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      RECIPE TITLE "Nontraditional Key Lime Pie"
    Excerpted from Miami Spice: The New Florida Cuisine by Steven Raichlen and Robin Zingone Copyright (c) by Steven Raichlen.

    ... more great recipes from Steven Raichlen on our GREAT CHEFS page!

    yieldsSERVES 8 TO 10  time---difficultyeasy to moderate

    Whipped cream or meringue? The question is hotly debated whenever the subject of key lime pie comes up. For example, I prefer meringue, while my wife, Barbara, favors whipped cream. So, this recipe offers both possibilities. Traditional key lime pie recipes call for the filling ingredients to be beaten but not cooked. Nowadays for safety's sake, we're better off cooking eggs rather than serving them raw.

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    CRUST:

    • 1 1/4 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
    • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) melted and unsalted butter

    FILLING:

    • 3 egg yolks
    • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh key lime juice, or 5 tablespoons each regular lime juice and fresh lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest, preferably from key limes

    MERINGUE TOPPING:

    • 3 egg whites
    • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

    WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING:

    • 1 cup heavy (or whipping) cream
    • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest, preferably from key limes

      RECIPE METHOD

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    2. Prepare the crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter in a mixing bowl and mix to form a crumbly dough. Press the mixture into an 8-inch pie pan. Bake the crust for 5 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven, but leave the oven on.

    3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Combine the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk in a mixing bowl and beat with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the lime juice and zest.

    4. Pour the mixture into the crust. Bake the pie for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the filling is set and an inserted skewer comes out clean and hot to the touch. Remove the pie from the oven. If choosing the meringue topping, increase the temperature to 400 F and proceed with Step 5. If choosing the whipped cream topping, turn off the oven, set the pie on a rack to cool room temperature, and skip to Step 6.

    5. Prepare the meringue: Beat the egg whites to soft peaks with a mixer, starting on low speed, gradually increasing the speed to high, and adding the cream of tartar after 20 seconds. Beat in the sugar in a thin stream and continue beating until the whites are glossy and firm, but not dry. Spread or pipe the meringue on top of the pie. Bake the pie until the meringue is nicely browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Let the pie cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 4 hours before serving.

    6. Prepare the whipped cream topping: Place the cream in a chilled bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and lime zest and beat the cream until stiff. Spread or pipe the whipped cream on top of the pie. Refrigerate, uncovered, until serving. For the best results, serve within 1 hour of adding the whipped cream.


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