Where to start. I love key lime pie. The first time I tried it was in Key Largo, down in the Florida Keys where key limes literally grow wild everywhere. It's tangy, sweet, creamy, and just plain good. Now that the holidays are over, I can't even look at another pumpkin or apple pie. Given my love for pie, this is naturally next! This is traditionally topped with whipped cream, but I just love a good meringue pie. They do it with lemons so why not limes?!
For the crust:
1 cup graham crackers, finely ground
1/4 cup melted butter
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
For the filling:
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, around 20 key limes or 6 regular limes
1 Tablespoon lime zest
3 egg yolks
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
For the meringue:
5 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 20 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, place the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Give a stir, then slowly pour in your cooled melted butter. Using a fork, whisk together until combined.
Gently press the crumbs into a 9 inch pie pan with your fingers. Use a measuring cup or glass to press them all in smooth.
Place the crust in the oven and blind bake for 10 minutes, then set aside.
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.
Place the egg yolks in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer or whisking by hand, whisk the yolks thickened, about 3 minutes.
Whisk in the lime zest and sweetened condensed milk for another 3 minutes. Gently whisk in the lime juice.
Pour the filling into the prebaked pie crust and bake for about 10 minutes, just until the eggs have set.
While the pie is baking, prepare the meringue for the pie topping. You want to place it on the pie while its still warm to avoid weeping and separation.
Using a stand mixer or an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on medium speed for 1 minute, then increase to high speed until soft peaks form. After about 4 more minutes, add the sugar and salt. Make sure to not add the sugar too soon, or the egg whites could stretch too much which prevents a stiff peak. Continue beating on high speed until glossy stiff peaks form, about 2 more minutes. Do not over beat the egg whites. Spread meringue on top of filling or using a piping bag, decoratively pipe the meringue on the pie as I did above. Ensure the meringue is spread all the way to edges, this also prevents weeping.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or just until the meringue is browned on top. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on your countertop for 1 hour before placing in the refrigerator to chill. Chill for 4 hours before slicing and serving.