I made this for myself on my birthday last weekend. My oh my was it worth it! I have tried this recipe before I had the Kitchen Aid stand mixer and it never turned out right. I think you just can't get the speed you need from a hand mixer to make the whipping. This was my all-time favorite key lime pie thus far! It is much lighter than most key limes I have tasted and less tangy too. Keep in mind, though, it is not a traditional pie, it is a chiffon pie. It is soft, low fat (oh yeah) and light enough to not make you feel over-full after dinner.
It was at this point I knew I had to control myself. I didn't realize that I was making basically my own whipped cream. I don't put together ingredients and think to myself "oh this is making a whipped cream" because I don't know these things yet. You experiment and you learn. Let's just say that attachment went to the sink pretty darn clean! ;) It was so good! I also had a store-bought crust because I wasn't sure if this would turn out the same as last time (liquidy) or correctly like it did. Thankfully I can rest assured that next time the crust will be just as home-made.
Key Lime Chiffon Pie
Adapted from: Essentials of Healthful Cooking, Williams-Sonoma
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 tbsp unflavored gelatin (one packet) *
3/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks, beaten (keep the whites)
grated zest of 1 lime (about 1.5 tbsp)
1/4 cup nonfat condensed milk
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pour the lime juice into a small, nonreactive saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over top. Set aside about 5 minutes until gelatin softens. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar, egg yolks, and 1 tbsp of the zest. Place pan on medium heat and constantly stir until mixture steams but does not boil. This will take about 5 minutes and you can test that its done by dipping a spoon into the mixture and pulling it out. Run your finger down the back of the middle of the spoon. Your finger should leave a clean path that the filling does not flow back onto. Remove from heat, pour into a small glass dish and cover. Place in the fridge for 15-20 minutes stirring with a spatula a few times to make sure it doesn't congeal to the sides.
Towards the last 5 minutes of the lime juice mixture being in the fridge, take the 4 egg whites and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (shown above). Beat the egg whites on medium speed until very frothy, about 1-2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and continue beating until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Increase speed to high and gradually add the 1/2 cup of sugar 1 tbsp at a time. Allow the sugar to completely incorporate each addition, waiting about 10 seconds in between. When all the sugar has been added continue to beat an additional 2 minutes longer to form stiff peaks (picture shown above).
Using a rubber spatula, gently stir 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the gelatin. Then pour that mixture back onto the remaining egg white mixture and continue to fold with the spatula until no white streaks remain. spread the filling into pie crust and level with the spatula. I had quite a bit extra filling so you might not need all of it. Refrigerate 1-2 hours until filling has set and serve the day of. The recipe book notes that chiffon pies are best served the day that they are made.
* Unflavored gelatin is found with the jello packets in the baking isle. IT IS NOT VANILLA GELATIN! It says on the package "unflavored gelatin" and it is a common mistake for those who have never used it before. Take some time and look around for it.