There’s something about a good pie that makes me so happy. I guess because I don’t make them very often, they hold special occasion status for me. As much as I’d like to have a pie in my fridge all the time, I only make them when I know I’ll be serving a group of people. It’s totally because I don’t have enough willpower to stop myself from eating one straight out of the plate.
This key lime pie isn’t traditional, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome. The filling is no-bake, which means minimal oven time while the crust bakes. I don’t know about you, but I love that in the summertime. The filling is reminiscent of one of my favorite cupcakes from the shop where I worked before Clara was born, and I find this pie every bit addictive as that cupcake. My favorite part, though, is the macadamia nut and shortbread crust. Graham crackers are just fine, but this crust is one you’ll want to eat before there’s even any filling inside of it. The texture of the crushed macadamias is a perfect contrast to the creamy, sweet-tart filling. As we gear up for more cookouts, I know I’ll be turning to this dessert over and over again.
If a whole pie isn’t your thing, these key lime pie bars are pretty high on my list of favorite summer desserts, too.
- YIELD: 1 9-inch pie
For the crust:
1 cup shortbread cookies, finely crushed
½ cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped
¼ cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 lime, zested
½ cup fresh lime juice, preferably from key limes
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
1 lime, halved and thinly sliced
Heat oven to 400º. Combine the cookie crumbs, macadamia nuts and sugar in a small bowl. Mix in the melted butter with a fork, then pour the crust mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Using the bottom of a drinking glass, press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low and gradually pour in the milk, lime zest and lime juice. Increase speed to medium and continue beating until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Transfer the filling to the crust and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve the pie, beat the cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Spoon or pipe onto the chilled pie, then top with macadamia nuts (or toasted coconut). Place lime slices atop the pie as desired.