How to Make the World's Best Key Lime Pie

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klp Think you've had good Key Lime Pie? Try this.


Before I start, you should know that the recipe that I am about to reveal has been kept in my head for many years, and despite numerous pleas, some of which bordered on desperation, has been revealed to no one. I am an idiot savant in the kitchen. I can prepare exactly one thing: Key Lime Pie. But, for reasons that remain unclear, I am told roughly 100 percent of the time that "this is the best Key Lime Pie I have ever had." Since we are a public health and science outreach organization, my conscience simply doesn't permit me to keep the recipe secret anymore. Even at the risk of losing mystique and adoration, I am reluctantly revealing my recipe for the first time ever. Please appreciate the sacrifice for the greater good. Let's get this out of the way first: Key Lime Pie is NOT green. It is yellow. klp


But, not just any yellow. Bona fide KLP exists on the Benjamin Moore electromagnetic yellow spectrum, dwelling somewhere between Yellow Lotus and Little Angel. One can only imagine the rate of depression and other psychiatric disorders experienced by the unfortunate individuals at Benjamin Moore who have to come up with a different name for the same color every year. Little Angel? Clearly someone lost his s#####t.


Yellow colorblind

So, here ya go. Don't screw it up. First, you need to get yourself a 16 ounce bottle of Nellie and Joe's Original Key Lime Juice. Although it is sold in many supermarkets, it is notoriously hard to find. Juice aisle? No. Beverage aisle? No. Cocktail mixers? No. Since there is no app to locate it, (don't even bother asking anyone working in the store; they will look at you like you have antlers), I have had some success looking on the shelves located between tampons and waffle irons, although I cannot guarantee that this will work for you. You will also need:

  • Three eggs
  • One 14 ounce can of Borden's sweetened condensed milk (not all that easy to find either). Don't even think about using store brand.
  • Can of unsweetened whipped cream
  • One 9" graham cracker pie crust (1) (Good luck finding this too. Try the lobster tank.)

Next: Separate three eggs, keeping only the yolks (2).  This is not so easy. For every glob of egg white that happens to make it into the bowl of yolks, the pie becomes exponentially inferior. Open the can of condensed milk, taking extra precautions not to cut off any appendages. (The lid is sharp enough to prepare samples for electron microscopy.) Add the condensed milk to the egg yolks. Try to keep the blood out. Add 3.5 ounces (103.5 mL) of the juice. Stir with a fork until you have achieved a homogeneous custard-like consistency. No egg beaters! Beating ain't cheating, but  the consistency won't be right. Pour into the pie crust.  About 1" of uncovered crust will remain. Pre-heat oven to 360º Bake the pie for 7 minutes. You should see slight bubbling at the top at this time. Remove pie, making sure to have a hospital with a third degree burn unit nearby. Let pie stand for 30 minutes, then invert the plastic cover that came with the pie, seal it, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Cut pie into 8 pieces. Then add the whipped cream immediately before serving, making sure that the pattern and coverage of the cream are correct. 


Then, get out of the way.


Enjoy. You will find yourself invited to many more parties. Even if you're a chemist.


Notes: (1) For purists, the crust should be made from scratch, using smushed up graham crackers and melted butter. This is not recommended, especially for those who have ever had suicidal ideation. Getting the damn thing to stick together is just about impossible. By the time you try to cut it, it will look like someone chucked a hand grenade into the kitchen. (2) This is an art. For egg separating virgins, I recommend having 12 eggs available to get three decent yolks.