I’m an Iowa girl…
Ever since I can remember, my family would travel to Florida for Spring Break. My parents love it there…they love it so much they actually bought a condo a few years ago and snow bird over the Winter months. Must be nice to be retired, right?
We are West Coast Florida people…specifically the Bonita Springs/Naples area. We love how relaxed it is, and of course, you can’t beat the weather. One of our very favorite spots is called Captiva Island, a quaint tiny island with some of the most beautiful beach homes you will ever see. Captiva is a little piece of heaven…it’s actually not fancy at all, the beach is okay, but there is something so special about it. Perhaps it’s just far away from everything, the people are nice and life seems pretty simple there.
Oh… and they have the best KEY LIME PIE EVER!!!
Sorry, I had to scream it. There’s a tiny joint called the Key Lime Bistro and their key lime pie is to die for…I’ve been going to Florida since I was in the womb and I have tasted more key lime pies than I can count so I can confidently assure you…it’s the best damn pie around.
I’ve been missing Florida…
So I decided to recreate my own key lime pie at home! It may not look as fancy as Key Lime Bistro’s, but it tastes pretty darn close to the real deal. See…key lime pie is a little tough because it has some seriously strong ingredients…like sweetened condensed milk and lime juice…and a lot of it.
It can be very tart and very sweet…which I might argue is normal of a key lime pie, but I also think there has to be a balance which is exactly why this recipe is so damn good.
The heart of the pie…the key lime pie portion, is simply sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and sour cream. OMG so easy. The topping is what we have to worry about when making a key lime pie – it either makes the pie amazing and delicious or it totally fails it. It can either be too sweet or too tart making the entire pie unbearable to eat. A ton of recipes call for adding lime zest or lime juice to the whipped cream and a ton of sugar – that just won’t work on a key lime pie. My topping is simply whipped cream, a little cream cheese, a tiny bit of confectioners sugar and vanilla. It’s light and airy and pairs so well with the sweet tart pie. I think the cream cheese also gives it a nice creamy texture and helps lighten the sweetness and tartness of the pie.
And let’s not forget about the graham cracker crust which is essential in any key lime pie. Keep it simple…I love graham cracker crust so mine is a little thicker but who doesn’t love buttered up graham crackers?
Don’t forget to pin this recipe on Pinterest by clicking the image below!
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I buy the boxed kind)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2, 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¾ cup lime juice (about 4-5 large limes)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream, make sure it's chilled
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the crust, add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir until crumbs are moistened. Press into a 9 inch pie pan, using the back of a measuring cup to make sure it's flat. Bake for 7-8 minutes; set aside.
- To make the filling, mix all the ingredients in a bowl, and then pour into pie crust. Bake for 7 minutes; remove and let cool completely.
- To make the whipped cream topping, add heavy whipping cream to your mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment (can use handheld mixer too) and whip on medium to medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Next, add cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar and mix on high speed until thickened - this should happen quickly and careful to not over-whip.
- Spread whipped cream on cooled pie then refrigerate overnight. Garnish with lemon zest if desired.