Key Lime Pie with Ginger Almond Crust

IMG_3965I inherited some limes from my workplace's Frozen Drink Friday happy hour, and made a key lime pie. This is probably my first deliberate endeavor into slightly more gluten-free baking. I had some almond flour left over from my macaron-making adventures (which turned out to be quite dissatisfactory, and is the reason why no mention of it has been made) and decided to incorporate it into the key lime pie, which traditionally has a graham cracker crust. I also happened to have some ginger at home, which is probably one of my favorite spices which unfortunately gets little use in my kitchen. I grated some into the crust mixture, and voila – spicy, nutty, tart flavor explosion.

What you see here though, was actually my second attempt at a key lime pie using this recipe. For my first attempt, I tried to avoid using condensed milk and used rehydrated powdered milk instead but that didn't end up so well.

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The pie filling was crumbly and powdery, and nothing like the silky texture I was hoping for. But I knew I found a winner with the ginger almond crust and I simply had to try again, even if it meant going to the store and buying a can of condensed milk for the express purpose of this pie. (And you know I’m not terribly fond of purchasing recipe-specific ingredients since it leads to wastage.)

Fortunately my second attempt turned out much better. The pie filling, with its simplicity of ingredients, really is fail-proof. It’s smooth and tart, and contrasts well with the nutty crust. I like that the crust is not just a base for holding the pie filling, but actually contains a unique flavor of its own. Its texture is a little chewy, somewhat resembling a granola bar. It is modifiable to be entirely gluten-free if you so desire, but not in an overt way that might put off food purists.

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Key Lime Pie with Ginger Almond Crust
Makes one 9-inch pie

Crust
1/2 cup almond flour/meal
1/2 cup all purpose flour (Feel free to use all almond flour or change around the proportions a little bit as long as you use 1 cup of flour eventually)
2 tbsp butter, softened.
1.5 tbsp fresh grated ginger root
2 tbsps honey
30g brown sugar

Heat oven to 350 F. Line an 9-inch round pan with parchment paper, or use a pie dish if you have one. Mix all the ingredients together into a clumpy mix. Use your hands to mix it more evenly, if necessary. Press into the base of round pan. Bake for 10 minutes until edges of the crust is very lightly browned. Leave to cool.

Pie Filling
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp grated lime zest
1/2 cup lime juice (I used the juice of two large limes)
1 (14 oz) can of condensed milk

Mix egg yolks, lime zest, and lime juice. When mixture is homogenous, stir in condensed milk. Pour mixture into crust and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. The pie filling should still be glossy and wet. Let it cool out of the oven, and then refrigerate at least a couple of hours so the pie filling sets.

Greek Yogurt Key Lime Pie

I’m so pleased that I found a key lime pie recipe that doesn’t involve excessive amounts of condensed milk. In fact, this one is primarily made out of Greek yogurt, a protein-packed powerhouse. I had a tub of Greek yogurt sitting in the fridge, and as I perused the weekly circulars, I saw that limes were going on sale at 5 for $1. (This is how I generally decide what to make. a) what I have in the pantry; b) what I can buy cheaply.) I put two and two together, and brainwave – I shall make a key lime pie! I did some digging around, and found this recipe from Obama Foodorama, a blog dedicated to the food initiatives of the White House. No surprises that they found a way to make a healthier key lime pie!

I didn’t actually use key limes, but regular limes worked fantastic too. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the recipe. A lot of key lime pies require some kind of artificial or unhealthful ingredient, like gelatin, sweetened condensed milk or key lime-flavored yogurt – but the stiffer texture of Greek yogurt was sufficient to hold the filling together. I also invented a crust made out of an unconventional ingredient – not graham crackers, but bran flakes. I know, bran flakes in your pie crust might sound a little suspect, but with the addition of butter and sugar and a quick bake in the oven, it came out caramelized with a nice toothsome chew. You’re not going to mistake it for a graham cracker crust, but it held its own against the smooth tangy creaminess of the pie filling.

Try this recipe. You won’t regret it. (And at 139 calories for 1/12th of a 9-inch pie, you can have your pie and eat it too!)

Greek Yogurt Key Lime Pie
Adapted from Obama Foodorama
Makes 1 9-inch pie

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups bran flakes crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1½ cups Greek yogurt
4 large egg yolks
½ cup key lime juice or regular lime juice, fresh-squeezed if possible
2 Tablespoons honey
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Method
For the Crust:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Stir bran flakes crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl until combined. Then press mixture evenly into bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie plate.

3. Bake crust 10 minutes, then remove from oven to cool.

For the Filling:
1. Whisk together yogurt, egg yolks, honey, and sugar; add juice and whisk until well combined.

2. Pour filling into crust, and bake for 20 minutes in 350°F oven (mixture will not be firm).

3. Cool and refrigerate overnight. (I highly recommend waiting overnight; it still tastes good if you wait only 4 hours but slices are not going to hold up.)

White Chocolate Raspberry Pie

How this pie came about was really simple. I was looking at my usual roster of baking blogs, and I had left a blog up where there was a link to a “White Chocolate Raspberry Tart.” And that’s how it all began.

I didn’t have a pie dish, and coincidentally, pie crusts were on sale at the supermarket so I got one. Surprisingly, acquiring fresh berries isn’t difficult at all in the middle of winter. The recipe that I was inspired by was this one, but I thought the filling was too finicky and too calorific. I don’t have a sieve, I don’t have good white chocolate, I don’t even have a decent crust. I’ll just make something up!

And so I did. I bought a box of instant vanilla pudding from Trader Joe’s, and folded in some whipped cream for lightness. Not surprisingly, the pie collapsed on me – which is why there are no pictures of the sliced pie. The pie crust didn’t hold together, and the filling was too gooey. It was quite delicious, though, for a quick fix of the dessert that it is.

White Chocolate Raspberry Pie
Makes one 9 inch pie

1 9 inch pie crust
1 box of vanilla pudding; serves 4 1/2 cup servings
1 cup of heavy cream, whipped
3/4 cup of white chocolate, melted and cooled
1 pint of raspberries

Make vanilla pudding as instructed on box. Add melted white chocolate to pudding. Add half of whipped cream to mixture and mix. Pour into pie crust. Layer remaining whipped cream onto pie filling. Top pie with raspberries. Chill for at least an hour, or not if you can’t wait.

I imagine that this combination would translate easily into a trifle, which is a lot less fussy. For a single serving dessert, just crumble some cookies into the base of a glass and add in vanilla pudding, white chocolate chips and raspberries in layers. I’m sure raspberry jam would go beautifully in the dessert too.