Dani Goes South.

pie crust

Key Lime Vanilla Bean Pie With the Butteriest Graham Cracker Crust

SweetsDani ColombattoComment
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Not all desserts are created equally, am I right? I've mentioned before that I don't have the hugest sweet tooth, so when it comes to dessert, I'm surprisingly persnickety. First of all, when it comes to me actually making a dessert, I am reeeeeally good at talking myself out of doing it, and maybe making pasta instead. Measuring? Ick. Team eyeball-it like an old world Italian g-ma all. Day. Long. Cake decorating? Do I not have enough anxiety to contend with?! I do not require unicorn horns on my treats, nor do I want a rainbow bagel, and if I ever purchase fondant, well, then we'll know I've really lost myself. All of this said, I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who love sifting and measuring, who perfect their piping to a T. In truth, I envy you!! I want to take quite a few pages out of your book...(and leave the ones regarding cake pops and fondant). 

I digress...

I began this by saying not all desserts are created equal, and I stand by this. However, there are a scant handful of treats that have captured my heart, and you best believe I'll attempt to make them kewt and new just for yew. Under this sweet lil' umbrella resides my longtime bud, key lime pie. Creamy, tart lime custard married to crumbly graham cracker crust- what's not to love? Well, how about juicing one million tiny limes? Yeah. I'm not into it, either. So, with saving you and I from that in mind, I give to you: Key lime pie, hold the keys.  

As though that's not already cutting down on our heavy lifting, aside from the oven, this is a total food processor situation- graham cracker crust, filling, and all! There are benefits to this, beyond cutting down on dishes (which is high up there on the silver linings roster for your girl, and if you don't have a dishwasher, I've been there MULTIPLE times, and I applaud you all day every day).

First off, the aforementioned food processor sitch makes for the crumbliest, most buttery pie crust. Truth be told, when I first made this, I mumbled "shit" repeatedly to myself, while taking it out of the pie plate because I was certain I over-pulsed the crumbs, and made a base of essentially, sand, meaning that the whole thing was sure to crumble. Much to my surprise and delight, it held PERFECTLY, and the butter permeated throughout every crumb. So essentially, my "shit's" took an immediate 180 and made their way to "fuck yes-ville". I really love when that happens in culinary situations. Like, almost more than anything. This is the pie crust to reignite any lost love of graham cracker crust, AKA, the unsung hero of pie-town. So, in addition to the food processor giving our crust the pulverizing strong-arm it needs, it also whips our custard into perfectly fluffy shape, ensuring the smoothest filling ever. The vanilla bean is the sleeper hit of this whole shebang, though. It scents the pie beautifully, and frankly who the hell is mad at a vanilla bean fleck-studded pie?! Guys, I don't say this outright often, but this is JUST. SO. GOOD. I'm clearly chatty; let's make this already!

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Preheat your oven oven to 350F. In a food processor, pulse your graham crackers (about 3 sleeves worth) until they resemble sand. Add your sugar, and stream in your melted, salted butter, and pulse quite a few times to combine. You want it to be the consistency of wet sand. I used a pie plate with a removable bottom, but that isn't a requirement. Just press your crumbs evenly into your chosen pie plate- I love using a wide jar for this. Place in the oven, and bake for about 13 minutes, or until it just starts to get golden-brown.

In your food processor, combine your egg yolks with your condensed milk, and pulse thoroughly to combine. Add your lime zest, lime juice, and paste from your vanilla beans. Puree for about 1 minute. When done, the filling should look slightly aerated, and fully combined.

When your crust is done, allow to cool to slightly warm, and add your filling. Return to oven, and bake for about 15-18 minutes, returning to a rack to cool. Once cool, place in the fridge until fully chilled, or overnight, which is what I opted for. 

Serve with freshly whipped cream- I just whipped 1/2 cup cream with about 4-5 tbs sugar, and extra lime zest.

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Listen, rarely have I met a key lime pie- sans key or otherwise that I have disliked. However, this one, guys...This one stands alone. The filling is so incredibly light and creamy with all the punch of fresh lime tartness you'd expect from key lime pie, but with the unexpected rounded accent of the vanilla bean. It's a subtle change, but in my book, a game changer. I really hope you make this when you're just in the mood for something happy. Hey, maybe throw it in your Easter repertoire! I bet no one will be mad you did. 

Vanilla Bean Key Lime Pie, Sans Key, With the Butteriest Graham Cracker Crust

For the graham cracker crust:

About 1 1/4 cups graham crackers 

4 tbs granulated sugar

5 tbs salted butter, melted

For the filling:

1 can sweetened, condensed milk

5 egg yolks (if they're super large, go for 4, but my organics seemed on the smaller side)

1/2 cup lime juice, from 4-5 limes

Zest of 2 limes

2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped