Thanksgiving key lime pie

Key lime pie is a Thanksgiving classic.

By , In Praise of Leftovers

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    Key lime pie.
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You know – the classic Thanksgiving dessert – key lime pie? This pie has saved me a million times. It is too easy to even talk about. Going on and on, trying to convince you of its simplicity, would be more complicated than you just getting out a can of sweetened condensed milk and making it already.

I made a Thanksgiving dinner for our foursome last night, which is a newish tradition I’ve inflicted on myself. We are always (thankfully) with large, rowdy groups on Thanksgiving, and I’m part of the potluck like everyone else, bringing salad, rolls, sometimes dessert or appetizers. But because of travel, never the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, or yams. Yancey will be working at the station this Thanksgiving, so I wanted to have a little celebration together before the ol’ Divide and Conquer sets in. I had planned on not making a dessert, but just couldn’t go through with Thanksgiving dinner without pie.

Enter Key Lime Pie. 20 minutes, plus some chill time in the fridge, and just the thing to brighten a dark day. Wyatt juiced limes, I whizzed graham crackers in the food processor, and my trusty pantry supplied sweetened condensed milk.

After dinner, full of blistered brussel sprouts, a classic sausage and apple stuffing, and very buttery mashed potatoes, we cut the pie. I’m not accustomed to eating when I am so full. It’s that bloated, strangely comforting”It must be Thanksgiving” feeling. I won’t wish you “Happy Thanksgiving” yet, because I plan on posting again before then. There are too many things to be thankful for – they get their own airtime.

Key Lime Pie
Adapted from Gourmet. Of course, my version doesn’t have key limes in it. I used Persian (regular) limes like I always have.

For crust:
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from nine standard size crackers, or one of the 3 pkgs in the box)
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For filling:
1 14 ounces can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

For topping:
3/4 cups very cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
Zest from 1/2 lime

Make the crust: Put a rack in the middle of hte oven and preheat to 350. Butter a 9″ pie plate.

Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until well-combined. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 way up sides of pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes, take out of the oven, and leave the oven on.

Make the filling and bake the pie: Whisk together condensed milk and yolks in a bowl until well-combined. Add juice and whisk well (filling will thicken slightly). Pour filling into crust and bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely and put into the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Just before serving, whip the cream and sugar together until it just holds stiff peaks. Spread pie with cream or top each serving with a dallop and a bit of lime zest.

Note: If you want to make this ahead of time (1 or 2 days), don’t put the cream on it. Do that right before you serve it.

Sarah Murphy-Kangas blogs at In Praise of Leftovers.

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