I knew I was going to take this pie to my sister’s house.
The last time I saw my nephews, they told me they never got dessert. How they couldn’t even remember the last time they had dessert. And then they performed a number from “Oliver!” and ran off to sweep chimneys and pick a pocket or two.
They looked at me with those big saucer eyes, and a day later, I found myself driving an hour to deliver pie to my favorite pie connoisseurs and hear about what happened on the bus.
Oh, and not just any pie. Dorie Greenspan’s Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie.
So, what’s the difference between this pie and a classic key lime?
For a key lime pie, you whisk together the ingredients, pour the mixture into a graham cracker crust and bake.
For this pie, you heat the filling, let it cool slightly, pour it into a blender for processing, add butter, blend some more to make a buttery lime pudding, chill it for several hours, loosen it with a whisk, smooth it into a pre-baked crust (pastry or graham), whip up the meringue, run the pie under the broiler, let the pie cool and then refrigerate it for at least three hours.
Do my nephews own me?
Yes, pretty much.
Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”
Makes 8 servings
For the Filling:
- 1 cup sugar
- Grated zest of 3 limes
- 4 large eggs, preferably at room temp
- 3/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 6 limes)
- A 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces, at room temperature
- 1 9-inch Graham Cracker Crust, baked and cooled (recipe below)
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- Have an instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at hand.
- Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.
- Put the sugar and zest into a heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest between your fingertips for a few minutes, until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of lime is strong.
- Whisk in the eggs, then whisk in the juice, ginger and cornstarch.
- Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Cook the lime cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. As you whisk- you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling – you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180 degrees F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Don’t stop whisking or checking the temperature. Depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.
- As soon as it reaches 180 degrees F, remove the cream from the heat and strain the cream into the container of the blender (or food processor); discard the rest.
- Let it cool until it reaches 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.
- Turn the blender to high speed (or turn on the processor) and add the butter a few pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. After all the butter is in, continue to blend the cream for another 3 minutes. If you find the machine is getting really hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest in between beats.
- Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and refrigerate the cream for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- To Finish the Pie with the Meringue: Preheat the broiler. Whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the pie shell. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet.
- Working in a clean dry mixer bowl with the clean whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whip the egg whites at medium speed until opaque. With the mixer running , add the sugar in a slow stream and continue to beat until the whites are glossy and form firm peaks.
- Spread the meringue over the lime filling, swirling it if you’d like. Make sure the meringue comes all the way to the edges of the crust, because it will shrink when it bakes.
- Run the pie under the broiler until the meringue is golden and the tips are dark brown (Or, if you’ve got a blowtorch, use it to brown the meringue.) Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
Graham Cracker CrustMakes a 9-inch crust
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- Butter a 9-inch pie plate.
- Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Turn the ingredients into the pan and use your fingers to pay an even layer of crumbs over the bottom of the pan. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack.