2020 Pet of the Year Contest

A Dreamy Key Lime Pie

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Key Lime Pie

This Dreamy Key Lime Pie is a mash-up of different recipes, resulting in a creamy, refreshing, sweet-but-not-too-sweet dessert.

I almost forgot it this year, but this weekend is Memorial Day! 

The Memorial Day that 2020 brings is quite different than the norm, in the same way that 2020 has been different in every sense of the year. No pool parties or plans to go to the beach for us. Maybe some are keeping those traditions. Safe, unsafe, paranoid – who knows? Still, in the midst of the confusion, we have to find ways to celebrate whatever and whenever we can. 

However you are marking the start of summer this year, I can think of no better addition than a cool Key Lime Pie. I like mine super-smooth and tart, with a buttery graham cracker crust. If you’re with me, you’ll love this version.

The recipe that follows is a mash-up of the best Key Lime Pie versions I know. The crust is buttery and not too sweet, using more butter, and less sugar, than most. The filling is the infamous creamy mess that Meryl Streep mashed onto Jack Nicholson’s face in Heartburn, the movie based on Nora Ephron’s novel that was a thiny-veiled glimpse into her train-wreck of a marriage to Carl Bernstein. (My favorite, by the way.) And the topping is a sweeter-than-usual whipped cream that fully balances the toasty crust and tart filling.

Happy summer, whatever that looks like!

Dreamy Key Lime Pie


2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
6 egg yolks
2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice (you could also use bottled)
1 tablespoon finely grated key lime zest (use regular limes if you can’t find key limes), plus extra for garnish
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla

Recipe directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the crust, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press the crumbly mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks on high speed for about 5 minutes, until they are thick and pale. Add the condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest, and beat on medium until combined. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla for about 3 minutes, until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the pie, leaving a little bit of an edge so that you can see the lime filling. Sprinkle some lime zest over the top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing.

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