Frozen Key Lime Pie

He is the fixer in your life.  Whether it’s something you broke (“Sorry about the car”), a bad situation (“Can you come right away?”) or just about any sort of household problem (“Water is everywhere!”), his is the number you speed dial.  Strong, dependable, and ready to rescue you at a moment’s notice, no matter what, Dad is there.

I was blessed with a wonderful father.  He had many noble qualities; but best of all, he was a confidant.  You could literally tell my dad anything and know he’d guard it and keep it to himself.  Later, you would thank him for not telling anyone, and he would say, “About what?”  This was his way of telling you he would keep your secret safe.

Father’s Day is a great time to celebrate all the men in your life.  Dads, husbands, brothers, sons  – now’s your chance to show them how much you appreciate all they do, and how most of the time, they do it without anybody even noticing.  You may not be able to send your men on a well-deserved vacation, but you can fix something great for them.  Take them someplace tropical with a frozen key lime pie and make this special day memorable with something cool and relaxing.

My husband is a huge fan of key lime pie, but I don’t make it all that often because using sweetened, condensed milk makes me cringe.   In spite of this, this is a holiday, so a bit of coloring outside of the lines is allowed.  I decided not to mess with that one ingredient, but I did set out to make the two recipes I found a bit healthy-er.

First, I made the graham cracker crust with a recipe I found on the Chocolate Covered Katie blog.  It uses just graham crackers and your choice of either butter, oil, or milk, combined in the blender to make a crust that needs no baking and comes together quickly.  I used refined coconut oil because of its neutral flavor, and the crust turned out so perfectly that there is zero possibility I will ever be tempted to reach for a store-bought one again.

For the pie, I merged two recipes.  One from Ina Garten, for a Frozen Key Lime Pie, and the other from Southern Living, for a Key “Light” pie.  Ina’s recipe had rave reviews.  It had 6 egg yolks, 1/4 cup of added sugar, and was not baked at all, but simply frozen.  The “Light” pie was also well reviewed.  It used only condensed milk and egg substitute, and was baked.  There were comments about increasing the baking time to get it to set properly, and remarks that the lime zest was a little overzealous.  Hoping to get the best of both worlds, I used pasteurized egg whites, condensed milk, less lime zest, and opted to freeze.  The resulting pie exceeded anything I had expected.  Two key lime pie lovers said it was REALLY good.  My third tester, who can be a hard sell, was equally enthused and he loved it.

You can skip the whipped cream step and use the already-whipped aerosol canister variety, which is so handy I think it deserves its own special place in every refrigerator.  However, wait to garnish your pie until you are ready to serve it.  Ina’s recipe instructed to freeze the pie garnished and ready to serve.  The whipped cream and limes froze and became too hard to eat.  Also, one of my testers said one edge of the limes could be dipped in a little granulated sugar for a nice frozen drink effect.  Why didn’t I think of that?

Frozen Key Lime Pie

For the crust:  

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, or 10 graham cracker sheets
  • 3 tablespoons oil or butter, or 3 tablespoons milk of choice 

In a food processor or blender, process graham crackers into fine crumbles.  Add the milk or oil (or melted butter) and process again to combine.  Pour crumb mixture into a pie pan and press down very firmly with a rubber spatula.  Transfer to freezer and let set while preparing filling.

For the filling:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
  • 3/4 cup liquid egg whites
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest

Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth.  Pour into prepared pie shell and freeze for several hours or overnight.

For the decoration:

  • 1/2 pint cold heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • thin lime slices 

Beat heavy cream on high speed with electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Add sugar and vanilla and beat until firm.  Spoon or pipe decoratively onto pie and garnish with lime.

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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