Over at Mouthfuls of Heaven, Bells has made a Nigella Lawson recipe for Key Lime pie. Now. Don't get me wrong. What she made looks heavenly and I'd happily dig in for five or six slices of it. But it looks nothing like the key lime pies I've had in the Keys. (It looks more like a kind of citrus souffle, with a crust at the bottom. Yum, but not what I'm used to.)
So, just for fun, and refrence, here's my recipe for key lime pie, that I got in the keys and use fairly regularly.
KEY LIME PIE:
-4 extra large egg yolks
-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
-1/2 cup key lime juice
Beat the egg yolks and condensed milk until creamy. Then mix in key lime juice, and put in fridge until the filling sets like custard. (That's right, no baking.) Top with whipped cream, and dig in.
Traditionally this was made with a short bread crust and merengue topping (to efficiently use up the whites of the eggs used to make the filling, I assume). These days they use whipped cream instead. Up to you. I use whipped cream and make macaroons with the egg whites.
Obviously this stuff is really dense, and super-sweet. Key lime juice is more acidic than regular lime juice, and helps cut the sweetness. If I were making this with regular limes, I'd consider spiking the lime juice with some lemon, to take the edge off the sweetened conensed milk. It helps the filling congeal faster, too.
What happens is, the acid in the juice breaks down the proteins in the condensed milk, a chemical version of what happens when you heat proteins. And so the filling thickens, just like if you were to cook a custard. However, because there're eggs in it, and their raw-ness is up for debate, I (and everyone else, from Keys cooks to the CDC) suggest keeping it in the fridge if you haven't scarfed it up on the spot.
I make this most years for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The hub's family likes citrus flavor in their sweets, and shoving a key lime pie or lemon merengue pie at them gives me time to eat the pumpkin pies before they notice.