As we slog through winter, our spirits long for lazy days in tropical climes … or even Florida (if it’s stopped snowing there, too). But in lieu of actually picking up and going — the prolonged chill is enervating, after all — perhaps just a vicarious trip via the region’s signature dessert, the key lime pie. It sounds exotic, but it’s simple to make.
This is a good time of year to find fresh key limes. They are smaller than a standard lime, and have a distinctly different taste. It’s admittedly a pain to juice them, but the effort is worth it, taste-wise. The next best option is bottled key lime juice. You can use juice from ordinary limes, but this is not a key lime pie. Under no circumstances use any recipe that calls for Jell-O. A related note: Key lime pie has a pale yellow filling; anything bright green should be rejected.
Make or buy a graham-cracker crust. Round up the other ingredients: 3 egg yolks, 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, ⅔ cup key lime juice and 1½ teaspoons lime zest (to avoid shredding my knuckles, I use a standard lime for the zest). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a mixer, beat yolks and zest at high speed until fluffy, about five minutes. Add milk and beat another four minutes. Add lime juice and mix only until combined. Pour into crust and bake for 10 minutes, or until set. Cool, then refrigerate. Before serving, top with sweetened whipped cream. See you at the “beach.”