The cool key lime custard filling is sweet, tart, and refreshing. Billowing poufs of vanilla whipped cream brings an impressive volume to the dessert. The graham cracker crust is crunchy and buttery. And best of all, you can make it all ahead of time. Just pull it out of the freezer when you’re ready for dessert…and look like a totally put together rock star of a hostess.
Oh, this ridiculously delicious, beautiful dessert? I just whipped it up. No biggie…
(Cue: shower of adoration and kisses).
It all starts with the crust. I’ve never been able to resist a graham cracker crust. Guaranteed delicious and super easy to make. Simply combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter, and press it all into a pie pan.
In the interest of presentation, I find that using a foil pan makes it easy to lift the pie out and make clean slices. I’ve also made this in a springform pan before with good results (although then it becomes more of a Frozen Key Lime Cake...semantics).
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then allow it to cool while you make the filling.
For the filling, you need a can of sweetened condensed milk, a bunch of limes, sugar, and six eggs at room temperature. (Here’s a tip: if you don’t have time to let the eggs come to room temp, just soak them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.)
You’ll only need the yolks for this recipe, so save the whites for a dino-sized egg white omelet tomorrow.
Go ahead, just use your hands.
Once you have all six yolks set aside, whisk them together with the sugar and lime juice.
Make a double boiler by setting the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened and frothy.
Now whisk it together with the condensed milk and lime zest, and stir until everything is combined.
Pour the filling into the cooled pie shell.
Now for the copious amounts of sweet vanilla whipped cream. There’s nothing like real whipped cream made with nothing but heavy cream, vanilla, sugar, and air. Creamy dreamy.
Stick the whole thing in the ol’ icebox and forget about it until it’s time for dessert! (...and adoration...and kisses.)
Frozen Key Lime Pie
This Frozen Key Lime Pie is a sure thing. I have yet to meet a person who hasn’t died over this. It’s the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. The texture is fantastic (like soft ice cream). The cool lime custard filling is sweet, tart, and refreshing. Billowing poufs of vanilla whipped cream brings an impressive volume to the dessert. And best of all, you can make it all ahead of time.
(Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style, 2002).
Yields: (1) 9-inch pie, about 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 4 hours
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours, 35 minutes
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
6 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons grated lime zest
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 to 5 limes)
For the topping:
2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Thin lime wedges for garnishing
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. (Note: I find that using a foil pan makes it easy to lift the pie out and cut neatly for presentation when it’s done. I’ve also made this in a springform pan before with good results.) Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- For the filling, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and lime juice until combined. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickened and frothy (about 5 minutes).
- Remove bowl from heat, and whisk in the condensed milk and lime zest until well combined. Pour into the cooled pie shell.
- For the topping, beat the heavy cream on high speed in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until firm. Spoon or pipe decoratively onto the pie and decorate with lime slices.
- Freeze until firm (at least 4 hours, or overnight). Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving. If you used a foil pan, the pie should lift right out, or you can snip the edges of the pan with a pair of scissors to help remove it. If you used a springform pan, run a knife around the edges, then pop it open.