Sunday, April 18, 2010

warm weather and a heavenly key lime pie

Is it warm and magnificent where you are? Is it picnic weather? Is it the first time where you feel like wearing anything less than your most summery, light weight, gloriously scant outfit would be a crime? Chicago is fantastic right now. It is bursting with flower buds, fragrant with plants, demanding that I fill my days with sunshine and too-short shorts.

For me these spring-time miraculous spurts of warmth are demanding of spring food. Food that begs to be eaten after a day of blister forming active discovering of your city, or getting the years first sunburn. Tasty eats like prosciutto wrapped melon and cold sesame noodles. The perfect strawberry ice cream, bought from a man with a cart, on a perfect day. Thank God winter has passed.

If your weather is as celebratory as ours in Chicago you simply must make this frozen key lime pie. Brightly acidic and luxuriously decadent, you deserve this after all the sweaters and scarves and numb toes and never ending waits for the bus in the snow. It is the antithesis of winter: a really amazingly citrus-y frozen pie, I couldn't tell if I was shoving it in my mouth to prevent it from melting or just because it was so sublime. Just like Spring however, this pie requires an insufferable wait. The actual pie took me and my saccharine partner in crime Cecile about 20 minutes to make. And four hours of agony waiting for it to freeze. But it was worth it. Totally. 

Frozen Key Lime Pie
exactly as the brilliant Ina Garten intended it

serves 8

-1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
-1/4 cup sugar
-6 Tbs (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

-6 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
-2 tablespoons grated lime zest
-3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 to 5 limes

For Decoration
-1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy whipping cream
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-sliced lime wedges for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool.

For the filling, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until thick. With the mixer on medium speed, add the condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour into the baked pie shell and freeze about an hour. 

For the decoration, beat the heavy cream on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until firm. Spoon or pipe decoratively onto the pie and decorate with lime. Freeze for several hours or overnight. Try to wait as long as you can, I know the temptation is unbearable. Congratulations for surviving winter, Spring is here!

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