Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Key Lime Mini Pies

In celebration of Mother's Day on Sunday, we had a large family cookout at my parent's house. My mom asked me to make her Key Lime Pie recipe, originally from the PierHouse restaurant in Key West.  She has had this recipe as long as I can remember, and it is by far my favorite Key Lime Pie, perfect for those warm summer nights. However, in true FTH form, I tweaked the recipe to make MINI Key Lime Pies, and I have to tell you, I was thrilled with the results! Here's how to do it:

Get a 12-count muffin tin and line the tin with paper baking cups. I try not to use the foil ones, as they sometimes continue to cook the dough inside after removing from the oven.

Next, prepare the Graham cracker crust with the following ingredients:
2 cups graham cracker cookies (crushed) or 2 cups of boxed crushed graham cracker crust (HoneyMaid)
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted

Combine all the ingredients until well blended.

Next, I filled each baking cup with one heaping Tablespoon of the graham cracker crust mixture. You may have a little bit left over, but just set aside until the next step.

Using your fingers, press the crust mixture into each cup, getting it evenly distributed on the bottom, and 3/4 of the way up the sides of the baking cup. This will actually help the baking cups sit down into the pan, and make sure the crust is evenly distributed. Use some leftover crust mixture to even out the sides of each baking cup. 

Place pans into the refrigerator to chill until pie filling is ready.

For the filling:
4 eggs separated (only the yolks will be used)
1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup key lime or Persian lime juice (we like the Aunt Nellie's brand of key lime juice, but if you can't find it at your local grocery, regular bottled lime juice will do). Or if you have some extra time,  squeeze juice from fresh limes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the egg yolks into a bowl and using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg yolks on high until thick and light in color.

Next, add the sweetened condensed milk, and mix on low speed. 

While keeping the mixer on slow speed, add half the lime juice and cream of tartar.

Once that is mixed in well, add the remaining lime juice and mix until well blended. It should be thick and creamy!

Remove the crusts from the fridge, and using a small soup spoon or ladle, pour the pie mixture into the crusts. 

Be sure to fill them up to the top of the crust, as they will condense a bit after baking. 

Bake for 10-15 minutes (mine took about 15-16 minutes, but I checked them often) until the middles are firm. Remove from the oven, and chill in the refrigerator for about 1-3 hours.

Right before you are about to serve them, remove them from the fridge and top with light whipped cream and a lime slice for a pretty presentation!

These got rave reviews, mostly because the crust was thick and it was the perfect size dessert. If you notice in pictures, I actually made 24 mini pies, so I simply doubled the recipe above. And if you want to make a regular Key Lime pie, it is the same recipe and cooking instructions, just simply add the pie crust to a 9" pie pan. Here's to summer baking!!

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