Dianne of Dianne’s Dishes chose Florida Pie as the TWD recipe for this week.
On first inspection of the recipe, I knew I had to tweak it. I’m not a fan of shredded coconut. I was the kid who two months after Halloween had a bag full of Mounds and Almond Joys, and nothing else left. I would end up giving my coconut tainted candies to my Memere because she loved them. I do love the flavor of coconut though. I love sticky rice and pina coladas. When I was first going over the recipe I considered boiling the cream with the coconut, and then straining the coconut out. After much internal deliberation, I decided to skip the step all together because I love the flavor of Key Limes, and I knew the pie would be tasty without the coconut.
I debated buying Key lime juice over juicing them myself, but I find bottled Key lime juice to be sulphery. Wow, I never could have anticipated just how fun juicing Key Limes is! That was tedious, but those little limes actually contained a lot of juice. I bought a one pound bag of Key Limes, and used all but 5 of them. Key limes are so cute!
After juicing the limes, things started to get a bit hairy. As directed, I bought a premade graham cracker crust. As I opened the container I realized it was broken in several places. Taking this as an opportunity to try the crust (it was broken anyway), I determined it was flavorless and unimpressive. Turning a lemon into lemonade, I knocked the crust out of the tin, crushed it, and then added ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and some melted butter. Then I baked that crust in a pie plate for about 10 minutes at 350.
The key lime filing was a breeze to make. Three ingredients: juice, yolks and sweetened condensed milk.
It doesn’t get much easier than that... until...
THE POWER GOES OUT!
Well, it wasn’t all the power. Actually, the outlets still had power, but we had no lights in our apartment at all. Ugh, we live in a very old house in Somerville, and it’s “charm” is wearing thin with all the problems we’ve had here!
By candle light, I filled the pie and put it in the oven. Then as directed, I set it out to cool for a bit, then put it in the freezer.
Oh, one side note. We were having friends over for dinner that night! Yes, that’s right. No power and the guest were about to arrive.
While the pie was cooling, I made risotto to go along with the short ribs Joe had been braising all day. I discovered cooking by candlelight is fun as long as you have a good bottle of wine by your side.
Back to the pie. After the pie was in the freezer for an hour, I took it out and made the meringue. I really did not care for this meringue recipe at all. I made it as directed and I found it to be overwhipped before it cooled. It looked broken and all together aweful. Into the garbage that meringue went, and I made my standby Swiss Meringue recipe from Martha Stewart.
Our guests arrived with candles. We ended up having a great night with them. We sat in our living room discussing the food, the wines, places to live and visit in the future. The pie was excellent the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
Here are final pictures of the pie. Sorry the lighting is a bit off, there was none!
Here’s the recipe. Keep in mind that I didn’t used the meringue recipe listed below, nor did I make the coconut cream. If you would like to make the meringue I did make, it can be found here:
1 9-inch graham cracker crust (page 235), fully baked and cooled, or a store-bought crust
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, seperated
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)
1/4 cup of sugar
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat.
Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the reaming juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.
Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.
To Finish the Pie with Meringue:
Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.
Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you've got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.