What Color is Your Key Lime Pie?

Today is National Key Lime Pie Day so of course I made one. It’s chilling in the fridge right now.

My first memories of Key Lime Pie are from the 1970’s when Henry and I first took our two young children on camping trips to the Florida Keys.

After spending a day in the sun at the beach, snorkeling, or fishing, we would sometimes eat out at a restaurant and order Key Lime Pie for desert. The sweet, tart, cold deliciousness of that pie was perfect at the end of a day in the Keys. These pies were yellow, not green, and locally made. And we couldn’t get them any where else back the except in the Florida Keys.

The Key Lime Pie soon became our favorite dessert. It was hard to find and that made it even better. Eventually restaurants north of the Keys started adding Key Lime Pie to their menus. We ordered a piece in a restaurant somewhere and it was green! It wasn’t the cool, creamy yellow pie we were dreaming about. I don’t think any one ate it.

After that dessert disaster, whenever we would go to a restaurant with Key Lime Pie on the menu, our daughter would ask “What color is your Key Lime Pie?” If the answer was “green” she would order ice cream.

Somewhere along the line I discovered I could buy bottles of the Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice in the Keys so each trip I would bring back several bottles to make my own pies.

These days, I can buy the bottles in any grocery store near me. The recipe is on the bottle, and here it is:

  • 1 9″ graham cracker pie crust
  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 egg yolks, whites not used
  • 1/2 cup Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice
  • Combine milk, egg yolks and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating. Just before serving, top with freshly whipped cream, or meringue, and garnish with lime slices.

There are many variations on this basic recipe. I like to add some lime zest to the lime juice mixture.

Key Lime Pie