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Arghh. My Key Lime Pies aren't coming out right

Discussion in 'Food Forum' started by thaclient, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. thaclient

    thaclient aequitas

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    Key Lime Pie experts,

    I'm having some trouble here. I've recently tried making my first Key Lime Pie. I figured with so few ingredients it was foolproof. I've found out that it's not the case. I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing wrong, as I'm normally a pretty decent cook. I'm using 3 egg yolks, one can of sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup key lime juice (Nellie & Joes brand), and a premade graham cracker crust. I've made two and tried varying it this second time. The last time I used 3/4 cup juice and it was too overpowering. Now, it tastes like whipped eggs and a little key lime.

    The standard procedure is as follows: whip eggs and milk together in blender for a few minutes and add the key lime juice slowly. Let combine. Add this to the pie shell and cook 15 mins. Last time I put it in fridge, this time freezer.

    I'm thinking that the eggs are being whipped too fast and are heating up or something? Whatever it is, it's just not the right consistency or taste. I've tried getting key limes, but either we're out of season or I'm not looking hard enough. In the keys they are in Albertson's and the other food stores, but maybe that's because everyone expects them to be. Here in Miami, I only find Persian limes.

    Well, that's my deal, and suggestions? ;a
     
  2. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

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    Are you letting the pie cool to room temperature after baking and before refrigerating?

    BTW, I wouldn’t get too wrapped around the axle about getting your limes from the Keys. The overwhelming majority of Key limes are imported, even those sold in the Keys. I've tried Nellie & Joes but generally use Persian limes if Key limes aren't available.
     

  3. thaclient

    thaclient aequitas

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    Slim,

    Actually, I've been putting the pie right from the oven into the fridge. You think that maybe that's part of the issue? Also, on the one I made last night I put the eggs in first, and then added the milk about a minute later. I don't think that was such a good idea, as when I tasted it today it tasted kind of like whipped eggs ;g.

    About the limes: I didn't realize that they imported a lot of the Key Limes. I should probably have looked closer at the 'product of' stickers. I was thinking about using the Persian limes because they are all over the place (and I know they are fresh). I didn't like using a juice that had been sitting in a bottle for who knows how long, but I was worried it wouldn't turn out as well. How do you compesate for the tartness as far as the amount of juice you use? Thanks for the tip about letting it cool, I'm going to have to try that. ;f
     
  4. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

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    thaclient, it could be the cooling. The pie sweetens as it cooks, and it continues to cook while it’s cooling.

    IMHO, there is no perfect, one-size-fits-all Key lime pie recipe. Everyone’s tolerance for tartness varies. I, for example like margaritas that make me pucker. That should give you a clue how I like my pies ;). Most of the recipes I see revolve around half a cup of lime juice. The number of egg yolks per that half cup varies from as few as two to as many as five. And some recipes - I think most – call for added sugar. A pie with just two yolks and no added sugar naturally will be extremely tart; five yolks and half a cup of sugar, much less so. And the lime juice itself varies considerably in tartness and may necessitate an adjustment in the other ingredients.

    If you make a jump cut to another recipe, you’re starting from scratch again. I’d suggest you just adjust the one you’re using now until it hits your sweet spot (pardon the pun :)). If it were me, I’d add ½ C sugar and test it. If that makes it more to your taste but still too tart, use a fourth egg yolk. If you get the taste right but it doesn’t set properly, add a bit of gelatin. That’ll firm it up but won’t affect the flavor.

    I also habitually add the zest from one lime, regardless of which recipe I’m using. The zest adds some character to the pie and the little green thingies suspended in the pie give it a homemade appearance (kinda like pulp in fresh-squeezed OJ).

    As for the eggs, I always start with yolks and just blend them lightly. Then I add the other liquid ingredients and blend some more. Since they get mixed a second time, I don’t get real energetic the first blending. I’m wondering if the ‘whipped egg’ taste comes from having too much air introduced.

    As for the Key lime, it’s my understanding that there is no more commercial farming of Key limes in the Keys proper, and on the order of 90% of those sold in the US come from Mexico. Even though Nellie & Joe’s is ‘made in Key West’, I'd bet a month’s beer money their limes are imported from Mexico.
     
  5. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

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    Seems to me, that if 1/2 cup was too little, and 3/4 cup was too much, that 2/3 cup would be just right... but then, math isn't my strong suit.

    ;f
     
  6. thaclient

    thaclient aequitas

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    Slim,

    Thanks. I'm going to try your idea and fiddle with the recipe the next time I try. I'm going to be so damn sick of them by the time I get it right, but I will suceed ;f.

    Roundeyesamurai:

    Whoa there buddy... Slow down, all this math is confusing ;9

    Actually, you suggested what I think I'm going to try next time. If that's the solution I'll send you a piece! It'll be the start of the GT food swapping forum... ;e
     
  7. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

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