Key Lime Pie for Two

Peered outside the front door this morning and what do you know.... it's fall. Leaves coated the cars and ground. I need to post all the summer lovelies quick! Ahhh! People don't wanna read about berries when it's pumpkin season. Mmmmm.... pumpkin.

America's Test Kitchen recently published "Cooking for Two: 2011." I love America's Test Kitchen's stuff- it was recommended to me last year by a chef and is my only online subscription. Their recipes never disappoint and I love how they explain things- you're not just mindlessly adding ingredients. 

Don't let the "Two" part discourage you. Yes, it's annoying how society seems to gear everything for couples. Think of it as a generous helping- or leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. Either way, you don't lose and food is not going to waste. We have a hard time with leftovers in this house so perfect portions are refreshing. 

These Key Lime Pie tarts are just what the doctor ordered. Simple and basic. The flavor is exactly how key lime should taste like, though you can add in more lime zest if you really want it to sing. That's why making your own food is so much fun... you know what's in it and can tailor it to your palette.

First, make the filling. It needs about 30 minutes to thicken up. It's eggs, zest, lime juice, and sweetened condensed milk. The condensed milk is key.... it's hard not to lick the spoon.

While the filling settles, you make the crust. The recipe calls for a 6 inch pie plate. I do not have said 6 inch pie plate so I used two mini tart pans and it worked out just fine. However, you must keep a very close eye on them if you use the mini pans because they bake a lot faster. I burnt my first round of crust.

Once the crust is complete, you add the thickened filling and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes (if you're using the 6 inch pie plate). Think it's over? Here's the catch.....

Pie requires time to settle down and cool. That's 1 hour on the wire rack and another 3 hours in the fridge. You can rush it with the freezer- that's only going to make it cold. You want to let the ingredients blend together. Make this a day ahead or before you go out and run errands. There will be a zesty treat waiting for you at home.

Key Lime Pie
from America's Test Kitchen

2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2-3 limes; 10 key limes)

4 whole graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 teaspoons granulated sugar

Whip Cream (optional)
1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
2 teaspoons confectioner's sugar
Dash of vanilla extract

Whisk egg yolks and lime zest in a medium bowl until mixture has light green tint, about a minute. Whisk in milk until smooth, then lime juice. Cover mixture and set aside at room temperature until thickened, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat at 325. Process graham crackers in food processor or smash in ziplock bag until fine. Add butter and sugar and blend until incorporated. Sprinkle into 6 inch pie plate. Press evenly- use the bottom of a measuring cup if it helps keep things even.

Bake crust until fragrant, about 13 minutes. Transfer to wire rack-- dont' turn off the oven!! Add the filling. Return to oven for another 15-20 minutes. It should be firm but with a lil jiggle... (that's what she said, boooo).  Let it cool for about an hour then cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

Before serving, you can slap some whip cream on top. Whisk cream, sugar, and vanilla together until soft peaks form.