Today: Beat the winter blues with a blast of bright, sunny citrus.
In New York, we are experiencing weather the forecasters describe as a “wintry mix.” What that really means is that there is slush falling from the sky making sidewalks slippery -- and the sky is looking decidedly gray. It’s not exactly my favorite weather, but the chilly temperatures are a good excuse to eat lots of delicious, slow-braised foods and sunny citrus-flavored things. There are a ton of fancy citrus fruits this time of year that I love cooking with, but sometimes a classic recipe is the best choice for comfort baking.
This Key Lime Pie from Cook’s Illustrated is a winter favorite. The crust is an easy, press-in-the-pan sort of thing made from crushed graham crackers, butter, and sugar. The filling is just 4 ingredients, puckery from a healthy dose of lime juice and zest and undeniably rich and creamy thanks to the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. I like to top the pie with a sweep of unsweetened whipped cream, but feel free to sweeten it a bit with sugar if that’s more your style. Oh, and even though this pie is calls for key limes, it’s also great with regular ol’ grocery store limes or lemons.
Makes one 9-inch pie
For the filling:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lime juice
4 teaspoons lime zest
4 large egg yolks
1 pinch salt
Thoroughly whisk all of the filling ingredients together, and set aside to thicken while you prepare the crust.
For the crust:
11 graham crackers or about 1 1/4 cups crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pinch salt
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Process the graham crackers in a food processor to fine crumbs. Add the sugar and salt, and pulse to combine. Last, add in the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand.
Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie dish (metal works best here) evenly on the bottom and up the sides. I like to use a dry measuring cup to help this along. Bake the crust until it is light golden brown and fragrant, about 10-12 minutes.
Cool the crust slightly, then give the prepared filling a final mix, and pour it into the pie pan. Turn the oven down to 325º F, and bake the pie until just set, but slightly wiggly in the center, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool the pie to room temperature, then set it in the fridge to chill completely, at least 3 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, whip the cream to soft peaks, and spread it on top of the pie.
Photos by Yossy Arefi