Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Luscious Lime Pie

I love limes. I love the smell, the colour, the taste... heck, I even love the NAME. Lime... it just sounds cool.

Oddly enough, though, I haven't made many lime desserts or even tasted many, for that matter. In fact, I think that before I made this lime pie, I'd had Key Lime pie maybe once. So, other than my coconut lime cupcakes, I don't really have that much experience using limes in baking.

So, when I decided to bake my Luscious Lime Pie using Martha Stewart's Key Lime Pie and Anna Olson's Rhubarb Tart recipes as inspiration, I was painfully aware that I really had no idea what I was doing.

Needless to say, I was very relieved when the crust and filling looked like the pictures and tasted really great. The texture of the crust contrasted nicely with that of the filling and wasn't too rich or heavy. The filling is incredibly smooth and light, making this a great choice for a summer dessert. I'm sure that you can imagine my disappoinment when I bungled the candied lime slices.

Here's what happened: I had boiled my simple syrup and added my lime slices, and was turning them every few minutes as they bubbled away in their syrupy goodness. But about 30 minutes into the process, I heard the dryer go off upstairs and asked Rayzor to keep an eye on the pot.

Now, Rayzor is a GREAT cook, but he's not a baker and doesn't pretend to be. So he asked me point blank what he had to do and what he should be watching for. My instructions were, "Don't worry - unless the pot boils over, it'll be fine. Just stir it now and again."

I popped upstairs, unloaded the laundry, and then came back to see my beautiful lime slices bloated with the now burned and bitter syrup mixture. Instead of boiling over as I blindly predicted, the syrup had boiled down to nothing, thus burning the limes. As I'm sure you have guessed, they didn't taste very good and didn't look any better. Still, I used them to garnish the pie, which thankfully, did not affect the taste.

Luckily, I did get a chance to redeem myself in the candied lime department.

The graham cracker crust recipe that I used yielded two pie crusts, so I froze the other one for another baking adventure. Rayzor asked me on Monday if I'd be willing to bake up another lime pie for a bake sale he was having at work today, and I agreed. As before, the filling turned out great so I had to then turn my attention to the dreaded candied limes.

This time, however, the lime slices turned out very nicely, and I happily took some photos of the "good" candied lime slices to balance out the crappy ones (photos 2 & 4).

All in all, the making of this pie was certainly not without it's bumbles, but in the end, I learned some valuable baking lessons (don't leave making candied lime slices in the hands of your boyfriend!). If you're looking for a great dessert to bring along to a summer barbeque, then look no further - if made properly, this luscious lime pie will ensure that you're the coolest at the cook-out.

The ingredients:
The slightly charred, candied lime garnish (2):
Perfect candied limes:

Slice of the first pie with whipped cream - too bad it didn't look as good as it tasted! (4):

Luscious Lime Pie

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar and stir in melted butter until the mixture comes together in an even crumbly texture.
3. Press into a 9-inch (23 cm) square fluted tart pan and bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
4 large egg YOLKS
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 tsps. grated lime zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 6 limes)
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat yolks on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 - 3 minutes.
3. Add condensed milk, lime zest, lime juice and salt, and beat to combine, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Pour filling into cooled graham cracker crust; bake until set, between 10 - 15 minutes.
5. Allow pie to cool. Once completely cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least one hour, but overnight is best.

Candied Lime Slices
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 limes, very thinly sliced into rounds

1. In a 10-inch saute pan, bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
2. Add lime slices in a single layer, arranging them so they do not overlap.
3. Cook until the white pith is translucent, between 30 - 40 minutes, turning the slices two or three times during cooking.
4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer slices to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to cool completely before using.
5. When ready to serve, garnish the pie with the candied lime slices.

Whipped Cream:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsps. icing sugar

1. When ready to serve the pie, combine cream and icing sugar in an electic mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Serve the whipped cream on the side.


How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Okay, this looks really great! I've gotten so many great recipe suggestions it's getting hard to choose! LOL! :) :)

Alanna said...

If you add coconut to the pie crust, you will not be disappointed! I use 3c. of graham, 1c. of sweetened coconut and 3/4c. butter. I also bake the pie in a springform pan...It's more dramatic for presentation :)