This authentic homemade Key Lime Pie made with a gingersnap crust will deliver the perfect tart mouthwatering dessert topped with fresh whipped cream.
What makes a key lime different than a regular lime?
Well, let me start by answering the question that I know is on your mind: can this pie be made with regular limes? The answer is yes, but I definitely urge you to use key limes if they're available.
A key lime is smaller than a traditional lime, it has higher acidity, a stronger aroma, and a more sweet and bitter flavor.
Because they are smaller, it takes quite a few limes to get the amount of juice needed for the recipe, but it is worth it.
Pie filling ingredients:
The base of this pie is incredibly simple. All you need are key limes, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks. I use both the juice and the zest from the limes to get the most key lime flavor possible.
The egg yolks are beaten with the zest until they are pale, light, and fluffy. The sweetened condense milk is whisked in, then the juice.
Once the filling is made, it's simply poured into the prepared crust and baked for only about 10 minutes. Easy!
The gingersnap crust is so good.
You can totally make this with your standard graham cracker crust, but I think the flavor of ginger snaps is amazing with the mouth puckering zing of citrus. To make this crust, I used Trader Joe's ginger thin cookies.
Much like a traditional cheesecake crust, the cookies are crushed, combined with melted butter, and pressed into a pie dish. Since the cookies are already sweet, I don't add any additional sugar.
The crust is par-baked before the filling is added and the pie continues cooking.
- This pie is definitely easier to slice after it has really set in the refrigerator.
- I used a full ⅔ cup of the lime juice because I love the tart flavor, but keep in mind that the more juice you use, the longer it will take to set.
- I like to sweeten my whipped cream with confectioner's sugar. The amount you add completely depends on how sweet you like it. Added zest to the whipped cream only enhances the flavor.
Key Lime Pie
- 9 ounces ginger snaps (processed into fine crumbs)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons key lime zest
- ½ cup key lime juice (use ⅔ cup if you prefer it to be more tart)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- To make the crust, combine ginger snap crumbs and melted butter in medium bowl and mix well until crumbs are evenly coated. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a standard 9-inch pie dish. Bake crust in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Set on cooling rack while you prepare filling. Allow oven to remain at temperature.
- To make the filling, beat zest and egg yolks in stand mixer with whisk attachment on medium high speed until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until thickened again, about 3 minutes more. Whisk key lime juice into yolk mixture until combined. Pour into ginger snap crust and bake pie for another 10 minutes, until set but not browned. Let pie cool completely before adding topping.
- To make the topping, beat heavy cream with sugar in stand mixer using whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Take care not to over or under beat. Spread over top of chilled pie. Ideally, pie should be chilled overnight so that it can fully set and can be easily sliced. If entire pie won't be eaten, don't add whipped cream until pie has been sliced and served so that the remaining pie can be stored easily in the refrigerator.
- Recipe makes one whole pie
- This delicious pie will last up to a week if refrigerated... but who can let a pie like this sit in their frig for a week without eating it?
This post was originally created in 2016 and updated for your reading pleasure.