The Key to Greatness

Greetings from South Beach, Miami Florida

Actually I'm back in Seattle, the weather is a little cooler and the skies look like they may get all cranky and start to rain.  It's good to be home!

We spent this week visiting my Father in Law in Miami Beach.  It was a fun week, though crazy hot. Grandpa took the girls to Miami Seaquarium, the Science Museum (which sounds nerdy, and it is, but in a cool way), an airboat ride through the Everglades, and a visit to an Alligator farm.  Poor Morgan got selected from the crowd to go up front and hold a snake.  She hates snakes but is a good sport. They draped a python around her neck, it was probably 6-8 feet in length. It was a hands free event, as in, her hands were flapping in the air while the snake sort of hung there. So I guess you could say she really didn't hold the thing after all. Afterwards there was a ceremonial washing with hand sanitizer of every place the snake may have touched because "You never know if snake juice soaks in or not". 

One day was also spent at the University of Miami. We have started the dreaded college tours with our eldest. I really wanted to hate the place and the people. Sadly, they were wonderful and gracious hosts, the tour was fun and informative and at the end even I wanted to enroll there.  We also met with the Director of International Student Admissions. We were able to get a lot of our questions answered about how to apply to universities, financial aid etc.  It's a whole different ball game when you are applying to colleges in the USA from Africa......

At the end of the day though none of it mattered as I firmly decided that I will be homeschooling the kid for university.

One place I really love in Miami is Robert is Here. Robert's fruit stand started in 1959, his dad set him on the street corner with cucumbers from the family garden and a sign that read Robert is Here. I'm not sure who consulted on the marketing and branding plan but it worked. He was sold out by noon and his empire was born! His fruit stand sells super yummy key lime milkshakes too, you know if you've had your fill of fresh fruit and whatnot.  I wasn't able to make it to Robert's this trip, I was sidelined by food poisoning, but my hero of a husband bought me some key limes. And while they don't quite make up for the fact that I missed out on the key lime shakes, I'm excited to make a Key Lime Pie.

I was all set with the recipe that I wanted to use until I saw the cover of the August Bon Appetit magazine. So now I guess I have to make 2 pies. One regular Key Lime Pie and then the cover recipe, Lime and Blackberry Italian Meringue Pie.  I'll post my findings here and may the best pie win.

Pie Number One
Traditional Key Lime Pie
adapted from Kermit's Key West

For the Filling:
2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
6 egg yolks, the egg whites can be saved to make a meringue topping, if desired. See cooks note.
3/4-cup fresh squeezed Key Lime Juice, see cooks note
1 tablespoon of finely grated lime peel
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs, approximately 12 whole graham crackers
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons melted and cooled butter
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Whipped Cream Topping:
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium size mixing bowl blend together the egg yolks and lime zest. Whisk until the yolks are colored a light green. Add the sweetened condensed milk, the lime juice, stir until smooth and then set aside to thicken.

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon until well blended. Press evenly and firmly into a greased 9 inch pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes then set aside to cool completely.

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and then bake for 15 minutes until the center is set but still jiggly. Cool pie 20 minutes and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Before serving beat whipping cream in medium mixing bowl to soft peaks. Add powdered sugar then beat again until just stiff peaks form. Spread cream over top of pie or pipe decoratively and serve.

Cooks Note: 

*Traditionally, Key Lime pie is enjoyed with a whipped cream, or a meringue topping. If you choose to top your pie with a meringue, cook the pie for 7 minutes then remove the pie and gently spoon over the meringue covering the pie evenly. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.

*Using bottle reconstituted lime juice will give the pie an off, bitter taste. It is not recommended that bottled juice be used in making this pie. If you don't have access to Key Limes, use regular Persian Limes.

*The high acid content of limes thickens and sets the pie by causing the proteins in the sweetened condensed milk and the egg yolks to coil and bond without the use of heat to cook them. And while the pie will set without baking, baking sets the pie a little firmer and makes for a nicer slice.

1 comment:

  1. I'll post my findings too :) The traditional Key Lime wins! It was close, but I'm a sucker for graham cracker crusts. The meringue was unbelievable; truth be told, this is the first time I've even enjoyed meringue. Delicious! I just wish I lived with in cooking distance of you. I hate that it will be another 10 months before I get to sample your baked goods again.