Okay, so this summer has been really bizarre so far. It hasn't really felt at all like summer yet! We'll get a couple of summer-ish days, then Mother Nature is all like, "Just kidding!" It's almost July and I'm still wearing pants. I've worn shorts maybe twice so far. Yesterday, I wore pants AND a sweatshirt. Today actually has turned out to be a pretty nice summery day. It started out all not-summery, but now it's finally sunshiney and warm out. And I'm wearing shorts. Finally.
Anywho, the point of this post isn't to complain about the weather! The point is to share with you this lovely key lime pie that is the epitome of summer. Key lime pie just shouts summer. Whenever I eat key lime pie, if I close my eyes, I swear I'm sitting on a deck overlooking the ocean in Florida. Key lime pie is my dad's favorite dessert ever. When my brother and I were little, our family always took a road trip down to Georgia every spring vacation to visit our aunt and uncle. Usually we would continue down to Florida. And whenever we ate out at any restaurants in Georgia or Florida, my dad would ALWAYS get the key lime pie for dessert.
For Father's Day, I decided I would make my dad an authentic Southern key lime pie. And it came out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. The meringue has some lime zest in it, so this pie is extra-limey. And extra delicious. When trying to figure out the perfect Southern key lime pie recipe, I pulled out my "Savannah Classic Desserts" recipe book. And bingo -- there was Uncle Bubba's Key Lime Pie. Perfect! (Uncle Bubba is Paula Deen's brother -- so you know it's very Southern and filled with butter).
This recipe is pretty easy to make. I'd say the hardest part is zesting those limes (zesting takes foreverrrrr). But, I mean, zesting really isn't that hard I guess. Plus, limes give off the most wonderful, fragrant smell when you zest them. So. Good. The effort is worth it.
By this point, I'm sure you're like, "Okay, let's get onto the recipe already!" Okay, okay -- without further ado, here it is!
UNCLE BUBBA'S KEY LIME PIE
5 tablespoons butter, melted (I used EarthBalance since neither my dad or I can tolerate a lot of butter -- I know, not very Southern)
2 cups gluten-free graham cracker crumbs (the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs and 1/2 cup of slivered almonds. I left 'em out since my dad isn't a fan of nuts, but I bet almonds would be tasty)
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (I used non-fat -- I know, I know -- again, not very Southern. Shhhh.)
1/2 cup Key lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 large eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup of sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the crust: Combine the graham crackers and melted butter (or Earth Balance, in my case) in a food processor. Put the mixture into an 8-inch pie pan and pat along the sides and bottom to form an even crust. Bake for around 5 minutes, until crust is set. Let cool.
To make the filling: Combine the condensed milk, lime juice, and 1 teaspoon of the zest in a medium bowl. Beat in the egg yolks until smooth. Pour the filling into the crust.
To make the meringue: Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon of lime zest until the mixture is stiff. Spoon the meringue over the filling and spread it around. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown.
Let cool before serving and then be transported to somewhere tropical!