Although it was only four days long in the U.S., this work week has been exhausting. Many friends are in school or have children in school. I was pleased to see photos of my friend Kiki’s children starting pre-school and kindergarten, and hear about the ambivalence of my colleagues Erika and Valerie as their children transitioned into new routines.
Although summer is not technically over, it feels like it is. To keep the autumn at bay, I decided to make miniature key lime pies. They turned out fairly well, although they were slightly overcooked. Also the cookie base did not remain firm during baking. If anyone finds an especially suitable cookie brand, please let me know. Despite the softness of these pies, they garnered strong reviews.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I use green food color, especially since naturally ripened key limes are actually yellow. Nevertheless, in this country lime is synonymous with green.
The ubiquitous green limes we know are actually known as Persian limes (the word lime comes from the Persian word limu). Key limes are smaller than Persian limes and are more tart, bitter, acidic and aromatic.
They are native to Southeast Asia and came to the New World via the Middle East, then travelled to Sicily, Andalusia, the Caribbean and Florida. A hurricane in 1926 significantly destroyed the U.S. key lime crop, allowing the Persian variety to gain prominence. Thereafter, the term “Key” was added, since the limes were primarily available in the Florida Keys.
Makes 18 key lime pies
2 tins condensed milk (14 ounces each)
6 egg yolks
1 cup key lime juice, freshly squeezed or from a bottle
zest of one Persian lime
4 drops green food color (optional)
whipped cream, for garnish
Persian lime wedges, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together condensed milk and egg yolks. Incorporate key lime juice and zest.
3. If using, add one drop of food color at a time, and mix thoroughly before adding the next drop.
4. Place foil liners in a muffin pan and put a cookie in each one. The cookies should be the same diameter as the base of the liners. Select cookies that are dense, thick and crisp. I use gingersnaps.
5. Fill each liner with batter.
6. Bake at 350 F for 8 minutes or until set. Do not overbake or the edges will become chewy.
7. Cool for 30 minutes and refrigerate overnight.
8. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a lime wedge.