Key Lime Pie + Springform Pans

Yesterday, I made a key lime pie--something I had been meaning to do for about 7 months now. A while back, I took a cooking class at Off The Hook in Bethany Beach, and the key lime pie was part of the demonstration. In the demonstration, though, chef Hagen used a spring form pan. I only recently purchased springform pans, (about two months ago) and have been using them like crazy.

So finally, yesterday was the day when I would make my move into the world of key lime pie. If you have been to Off The Hook, you know how positively heavenly theirs is, and so, this would be the only way to make one. I made a few changes (reduced the amount of butter in the crust and omitted the sugar, which incidentally, was a mistake, but made little difference.)

In making my key lime pie, I found myself (once again) struggling with the springform pan. I admit, I am not well-versed in baking, and in fact, this is why I am dabbling more into desserts. I want to be a better home chef--more well rounded. And dessert is eye catching, isn't it?

In my first adventure with a springform pans, I made a raspberry ricotta cheesecake, and that was when I first learned that springform pans do not hold liquid very well. This lesson was reiterated once again when I began work on my cookbook of the month for October, and made a tiramisu. Apparently, over soaking the lady fingers would lead to drainage, causing the liquid to come out of the springform pan.

So why in the world should I not have another lesson in springform pans while making key lime pie? Haha. This time, I just could not settle on the size of the pan. Bigger one or smaller one? I kept going back and fourth and then, at last, when I had the crust made, I put it in the larger one, and then lost my nerve and moved it to the smaller one. Sheesh.

And let me say this: it may seem easy to press a graham cracker crust into a pan, but I swear, it was harder than I anticipated. I finally got the hang of it, and the crust came out pretty evenly, and I was happy with it. But let's just say that in the game of the springform pan, the pans are schooling me each time I reach for them. The score so far: Springform pans 3, Bossy Italian Wife 0. But I'm getting the hang of them.

So, I won't keep you waiting any longer. Here is my recipe for key lime pie. It is a modification of the recipe from Off The Hook in Bethany Beach, but this one is slightly different.

You will need: 

A 9" springform pan
4 1/2 (or one package) ground graham crackers
2 sticks of butter, melted

2 cups of key lime juice (no, I did not squeeze my own. I bought it at the store, and one bottle IS 2 cups!)
8 egg yolks
3 1/2 14-oz. cans sweet, condensed milk


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

For the crust:

Using a food processor (to save yourself both time and headache) grind up your graham crackers to a nice, even texture. You should have about 4 1/2 cups or so.

Melt the butter in the microwave, or over the stove (if you are against microwaves or something.)

Combine the melted butter and graham crackers, stirring to combine. Place the mixture in your springform pan, and using your hands, shape it into a crust. You want to press it up the sides and all across the bottom. Take your time with this step because, as I found, it can be a slower process than you think!

For the filling:

Combine the egg yolks, condensed milk, and key lime juice. Use a bowl one size bigger than you think you should because it will be easier to whisk this way. Use a big ol' whisk to mix it up until it's perfectly combined.

Pour the filling into the pie shell.

Bake in the oven (350 degrees) for about 45 minutes.
It's not going to rise or anything because it's supposed to come out more like a custard. When the 45 minutes is over, set it out to cool for about an hour, then transfer it to the fridge to finish cooling for about 2 hours.

When you remove the outside of the springform pan, you will have a dessert that not only tastes amazing, but looks impressive too. If desired, you can garnish it with whipped cream. 

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