Key Lime Pie

Many moons ago, while having dinner at my brother-in-law’s restaurant, I was treated to his Key Lime Pie. I was instantly in love. Smooth, frozen, not too sweet, limey puckering goodness.

I begged for this recipe. It was one of those things that you just had to re-create at home … and I have, many, many times over the years, mostly at my son Tommy’s request.

I made this for him the night before he moved to New Zealand … sigh, that child is sorely missed … and had most of the blog post written, but was very dissatisfied with the resulting photos of the finished pie. Not my fault. Sometimes it’s very hard to make something you are about to put on the table … NO. I WANT TO CUT IT NOW. I CAN’T WAIT! Such was the case with the Key Lime Pie.

Communications with my chickadee is difficult … busy schedules, massive time difference, and boy children are uncommunicative under the best of circumstances.

Suddenly on Facebook a note pops up … ‘Mom, I want to make your Key Lime Pie. Would you send me the recipe and walk me through it.’ I was quite chuffed. Asking for MY help, wanting to recreate something that brings him fond (and missed) memories of home, a chance to spend some (although virtual) time with my boy, his curiosity and desire to be in the kitchen, take your pick. They were all good and plucked at my heartstrings.

So, off the recipe went through the internet. It’s a pretty simple recipe, but as a newcomer to the kitchen, the task was a bit daunting. Many emails went back and forth with questions. Three Skype sessions for further clarification.

Truthfully, when I began to cook, after I had left home, I had NO CLUE whatsoever about recipes, pots and pans, spices, herbs. I had ONE cookbook, the Joy of Cooking. But, I had my Mom. I spent years in the kitchen, listening to her cook, smelling how things came together, occasionally watching her cook. I really had no interest in jumping in to cook. When I was first on my own and staring at ingredients with no clue of where to go with them or how to begin, I would call her and ask … “How do I make a pot roast?”, “How do I make beef stew?”, “What about tomato sauce?” And these questions came repeatedly. She must have felt much the same way I do now … I did something right, sparked an interest, traditions of flavor passed on to another generation.

Most of my cooking came straight from my childhood dinner table. My mother is a wonderful cook (though she chronically does not read a new recipe through, and some fabulous recipes have come from those booboos) Her mother was a wonderful cook. My, have I come a long way. Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Grandma.

So off Tommy went into the terrifying place known as the kitchen, armed with this recipe, lots of advice, and the support of three generations of women who have lovingly fed him.

After what seemed like many joyful hours of back and forth … Ta-da! Pie done. Great feelings of accomplishment from his end … and mine. The culinary torch is being passed on. The pie was great. Gone in a sitting.

Thanks for the lend of the great pie photo, little one. I’m proud of your success and applaud your adventurous spirit!


  • 1 section of graham crackers, crushed
  • 2 oz butter, melted


  • Juice of 6 limes, plus zest
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk

NOTE: I use regular limes, so I don’t have an exact liquid amount for subbing in key limes. They’re very difficult to come by in my neck of the woods, and using bottled is OUT.OF.THE.QUESTION!

Mix butter and crushed graham crackers. Use just enough butter so the crumbs hold together. Press crumb mixture into a 9″ pie plate to form crust. Freeze.

NOTE: You may need a little extra melted butter.

In a mixing bowl beat egg yolks until pale yellow.

While beating, slowly add condensed milk so eggs become smooth. Stir in lime juice and zest.

Fill crust with filling and freeze until firm.

NOTE: You can add a piping of whipped cream around the edge or plop dollops of whipped cream in top. In my house, the key lime pie stands alone, naked.

And this is what the pie looked like within MOMENTS!!

And this was gone before morning!

4 Responses

  1. Wow, I would love a call like that next year when my son is off to college. Sorry yours is so far away. That would be very difficult on me and I sure know what you mean about boys not being terribly communicative. Sigh. This pie sounds and looks really incredible and I am so glad you got some good skyping going back and worth with your boy.

  2. Ok, if you wanted to make me teary, you succeeded. And now I am already missing the grown up version of my 3 year old. Passing recipes through generations, such a tangible example of family love…

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