Who in their right mind declares “I will make dessert” to their quasi-elderly grandmother (who is known for her domination of all things pie) while in the grocery store when they have no unearthly clue what they will make? Thusly then said person whips up a semi-difficult dessert on a whim and it turns out spectacular…what else could be the cause of such events if not magic?
So here’s the back story, about a month ago on another whim I decided I would make dinner for my grandparents. They are very much from the country and in their eating habits are also very much set in their ways. If the beans aren’t freshly hulled (or pulled from the freezer after being “put up”) and made with ham-hock they just aren’t any good. What did I decide on making them? Chicken Marsala with steam haricot vert and roasted potatoes. I also made a fresh ceasar salad and dessert. I won’t lie to you I had no clue how this dinner would go but I was either gonna go all in or not at all. For dessert I went simple (but also renegade with no clue of a recipe) and whipped up a fresh berry tart (ie premade crust filled with simple lemon cream cheese filling and piled high with fresh berries). The problem with said dinner, they liked it! Actually my granddaddy liked the pie so much that he insisted that all leftovers were his…. This is a problem people. No one and I mean no one messes with my G-momma and her pies and now this old fool is painting me out as baker supremo all around town. Fast forward to last week and we in the same predicament dinner was coming we were at the grocery store and I ask my G what was for dinner, she says she doesn’t know. With Abe’s Table in mind I say “I can do dessert” and I quickly ran to produce as I had an idea for pie but no clue which kind, blueberry perhaps? Then I saw a blessed sign “limes 10 for $.99” Okay key lime pie it would be, I praised my android for giving me a quick link as to acquire all other necessities and made a run for it.
While I baked she watched, while I whipped she scruitinized, as I juiced she commented…It was like baking in a condescending war zone. First battle crust- Loss. I burnt the pre-packaged crust and had to pray there would be graham crackers in the house. There were, as well as vanilla wafers so I decided on a quick modification then no butter only imitation, damn! The Gods were not with me in that battle. Then filling- Tie. I was able to combine all ingredients just as the recipe suggested but then was fuzzy on when it would be “set” for fear of losing the war I asked for her opinion, as she pulled the pie to cool she exclaimed “shoot” what!!! What happened to my pie?! A finger “accidentally” skimmed the creamy surface, SABATOGE I cried! Whipped cream topping-win. I am a clever girl I knew to pop the metal bowl in the freezer with attachments, I also knew to add a drop of vanilla, I even tried my hand at decorating without a piping bag using only two spoons I dolloped the edge and center with whipped cream however in the end decided I liked whipped cream on every bite and slather the pillows over the expanse of yellow custard like surface. Finally tasting time….WIN She admitted she had never made a key lime pie from scratch the way I did, she used the bottled juice, she also cleaned her pie plate as did we all.
The only regret, granddaddy once again got to keep the leftovers.
Key Lime Pie
Adapted from Joy of Baking
3/4 c. Graham Crackers crumbs
1/2 c. Vanilla wafer crumbs
2-3 T. Sugar
5-6 T. Butter (melted)
3 lrg. egg yolks (room temp)
14 oz. Sweetened conensed milk
3/4 c. Lime Juice (fresh is best but don’t forget to strain it)
2 1/2-3 t. Lime zest grated
1 c. Heavy whipping cream
2 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla
Lime slice(s) and Zest to garnish
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-In a large bowl mix crumbs with sugar until well mixed
-Add melted butter and stir until mixture is the textur of wet sand
-Press/form crust in pie plate (can grease pie plate with cooking spray prior if desired, I didn’t)
-Bake in oven for about 10 minutes then set to cool.
-Beat egg yolks until light and creamy/fluffy texture (about 2-3 mins)
-Slowly/gradually add sweetened condensed milk and beat until light and fluffy/creamy (about 3-5 mins)
-Add lime juice and zest and beat to combine.
-Pour filling into cooled crust and bake for 10-15 mins or until filling set (it doesn’t giggle/ripple in the middle of the pie when you shake it).
-Chill pie in fridge or even freezer until thouroughly chilled (anywhere from 2 hours-over night).
-Chill metal bowl and beaters in freezer for 5-10 mins prior to whipping cream.
-In chilled bowl whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until it forms stiff peaks or whipped cream texture.
-use whatever method you so choose to top/decorate your pie. I like whipped cream all over, it’s minimal fuss and you get delicous whipped cream in every bite :)