The Lexingtonienne



My general practitioner, Dr. Law, is the greatest. She always runs on time, she always remembers our small talk from the last visit (she must take notes), and she’s really pretty.

One time, several years ago, I had this strange red rash all over my fingers on my right hand. It didn’t itch and it didn’t hurt, but it looked weird and people were starting to notice. When it didn’t go away after a week or so, I finally went to see Dr. Law.

She looked at my rashy-fingered hand for a while, asked some questions that led us nowhere, and finally said, “I really don’t know.” She said to put some cortisone cream on it and call her if it didn’t improve after another week.

As she turned to leave, she stopped. “Unless… did you have lime juice on your hand and then go in the sun?”

The question was so random, so specific, and so unexpected, I had to think for a moment. Then I remembered.

“YES. I made a Key lime pie last week. I squeezed the juice out of all those tiny Key limes with my right hand [because I am right-handed], put the pie in the oven, and sat outside in the sun to eat lunch with Mike.”

“There you go, then,” she said, assuring me the weird rash would fade away. And it did. I always really liked Dr. Law before that, but the Key lime incident sealed the deal for me: this lady is GOOD.

So as Fourth of July weekend approaches and you’re wanting to bring a summery, non-flag-cake dessert to the barbecue, here is a really delicious recipe for Key lime pie. And I have to tell you or we would not be true friends, after several years of making it, I finally discovered this stuff…

… which not only makes things go faster and tastes just as good as freshly squeezed Key lime juice, but also it won’t ruin your nails. If you can’t find the bottled juice, you can certainly squeeze your own Key limes… just don’t do it right after you’ve gotten a manicure, and whatever you do… stay out of the sun immediately afterwards.

From The Joy of Cooking

1 1/4 C fine crumbs made from graham crackers or chocolate wafers
5 T butter, melted
3 T sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix ingredients together with a fork until moistened. Spread the mixture evenly in a greased 9-inch pie pan. Using your fingers, press the mixture over the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan. Bake until the crust is lightly browned and firm to the touch (or with chocolate wafers, since it’s darkly brown to start with, until your kitchen smells chocolatey), about 10-15 minutes.

I like to make a chocolate wafer crust because when I was about 13 years old and would go on vacation with my friend Mary Beth (you know, she has the joggling board), she ordered Key lime pie for dessert at every restaurant where we dined. It was an extra special treat if the restaurant served their Key lime pie with a chocolate cookie crust. Plus I like to garnish with raspberries, and everybody knows chocolate and raspberries are married to each other.

One 15-oz can sweetened condensed milk (I use a 14-oz can because it’s what they sell)
4 large egg yolks
1/2 C strained fresh lime juice (hehe)
3-4 t grated lime zest*

Set oven to 325. Whisk ingredients together until well blended. The mixture will thicken as the milk reacts with the acidic citrus juice. Pour the filling into the still-warm pie crust. Bake until the center looks set but still quivery, like gelatin, when the pan is nudged, 15-17 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack, then refrigerate until cold for up to 1 day.

Shortly before serving, whip  until thickened:
3/4 C cold heavy cream

1/4 C sugar  (Says Joy. I say less – like a tablespoon or two.)
1/2 t vanilla extract

Whip until stiff peaks form. Spread over the pie or spoon a dollop onto each slice. Serve with fresh raspberries and be very, very happy.

*A word about zesting. Remember that a Microplane grater is your frenemy in the kitchen. It works beautifully, but it won’t hesitate to grate your fingertip if you’re not careful. It’s like one of those capuchin monkeys people get as pets. One day it’s eating a banana and wearing a dress and looking all innocent, the next day it’s hurling poop at you and eating your face off. Now you see why your parents wouldn’t let you have a monkey? Anyway, be careful when zesting those limes.

Enjoy being the hit of the Independence Day potluck!


  • Comment by Maggie Duffy — June 29, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

    Tell Mike that is why he wasn’t allowed to have a monkey…..I saved his face!!!… the blog and you!

  • Comment by Joy Glass @ A Glass Act — June 30, 2010 @ 5:37 am

    I love new recipes and the step by step tutorial! Thanks so much!

  • Comment by Shae — June 30, 2010 @ 7:13 am

    I wish I was there to eat your delicious pie… or you were here to make it for me – your Key Lime Pie is THE best. Either way, I really wish I was with you… xxo

  • Comment by Loretta — June 30, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

    Yum! I am totally trying this one…

  • Pingback by Happy Fourth of July Weekend! - The Lexingtonienne — July 2, 2010 @ 11:08 am

    […] Fourth. And I hope you enjoy several cold beers, some potato salad, a rocket pop or five, and some Key lime pie. Actually that’s what I hope I get, and I ran my butt up and down the Culver City steps twice […]

  • Comment by Gloria — June 29, 2018 @ 2:09 pm

    This is my new favorite key lime pie recipe!
    It was very easy to make and delicious.

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