Key Lime Birthday Pie

Every year I bake something for my parents birthdays. Their birthdays are only a few days apart so we typically celebrate them together, which isn’t entirely fair, but once you leave the nest, it gets harder to get everyone together twice so close together.

It has been one heck of a hot summer and so this year, I did not feel like trying to bake a cake in 100 degree weather, so instead I thought about pie.

Both of my parents love key lime pie and I’ve never made one before, so I decided I would give it a shot. I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe but then later, after I made said pie, I saw Ina Garten’s FROZEN Key Lime Pie and thought, next time for sure.

I didn’t actually use key lime’s to make this pie, I had planned to and even went to a fancy grocery store to buy some, but they didn’t have any. I honestly don’t think it matters, as long as you use fresh limes, none of that concentrated stuff.

This pie was a huge hit and even my brother, who honestly has rather bland taste (don’t worry he doesn’t read this blog) I was certain he’d think it was too rich or something, instead he had two slices and kept talking about how light it was. My parents haven’t stopped talking about it, and my Dad mentions my brother’s TWO slices every time he calls me. My father is a middle child and sharing is something we’re still working on. Ha!

I have included the recipe below for convenience (copy and paste, so some things might be out of context). For the original and more, make sure you go here.

*Important note, I am not a food photographer, or stylist. All food pictures are taken in a 125+ year old kitchen that experienced an unfortunate update in the 90s.

SK, Classic Key Lime Pie

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  • Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups (155 grams) finely ground graham cracker crumbs (from about 10 crackers)
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest
  • 3 large egg yolks (though extra-large would do you no harm here)
  • 1 14-ounce (396-gram) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup (155 ml) fresh lime juice (from about 1 dozen tiny key limes or 4 persian/regular limes)
  • To Finish
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered or granulated sugar, to taste



Heat oven: To 350°F (176°C).


Make crust: Combine graham crumbs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and stir until mixed. Add butter and stir until crumbs are evenly coated. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a standard 9-inch pie dish. I like to use the outer edge of a heavy measuring cup to press in neat, firm sides but nobody will be the wiser if you just use your fingertips. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set on cooling rack while you prepare filling. Leave oven on.


Make filling: Zest limes into the bottom of a medium bowl until you have 1 1/2 tablespoons. Beat zest and egg yolks with an electric mixer until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until thickened again, about 3 minutes more. Squeeze zested limes until you have 2/3 cups juice. Whisk into yolk mixture until combined. Pour into graham crust and bake pie for another 10 minutes, until set but not browned on top at all. Let pie cool completely before adding topping — you can do this outside (thank you, January!) or even in your freezer (but don’t forget about it) to hasten the process, and your pie reward, along.


Make topping: In a medium bowl, beat cream and sugar until soft peaks are formed. Spread over top of chilled pie. Ideally, pie should be chilled at least another 2 to 3 hours with the cream on top so that it can fully set before you take a slice, but whether that happens is between you and your pie.

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