The Fourth of July always evokes strong feelings of patriotism as I recall fondly the founding of our great nation. The American flag in all its glory is in full display around the community. It’s a special time to be alive. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the opportunity to connect with fellow neighbors (or firehouses) as we gather to celebrate (with good food) that which so much was sacrificed for.
And with most on this weekend, these gatherings are leading us outside to our grills, picnic tables, and pools. With that in mind, I wanted to provide a crowd favorite that can be made well ahead of time (up to a day), is high portable, and is easy as, uh, pie(sorry, couldn’t resist) to make. Very little is needed to craft this show stopping dessert, with graham crackers, some sweetened condensed milk and limes as the stars.
Speaking of limes, Key limes are the norm, so they say (if you can find them in your neighborhood, more power to you), as they provide a more concentrated flavor in a smaller package. But regular limes are more then sufficient here (and obviously abundant). Just don’t use any bottled lime juice, period. No exceptions. You’ll need the zest anyways, which is one of the keys (sorry again, just can’t resist) to this sweet goodness.
*Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen (they’re the greatest).
Sweetened Condensed Milk (1 can)
Egg Yolks (4)
Lime Juice (from 3-4 limes, or roughly ½ cup)
Lime Zest from the same limes (it’s a lot)
Vanilla (1 tsp.)
Salt (½ tsp.)
Graham Cracker Crust
Graham Crackers (10-11, or roughly 1¼ cup)
Unsalted Butter (5-6 Tbs.)
Sugar (3 Tbs.)
Heavy Cream (1 cup)
Powdered Sugar (¼ cup + 1 Tbs.)
*Lime Juice (1 Tbs.) *optional
Vanilla (½ tsp.)
Salt (¼ tsp.)
Food Processor (or plastic bag, wait, what?)
In a medium bowl, whisk the lime zest and yolks until it turns slightly green, about 2 minutes. Stir in milk then juice and allow it to sit a room temperature to thicken.
Pre-heat oven to 325. Smash the graham crackers in whatever method you desire (food processor or poured into a re-sealable plastic bag and crushed). Add the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter and mix till it resembles wet sand. Pour the sand into a 9” pie pan and press to form an even crust. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes.
Pour the lime filling into the pre-baked crust and bake for another 16-18 minutes, or until the center is set. Return the pie to the wire rack and allow it to cool for 30 minutes. Place in the fridge until well chilled, for at least 3 hours.
About an hour (or two) before serving, make the whip cream by adding the heavy cream to a chilled bowl and whip to form soft peaks. Add the lime juice, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks are formed. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the pie. Garnish with lime zest and optional crushed pistachios and serve.