Key West Key Lime Pie

key lime pie 2For years, I’ve been spending late January in the Florida Keys, and during those years, I’ve indulged in a quest to find the perfect Key Lime Pie. (And thanks to this quest and a few others, I’ll never find my way into my “skinny” jeans, again…) Ahh, to quote Wynonna Judd–I’m so much more than the size of my jeans…

There are so many twists and variations, from the frozen bars covered in chocolate at the Blonde Giraffe, Kenny Chesney’s favorite at Blue Heaven, and a truly decadent version at the Hot Tin Roof.

I’ve made friends with a few of the chefs in Key West and the following is a combination of three of my favorite recipes. The crust from one, the coconut topping from another and the filling from a third.

Hope you enjoy, and I hope you have an opportunity to take a Key Lime Pie tour of Key West sometime soon! Let me know how you like this version!



4 large egg yolks
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons grated Key Lime zest
1/3 cup Key Lime juice
Dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 whole graham crackers, broken
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 cup salted cashews (may substitute macadamia nuts)

Coconut Whipped Cream:
1 1/2 cups very cold whipping cream
1/4 cup Coco Lopez
2 heaping tablespoons sifted powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup swettened coconut, tightly toasted for topping

For pie:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine yolks, zest, milk, juice and vanilla in bowl and whisk for about 2 minutes. Mixture will become smooth and will thicken slightly. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes.

For crust:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine graham crackers, cashews and brown sugar in food processor and process to fine crumbs, add melted butter until mixture just comes together. Press onto the bottom and sides of a greased 9-inch pie dish. Place on baking sheet and bake until lightly golden brown (about 10 minutes). Remove from oven arand set aside until filling has finished setting.

Pour thickened filling into warm crust and return to the oven. Bake at 325 degrees F until the center of filling is firm, but jiggles slightly when shaken (about 15 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature (about 1 hour), then cover the surface and refrigerate until chilled and set (about 3 hours).

For whipping cream:
Combine whipping cream, Coco Lopez, powdered sugar and vanilla bean paste in bowl for stand mixer set with whisk attachments. Whip until soft peaks form.

When ready to serve, top filling with whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Additional garnish of lime twists add a festive appearance.

key lime pie

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