REAL Key Lime Pie..Without Sweetened Condensed Milk!
Posted: 03 August 2009 11:27 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi, I’m new here and was wondering if anyone has a recipe for the original Key Lime Pie from Key West,  Fla. that DOESN’T use sweetened condensed milk?  I googled it and only came up with 1 very ordinary looking cooked filling flavored with key lime juice.  It can’t be that easy can it ?  And if anyone has made it before, is it really a lot better?  I saw an episode on Dexter awhile back, and someone on their “death bed” was wanting a piece of REAL Key Lime Pie “without that sweet stuff in it”..!
Anybody???

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Posted: 04 August 2009 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It is my understanding that the use of sweetened condensed milk is not an aberration, but actually one of the distinguishing features of authentic key lime pie! That screenwriter was wrong.

I have read this many places, but here is the history in a nutshell from a Florida Keys website:
Because of the Florida Keys isolation before the railroad was opened in 1912, fresh milk was hard to come by. So Gail Borden?s invention of sweetened condensed (canned) milk in 1859 came in handy. It also meant that you could make a custard pie without the necessity of cooking it. The Key lime juice by itself was enough to curdle the condensed milk and egg yolks. No one knows who made the first one. They were probably made with pie crusts at first, but soon the Graham cracker crust became the standard.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think that a custard pie made with a cornstarch-thickened filling (i.e. like FRESHKID linked to) would taste fabulous with key limes. And my mother makes a pretty killer (if a bit puckery!) lemon-lime meringue pie, so I know lime juice is great in that type of pie, too (most lemon pie fillings use egg yolks, cornstarch, butter and sugar, but not milk). I bet you could even make a creamy key lime pudding pie. But the “traditional” key lime pie really does use canned milk.

I think it is important to use key limes and not persian limes if you can help it. You might need to add more sugar if you use Persian limes, but the tropical key lime has a distinctive flavor that to me, is really the star of key lime pie. I wrote about key lime pie here and there is my own so-basic-I-can-barely-call-it-a-recipe recipe for Key Lime Pie. My brother requests it every year for his birthday.
I have made it with all kinds of scratch pie crusts, but like a graham cracker crust (or one with a not-too-sweet cookie) the best.

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Posted: 04 August 2009 04:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I have seen that, but I wonder if the limes I get in my area (SF Bay Area, California) are different somehow.

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Posted: 05 August 2009 08:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I should probably do a side-by-side comparison of persian vs. key limes. Maybe my answer would be different.

and I can because, totally coincidentally, my husband bought a big bag of key limes home for me from either a latin american or carribean market the same day this was posted!

I will let you all know.

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Posted: 07 September 2009 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I didn’t compare it with other headphone amps
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Posted: 10 September 2009 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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David Lebowitz recently posted a Lime Meringue Tart Recipe as well as this tip about selecting ripe limes. (There is also a great photo of ripe limes.)

Try to find limes that are actually golden-yellow in color when shopping. The dark green limes you see are limes that have been picked unripe then gassed to guard that color. When limes are yellow and ripe, they have a softer flavor, with a hint of citrusy sweetness. Ethnic markets, especially those catering to Asians and Latinos, are great places to look for them. Key Limes, if you can find them, are the classic.

You can see that I addressed Rose’s preference for Persian limes in the comments and asked him about whether he preferred them or Keys :I think it’s hard to say one variety is better, since if you use ripe Persian limes (yellow) the taste will be different than the unripe, green ones. We used to get true Key Limes from someone in San Diego who had a tree. Most were the size of large marbles and while they were incredibly delicious, so few people can get true Key Limes, it’d be hard to recommend that people use them.

Someone else on the thread said that you “MUST” use key limes for key lime pie or the pie won’t thicken (due to the acid content). I just wanted to note that I have made successful pies with persian limes many times, so I don’t think that is true for all recipes (she referred to a “traditional” recipe). I prefer key limes for the flavor.
Out of the (only) 30 or so posts on my site (so far) one of the most popular is my key lime post, and people often get there by searching whether or not they need to use key limes. Given my access to fabulous (golden yellow) key limes at the Latino markets in the Mission district of SF, I am very motivated to get my side-by-side comparison done and posted, but I will need folks to do a tasting, so there is more objectivity. Anyone on board?

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Posted: 10 May 2012 06:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I know this is old, but just came across it and wanted to say it. Please DO try that recipe you found without the condensed milk, it’s so much better, dexter is SO right. Please do, I hate that people haven’t tried that pie, it’s really easy to make and for me so much better. Also, try the crust with less butter, I love buttery crusts, but for this one it only takes off flavor. The result is a harder crust that by itself isnt as good, but it goes better with this key lime pie. Also, do use the meringue, the combination of the three is just spectacular. The downside is that it is a lot easier to eat than the other fattier one, so you can easily finish the whole pie at once, even if it still has a lot of sugar. But well, nothing that can0t be fixed with some self control.

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