The receptionist at my work likes to celebrate holidays, usually with“misery loves company” lunches- on days such as the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve. These are the days that most people at the office take off, and she is still stuck answering the phones, thus “misery loves company.”
For Valentine’s Day she does a pie contest. I don’t have the greatest history with Valentine’s Day. One Valentine’s Day in high school, I found my then-boyfriend in bed with one of my sort-of friends. This current Valentine’s Day happened to be the day my current 4 year relationship ended. That’s only two out of 27 valentine’s days but still. So anyway, I wasn’t going to participate in this pie contest, until I realized I didn’t have anything to do since I was now single. Baking a pie would probably keep me from drowning myself in red wine, or at least postpone it for a few hours…so I decided to give it a shot.
Key lime pie is one of my favorite pies and has the added benefit of being supremely easy. I was talking to Dana about how to make it more valentine-y, and [genius that she is] she suggested making it cherry-lime flavor. Cherry being a popular flavor companion to lime, and would also turn the pie more of a pink color for V-day. And that is how the cherry-key lime pie idea was born. If you happen to be a key lime traditionalist, have no fear, just take out the cherry juice and you have a traditional key lime pie. This is also a family recipe, it is my Nana’s recipe.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Start by melting the butter in the microwave, then stir in the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.
Once you have it nice and combined, pour it into your pie pan and use your fingers to press it evenly into the pan.
Then stick it in the oven at 375 degrees for 7 minutes, and set it aside and let it cool. If I wasn’t making this pie for a contest I probably would’ve just bought a graham cracker crust, so you could do that too, I won’t judge.
Meanwhile, while the crust is baking and cooling, juice your key limes. You could also buy key lime or regular lime juice too, or juice regular limes which are bigger and therefore easier. The traditionalist in me made me buy key limes and painstakingly juice 15 of those tiny guys (even though I think Nana often used regular limes).
Next, soften the cream cheese in the microwave and mix it with the sweetened condensed milk (possibly the best ingredient on the face of the planet-I dare you to not stick your finger in that stuff and taste it.), egg yolks, lime juice and cherry juice. Use an electric mixer to mix them together until you have a nice smooth filling. My filling turned out kind of a sickly pale pink, so I added some pink/purple food coloring to make it a happier color for V day. If you’re going traditional key lime, you could add a couple drops of green food coloring if you wanted.
Now, gently pour the filling into the cooled crust, and bake 10 min at 350.
I added maraschinio cherries, lime zest, and pink and red sprinkles to pretty her up for the contest. Be careful when you’re zesting your lime, I happened to drop the lime on the pie and created a nice dent (maybe don’t drink wine while you’re zesting…my plan to hold off on the drinking didn’t really work). When you’re done making the pie pretty, stick it in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up.
I know you are probably wondering how she fared in the contest. She went up against some tough competitors: pecan pie, sweet potato pie, blueberry cream cheese pie, chocolate strawberry pie, a Kentucky derby pie (this would’ve won in my book honestly, there was so much bourbon I really wanted to eat the whole thing , I swear each bite was like taking a shot of bourbon), and some other pies I cant remember. But……I won! I was actually kind of surprised. Now my blue ribbon (bow) hangs proudly on my cube wall.
- 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 stick butter (8T) melted
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 8oz softened cream cheese
- 8oz sweetened condensed milk
- 5T cherry juice
- 3 T key lime juice (juice of ~15 key limes)
- 2 egg yolks
- Stir 3 crust ingredients together and press into pie pan
- Bake at 375 for 7 minutes, allow to cool
- Mix all filling ingredients together using electric mixer
- Poor filling into cooled crust bake 10 min at 350
- Chill for at least 1 hour