Spring seems to have arrived here in the midwest. The Cleveland pear trees are in full bloom, our old aluminum canoe has been launched into the lake behind our house for the summer, and the kids have already begun to fish for blue gill and bass, both from the dock and the ‘ol canoe. A lovely goose sits on a feathery nest just behind our home while her mate floats dutifully, day in and day out, in the lake nearby, keeping guard while she nurtures the eggs beneath her. These signs of spring beckon me to shift from preparing comforting fare like braised beef short ribs and homey pasta e fagioli to lighter and brighter menus. Just last weekend we fired up our Big Green Egg (an amazing ceramic outdoor cooker that works as a grill, smoker, and oven!) and prepared Adam Perry Lang’s Glazed Pork Loin with Cilantro and Garlic from Serious Barbecue (not the first or last time we’ll make this great recipe), homemade applesauce, also from Adam Perry Lang, grilled zucchini and yellow squash, and this delicious gluten free key lime pie. Friends brought a fresh baby spinach and berry salad and fruit skewers to round out the menu. It was a beautiful “welcome to Spring” kind of evening, the sounds of kids laughing in the yard, long overdue.
It’s the crust in most any key lime pie recipe that needs modification to make it gluten free. Typically key lime pie crust is made with crushed up graham crackers, which are definitively made of whole wheat flour – a gluten free no no. Now that there are several great brands of gluten free graham crackers and animal crackers on the market, you can truly pick your favorite. I have tried several brands with this recipe and they all worked perfectly. The goal is to find the right texture in your cracker crumb, butter, sugar mixture for the crust to come together easily. Don’t be afraid to play around with the butter amount, adding more or less, to reach a texture similar to the first picture in the collage above. It looks sandy and crumbly, but when pushed into the pie pan, it easily comes together and hugs the sides of the pan.
Once the crust is baked there are literally only four ingredients to mix up for the filling before the pan hits the oven again, but only briefly. This dessert could not be easier to put together and it holds up well in the refrigerator for several days (without whipped cream) so you can get a jump start on your menu planning. It just might be the perfect dessert for that Mother’s Day brunch you are hosting. Wink, wink.
- 1½ cups gluten free graham cracker crumbs. I have used both Schar honeygrahams (entire 5.6 oz box) and Mi-Del Gluten Free Arrowroot Animal Cookies (most of the 8 oz box) processed in the food processor to make crumbs)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- pinch of kosher salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 4 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
- ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4-5 regular limes)
- ¾ cup chilled heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
- In a small bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and salt. Press eventy into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" glass pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until crust begins to brown lightly. Remove to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- Whisk egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice in a medium sized bowl until thoroughly blended. Pour into baked crust and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks, add confectioner's sugar and beat again just until stiff peaks form. Remove pie from refrigerator and top with whipped cream. Cut into 6-8 slices and serve!
I’m sharing this recipe on the weekly blog hop, Allergy Free Wednesday. Check it out, it’s a great place to get new ideas for allergy friendly recipes.