Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- For the crust:
- 1 packet graham crackers (about 9) plus 15 vanilla wafers (or all vanilla cookies) to make 2 cups of crumbs
- 8 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- For the filling:
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice (or substitute Mexican limes)
- 14 tablespoons butter
- 4 eggs, plus 3 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin
- For the meringue topping:
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Prepare the crust: process the cookies in a food processor or crush them with a rolling pin to make fine crumbs. Mix the crumbs with the 8 tablespoons of melted butter, a pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons sugar.
- Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate, covering the bottom and pressing the crumbs up the side.
- Bake the crust in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and let cool.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over 3 tablespoons of water in a small cup. Let rest 5 minutes.
- Microwave gelatin mixture for about 10-15 seconds, just until gelatin is dissolved. Set aside.
- Place the 4 eggs and the 4 separated egg yolks (reserve whites for later use) in a heatproof bowl. Add the sugar to the eggs and beat until eggs turn pale yellow and the sugar is dissolved.
- In a heavy pot, bring the lime juice, butter, and a pinch of salt to a boil.
- Once the butter and lime juice are boiling, remove them from the heat and slowly add the hot liquid into the egg mixture, whisking continuously.
- Transfer all of the mixture back into the pot and place on medium heat.
- Whisk the mixture steadily while it heats to prevent it from sticking and burning. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and turns translucent, about 4-6 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir the dissolved gelatin into hot pie filling. Pour the filling into the pie crust and chill.
- To make the italian meringue topping, place the reserved 4 egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer.
- In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until boiling. Boil for 4 minutes without stirring, until sugar mixture starts to thicken and form slow bubbles (or reaches 245 degrees (F) on a candy thermometer. Turn off heat.
- Turn the mixer on and begin to beat the egg whites. Once the egg whites start to form fairly stiff peaks, add tthe hot sugar syrup in a steady stream, pouring it down the side of the mixer bowl, while still beating the egg whites.
- Continue to beat meringue for 3-4 more minutes while it cools.
- Mound meringue on top of the pie filling, and swirl decoratively with a spoon.
- Heat broiler. Place pie in the oven for a few minutes to brown the meringue topping, watching carefully and checking often so that it doesn't burn.
- Chill pie thoroughly before serving.