Key lime pie

By Linda Morel, JTA, recipe courtesy "The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy" by Paula Shoyer

Three-Step Prep, Doable But Requires Planning

Although this classic American dessert is usually made with condensed milk, Shoyer went through several stages of experimentation to achieve creamy results using only pareve ingredients. Her recipe calls for regular limes.

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  • 4 tablespoons pareve margarine
  • 2 cups ground walnuts (walnuts can be purchased ground or can be prepared from 4 cups of walnut halves ground in a food processor but not as fine as flour)
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 8- or 9-inch pie pan


  • 5 large eggs, plus 3 yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 7 limes, or 14 Key limes (which are smaller than regular limes)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) pareve margarine
  • 1 drop green food coloring, optional

Meringue Topping:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Candy thermometer
  • 2 large egg whites


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust: Place the margarine in a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat for 45 seconds or until melted. Add the walnuts and brown sugar; mix until combined. Place this mixture into the pie pan and press to cover the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave the oven on.

To make the lime cream filling: Place the eggs, yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl and set over a medium saucepan with simmering water (or use a double boiler). Zest 3 of the regular limes (6 of the Key limes) and add to the bowl. Stir to combine. Juice the 3 zested limes, plus the remaining 4 limes (or 8 Key limes) to obtain about 1/2 cup of juice. Then stir juice into the egg and sugar mixture. Cook uncovered over simmering water for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a thick mixture forms. Be patient and do not stir too much. If the water in the saucepan or double boiler boils too fast, turn down the heat. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the margarine in small pieces until the lime cream is smooth. Add the green food coloring, if using, and stir.

Pour the lime cream into the prepared crust and smooth. Place the pie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the outside edges of the lime cream are set (the inside can remain wobbly). Let cool and then place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

To make the meringue topping: In a small heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches 230 degrees on the candy thermometer. You can dip a pastry brush in water and wipe down the sides of the pot, if any sugar crystals appear on the sides. While the sugar is cooking, in a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff. When the sugar is ready, turn the mixer speed to low and then slowly pour the cooked sugar into the bowl, down the side of the bowl, not directly onto the wire whisk. When all of the sugar has been poured in, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 1 minute, until the meringue is thick and shiny.

Use a silicone spatula to spread the meringue all over the top of the pie. You can use a blowtorch to lightly brown the top or place the pie in a 450-degree oven for a few minutes, watching the entire time until the top browns. Chill in the refrigerator. Pie can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. Yield: 8 servings