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Key Lime Pie - Pie de Limon


Key Lime Pie - Pie de Limon

Key Lime Pie

Marian Blazes
The famous key lime pie from Florida is traditionally made with condensed milk, a graham cracker crust, and topped with whipped cream. In South America, the best key lime pie ("pie de limón") is prepared like a lemon meringue pie, using tart South American limes rather than lemons, and piled high with a meringue topping. The crust is prepared with vanilla cracker crumbs instead of graham crackers.

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



  1. 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.
  2. Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate, covering the bottom and pressing the crumbs up the side.
  3. Bake the crust in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and let cool.
  4. Sprinkle the gelatin over 3 tablespoons of water in a small cup. Let rest 5 minutes.
  5. Microwave gelatin mixture for about 10-15 seconds, just until gelatin is dissolved. Set aside.
  6. 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.
  7. In a heavy pot, bring the lime juice, butter, and a pinch of salt to a boil.
  8. 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.
  9. Transfer all of the mixture back into the pot and place on medium heat.
  10. 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.
  11. Remove from heat and stir the dissolved gelatin into hot pie filling. Pour the  filling into the pie crust and chill.
  12. To make the italian meringue topping, place the reserved 4 egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Continue to beat meringue for 3-4 more minutes while it cools.
  16. Mound meringue on top of the pie filling, and swirl decoratively with a spoon.
  17. 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.
  18. Chill pie thoroughly before serving.


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