Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Key Lime Pie

If there is one culinary delight that is synonymous with the Florida Keys it is Key Lime Pie.  This delicious, tangy, delectable treat has spread northward throughout Florida and many other parts of the country.  We try it almost everywhere we go and I am amazed at how different each piece tastes. 

The Key lime plant (or Citrus aurantifolia as known to horticulturists) is a native of Southeast Asia.  The tree made its way westward and Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing it to Hispaniola.  From there, Spanish settlers brought it to Florida.  The key lime tree was the most popular variety cultivated until the 1926 Miami hurricane devastated the crop leaving only a small population in the Florida Keys.  Key limes were replaced with the much larger Persian lime and are now imported from Mexico.

But a lime, is not a lime, is not a lime.  Key limes differ from others not only due to their size.  They are highly aromatic and taste quite different due to their acidity making them more bitter and tart. 

The recipe below comes from my ex-boss James’ daughter.  I love this recipe because of the flavor and simplicity.  It is a frozen pie so it makes a great desert at a summer picnic.  Since it is frozen, you can make it ahead of time.  I have tried half dozen different recipes…some with a baked meringue on top, some with Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice, some with egg yolks, etc.  But I always come back to this recipe.

If you don’t want to make your own crust, buy an already-made crust in the grocery store.  For those of you counting calories, the non-fat sweetened condensed milk works well.  Personally, I do not use key limes in this recipe - they have more seeds, are harder to juice and not always available in grocery stores.  This simple delicious recipe is sure to please.  Thanks Shaunna Harris for sharing this recipe.


1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
¼ cup sugar
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with your hands or spatula.  Press the mixture evenly into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove the crust from the oven and allow to cool.


1 cup whipped topping
1 15-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon lime zest
½ cup lime juice

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Add mixture to pie crust and place until freezer until frozen solid.  Serve.


  1. my father - who never set foot in the kitchen for anything else except to eat - took to making key lime pie as we had a very bountiful
    key lime tree (along with mango, avocado and others) in our back yard and my mother was no baker. His recipe is a little different - he used eggs and made the filling in a double boiler and made a meringue topping (quite impressive for a noncook) but it is a very fond memory of my FL childhood. i always search out key lime anything - i remember the key lime popsicles in Key West as being particularly tasty.

  2. If you're not using key limes because they're seedier and harder to juice, you might be interested in this product I've found, "Nellie & Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice." It's not fresh of course but it has a really great key lime flavor and, even better, it's available everywhere (and you don't need to juice all those little limes). As a bonus, the recipe for key lime pie that they print on the bottle is pretty awesome!


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