Key Lime Pie with Meringue Whipped Cream
Fifteen years ago, I found a recipe for Key Lime Pie with Meringue Whipped Cream in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine, and I’ve been making it ever since. It instantly became a holiday tradition, I make it almost any time I find key limes at the store. The contrast of the creamy, rich key lime filling over that buttery graham cracker crust, is so fabulous. What makes this pie extra special, however, is the meringue whipped cream topping. Fresh whipped cream is folded into meringue for a topping that’s nothing short of heavenly! 🙂
The funny thing about this recipe is, the first time I saw it, I scoffed at juicing a whole bag of little key limes. I thought that was crazy! I went ahead and used bottled lime juice and served it to my in-laws. The horror! 😯 We all thought it was great. What did we know? We’d never tried key lime pie with fresh lime juice before! Years later I found some key limes and I thought I’d try using fresh. The difference in taste was unbeatable! I won’t use bottled lime juice any longer…the flavor is too concentrated. I’ve used fresh lemons in place of the limes when I can’t find key limes, and that’s better than bottled lime juice! I call it “key lemon pie”, and you really can’t tell the difference a whole bunch. It helps to have a Plan B in a pinch! 😀
The crust and filling are extremely simple to prepare. You just need to allot yourself enough time for the meringue whipped cream topping to set, as it takes several hours. You can always make the pie in advance, and do the topping the next day, or make the whole thing in advance. We don’t want to stress over whether that meringue whipped cream topping is set or not! 😉 As I said, the meringue whipped cream is fabulous, but if you want key lime pie without the extra steps, it’s great with fresh whipped cream, too.
I’d be surprised if you make this pie and you’re not instantly hooked! It’s so citrus-y and creamy, with that fluffy, cloud of topping. Everyone’s going to love this, and it’s easy, too. Pies don’t have to be complicated. They just have to be good! 🙂
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Pie Filling:
- (1) 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup fresh key lime juice, strained with a fine mesh strainer
- 1 tablespoon key lime zest
- Meringue Whipped Cream:
- 3 egg whites
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- (1) key lime, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a pie pan generously with cooking spray.
- Prepare the crust:
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, pinch of salt, and melted butter in a small bowl. Pour into the prepared pie pan, and press the crust in an even layer into the bottom, then up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool slightly on a wire rack.
- Prepare the filling:
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice, and zest. Pour the filling into the pie crust, and spread evenly. Bake for 15 minutes, or until set. Cool completely on wire rack.
- Prepare the meringue whipped cream:
- Place the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Be sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the meringue is foamy, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pot of water and place on the counter. Beat the meringue with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently whisk ⅓ of the cream into the meringue, then fold in the remaining cream. Pour the topping over the pie, and spread to the edges. Chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with the remaining key lime using the zest, or with little slices.
Total time includes chilling the pie so the meringue whipped cream can set. If you're pressed for time, top the pie with fresh whipped cream instead. It's still great!
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Key Lime Pie