We just returned from Miami, where we enjoyed the warmth, good coffee and the key lime pie, a staple of the region. Key lime pie is a custard pie made from tiny key limes (or often the more common Persian limes that most of us deal with) condensed milk, eggs and with a graham cracker crust. The use of condensed milk was born out of the lack of refrigeration in the area until the 1930s! Apparently, actually using real key limes is somewhat rare, since many of them were actually destroyed in the 1926 hurricane which devastated Southern Florida. Who knew? Despite key lime pies being available throughout the country (even in Brooklyn), when we visit South Florida we have to sample some of the classics.
The first pie in the area we sampled was in Key West, at the aptly named Key West Key Lime Pie Company (511 Greene Street, Key West, FL). There are a ton of companies touting Key Lime pie in Key West, but we heard this was the best around (YMMV). The store was shockingly key lime green, which, to be honest, made us want to go inside even more. The only thing for sale were key lime pies and variants of pies, like chocolate-covered pie slices on a stick, and key lime paraphernalia and postcards. We brought back a whole pie and shared it with our friends K and M in Miami, and the pie was great! It was tart and creamy filling (not gel-like as versions some can be) and with a cookie crust. Back in Miami, we also tasted key lime pie from Keys Fisheries (3502 Gulfview Avenue, Marathon, FL). Though made in the keys, these pies are also available from Whole Foods stores in the Miami area. This was an excellent key lime pie, with a pale, creamy filling and a sweet graham cracker crust. We really loved both of these Keys-made pies, and it has inspired us to make one of our own, hopefully soon, to re-capture some of the warm weather. Do you have any favorite key lime pie bakeries or recipes?