A Key West icon and delicious dessert, Key Lime Pie was the ONE thing we sought out when we were driving through Key West on our recent road trip, and we sampled multiple versions, a couple of which were standouts (more on this later).
First, let me get to the all-important question of which team you root for–Team Whipped Cream or Team Meringue. One entry from the meringue camp was the key lime pie at Blue Heaven:
And one on the whipped cream side, Joe’s Stone Crab’s Key Lime Pie:
Judy and I quickly identified ourselves as those of the whipped cream persuasion. We also decided that we NEEDED to have a homemade version when we got home. The goal for our homemade version was to make it a bit less sweet (key lime pie is EXTREMELY sweet, we found), and a bit lighter in texture. We found a bag of key limes at a local grocery store, and over the next two weeks on the road, we cared for those limes like they were the last key limes on the planet, storing them in a small cooler and each night transferring them from mini fridge to mini fridge in hotel room after hotel room. It became a ritual. Case in point:
Judy: You got the limes?
Bill: Forgot them in the car again – they’ll be ok at night.
Judy: Go get them now!
Bill: Yes, dear.
So the little key limes made it back to New Jersey, and voila! We got a key lime tart with the perfect level of sweetness, topped with whipped cream. I actually didn’t realize how easy it was to make–or maybe it’s just that Sarah made it look easy! You can decide for yourself. Check out the recipe.
Key Lime Tart: Recipe Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, crush the graham crackers until you have fine crumbs (alternatively, put them in a plastic ziplock bag, press the air out, seal, and smash with a rolling pin).
Mix with melted butter until it has the texture of wet sand. Press the graham cracker mixture into a 10-inch tart ring (a 9-inch may also work, but you may have filling left over, which you can bake in ramekins to make a simple, yummy lime custard!). Bake the crust for 7 minutes, remove from the oven, and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine the condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, and lime zest.
Pour into the baked tart shell and return to the oven for 5-8 minutes, until set (not browned!). Let the pie cool completely.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Top the pie with the whipped cream. You can just pour it on, or pipe it in patterns, which is what Sarah did here.
You can serve it just like that, or add a bit more lime zest to the top.
And now…another short travel recap of our time in Florida and Miami. This was the third leg or our southern US road trip.
On our first leg, we visited Anapolis and Richmond and a tasty Sesame Panko Crab Cake recipe was born courtesy of Sarah.
Our second leg had us visiting Charleston and Savannah resulting in an Asian Fried Pork Chop recipe.
All of of travel inspired recipe posts have bonus pictures of our trip so be sure to check them out at the end of each recipe!
After our visit to Savannah, we knew we had a long drive ahead of us to our next stop in Miami. We have been to Orlando many times and did not have much interest in other cities in between, so we decided to make a beeline to Miami and then to Key West.
When we arrived in Miami we headed over to little Havana to have a Cuban sandwich for lunch. They were good alright, but we are quite familiar with excellent Cuban food served up by the restaurants we frequent in Union City, NJ, probably the American city with the most Cubans after Miami. Our own Cuban Sandwich and Tostones recipes are pretty authentic and tasty as well, if I do say so myself!
The next morning after breakfast, we headed over to South Beach, and walked Miami beach. What a beautiful place!
For dinner, we arrived early (before they opened) for the first seating at Joe’s Stone Crab for an epic meal of crab and seafood. The place filled up almost immediately after we sat down and there was a line outside when we left!
Stone crab claws are taken only one at a time per crab, and the crab is thrown back into the water where it can grow back its missing claw! How’s that for sustainability? They were so delicious and the Alaskan king crab was heavenly as well. It was a perfect meal after a day at the beach.
After dinner, we walked along the South Point pier and watched the cruise ships leave port for the evening.
The next morning we started our 3 hour drive to Key West and the scenery was no less than amazing. We walked through the town, watched the sunset, and experienced some great nature sites.
Look at the size of these tarpon swimming below the pelicans and so close to the dock – Humongous!
Chickens were everywhere, and this one made it across the road!
I almost stepped on this guy when trying to find a spot for a picnic lunch. If anyone knows what this big lizard creature is, please let me know!
On the way out the next morning we stopped at Key West Veterans Memorial Park, where there was a seriously cool sand bar trail. The water was about knee deep with a horseshoe shaped path that you could follow.
I took this short video on my iphone that shows some really cool scenes and sea life. It was one of our most enjoyable rest stops on the entire road trip!
Next Stop – New Orleans and the Southwest!
Key Lime Tart
- 15 graham crackers (about 8 oz.)
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 1/2 cups sweetened condensed milk (two 14 oz. cans)
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (cold)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, crush the graham crackers until you have fine crumbs (alternatively, put them in a plastic ziplock bag, press the air out, seal, and smash with a rolling pin).
- Mix with melted butter until it has the texture of wet sand. Press the graham cracker mixture into a 10-inch tart ring (a 9-inch may also work, but you may have filling left over, which you can bake in ramekins to make a simple, yummy lime custard!). Bake the crust for 7 minutes, remove from the oven, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, combine the condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, and lime zest.
- Pour into the baked tart shell and return to the oven for 5-8 minutes, until set (not browned!). Let the pie cool completely.
- Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Top the pie with the whipped cream. Serve!