Hey y'all! Welcome back to another post in our August Featured Flavors series! This week is all about key lime.
A key lime is a citrus hybrid that is smaller, more acidic, more aromatic, and has a thinner rind than the Persian lime (the typical lime we are all used to). Key limes are native to Southeast Asia, but get their name from their association to the Florida Keys where they were first introduced by Henry Perrine. They were considered weeds and useless in Florida until the Great Freeze of 1894 destroyed the Florida lemon groves. “Mexican limes” were planted in their place, and were later renamed key limes (Wikipedia).
So, is key lime pie a curd or custard? A curd is a spread made with citrus juice, egg yolks, and sugar. A curd is cooked fully on the stove until thick, then cooled. A custard is a milk or cream based dessert thickened with egg yolks. Like a curd, it too is cooked completely on the stove. There can be sweet custard (like our Coconut Cream) or savory ones (like a quiche). Key lime pie, however, is neither! It gets its smooth, silky texture from chemistry. The proteins present in the egg yolks and condensed milk curdle when combined with the acidic lime juice. The mixture will thicken without baking, but typically the filling is baked to pasteurize the eggs and further thicken the filling (Wikipedia). The Key Lime pie that we know today was created in 1940. The pie can be served with whipped cream (like ours!), meringue, or no topping. Traditionally the pie is baked in a graham cracker crust, but you could bake it in a traditional crust.
TL;DR: This pie is made of fruit, fruit is healthy, therefore, pie is healthy. Be good to your body and order a pie!