|These are Persian limes. Use only for the garnish!|
Each year there is a contest to determine the "best" key lime pie recipe. The ingredients are pretty standard, so it's always interesting to see what is done to distinguish the various renditions. Even though it's not a consistent award-winner, my favorite has always been the version served up at Pepe's Cafe, billed as Key West's "eldest eating house in the Florida Keys ... a fairly good place, for quite a long while ... open under old management", over by the Bight.
They're very generous about sharing the recipe (in fact, it's right there on their website), so I'm giving away no secrets by posting it here --just annotating with a few tips. The surprise note of cinnamon in the crust and the fact that they whip the egg whites before folding them into the filling set this recipe apart. The airiness of the egg whites give it a texture that compliments the delicate sweet-to-tangy balance, rendering it all "just so". Heavenly.
In a mood to try it yourself? Begin by setting your oven at 325 degrees, and while it's heating up, make the graham cracker crust:
Pulse in a food processer enough really fresh graham crackers to make a cup and a half of crumbs. Add 1/3 cup of melted unsalted butter, 1/4 cup of sugar, and one teaspoon of cinnamon. Continue pulsing until all ingredients are nicely blended. Press into an 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Bake it about 10 minutes on the middle rack of your oven, then remove to cool completely.
Then, make the filling:
Separate two eggs, reserving the yolks for later. Whip them on high in your stand mixer with paddle attachment until they are stiff. If you have a hand mixer, no worries; it'll just take a bit longer to achieve the same volume. Set aside.
|Mmmm mmmm mmmm ....|