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Crazy for Key Lime Pie

Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 10:31AM

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The holidays may be over, but who says you have to part with your favorite pies? One delicious dessert, the Key Lime Pie, is a Floridian rite of passage-and it's the cool, tangy cousin to your traditional pumpkin and apple.

In honor of National Pie Day on January 23rd, we're taking a closer look at the one-of-a-kind Key Lime Pie-and how you can enjoy it right here at home! Just read on.

A fruity foundation

At the heart of every Key Lime Pie is, of course, the titular fruit: the Key lime. But where exactly does this oddball fruit come from?

Like its name would suggest, the Key lime has been calling Florida-specifically, the Florida Keys- "home" for quite a while, as it was naturalized here in the early 20th century. Though a hurricane hurt the crop, and caused Floridian harvesters to opt for the hardier Persian lime instead, the persistence of the "little fruit that could" has earned itself a spot in Floridian culture.

The fruit itself is unlike the Persian limes you'd find in any grocery store. It's smaller, with thinner, more yellow-leaning skin-and when it comes to flavor, there's something truly special going on. Though it's tart, as you might expect, it also has a unique aroma that lends itself to flavorful pastries and pies.

Sailor's delight

Now, for the main attraction-the pie itself! It is often traced to ship salvager William Curry, who received the recipe from a chef known only as "Aunt Sally." Before she served it up, a variation of Key Lime Pie was enjoyed by local sailors. On the ship, they didn't have many ingredients to work with, and devised a simple mix of limes with condensed milk on board. Since the key lime juice binds with the condensed milk on its own (a reaction that reduces the need for hefty baking times to this day), the sailors could enjoy the meal with ease. And the rest, as they say, is history! Though modern variations of Key Lime Pie include some added ingredients the sailors didn't have access to-such as eggs, crust or whipped cream-the root stays roughly the same.

But with the deliciously tart foundation provided by the Key lime, why mess with perfection anyway?

The "key" to Key Lime Pie

There are many ways to prepare Key Lime Pie, and each chef likely has a recipe they swear by. At Stonewood, ours is simple and familiar-a longtime favorite of locals, and a guaranteed favorite for any visitor who stops by. The smooth, custardy texture of the filling is balanced nicely with a graham cracker crust-then it's all topped off with whipped cream and lime for good measure.

Enjoying Key Lime Pie in Florida

Can't get enough of Key Lime Pie? You might run into some likeminded friends down in Key West this June, when the annual Key Lime Festival is set to kick off! Here you will find a celebration of all things Key lime-including, of course, your favorite dessert, with a Key Lime Hop and other culinary events. There will even be a Key Lime Pie Drop, where desserts are dropped from the lighthouse rigged up in creative ways to keep them safe and secure. We have to imagine that a pie, having survived a fall like that, can't help but taste extra delicious.

Few things say "Florida" quite like a cool Key Lime Pie-so if you haven't tried one yet, now's the time! Come into Stonewood and enjoy our own take on the state's favorite dessert.


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