill.