I doubt I can express how utterly, deliriously happy I am Spring is finally here and that Winter is officially over. Last Sunday we got an extra hour of daylight, a telltale sign the first official day of Spring is just right around the corner. As happy as I am about this season switch I have this terrible sinking feeling that after spring has come and gone summer will charge in like a raging bull, far hotter and more torturous than last year. You see, since mid January we've had suspiciously mild weather here in Bellingham, not the onslaught of gray, cold, dark, heavily rainy days we usually experience for months on end. It's been nice. What's more, it likely means our spring will be a bit warmer, sweeter, and bluer. While I can't complain about an extra lovely Spring, I have a feeling come July, I may be singing a different tune. I'm afraid it goes something like this; mild winter, sweeter spring, boiling summer. I'm going to forget about what may be on the horizon season wise, and enjoy the one (that has just arrived) at hand. Spring & Autumn are battling at the top of my favorite season list.
There couldn't be a better dessert than 'Layered Key Lime Pie' to share with you on this, the first day of Spring. A dessert has not been baked and eaten so quickly in this house in a very long time. It's divine. Yes, I just typed that. D-i-v-i-n-e. Tart. Creamy. Thick. Light. Crunchy. In other words, incredible. This is a Bon Appetit recipe I stumbled upon a while back when I finally got rid of many of the magazines piling up in my pantry, and by got rid of I mean read through and tore out every recipe I may want to make, and tossing the much thinner magazine carcass in the recycling bin. I should say this was a recipe featured in Bon Appetit years ago as I've made quite a few changes, restructuring one of the layers entirely. I'm going to give you my version, because I can't testify to the deliciousness of the original, but I can to this. This Layered Key Lime Pie would end any spring fling, dinner, party, or day sweetly. I promise you, it will also garner rave reviews from all who eat it. The crust is perfect. I'm so in love I think my next cheesecake will have to be wearing this crust like a coat. The addition of blended granola (I used a flax granola, yum!) and coconut to the plain old graham cracker dust of years past crusts makes all the difference. It comes out golden, crunchy, sweet, and a bit chewy. If I had to make one suggestion to future creators of this pie, it would be to add a bit more lime juice to both layers. Some thought the tartness in this pie was perfect, others would've preferred a bit more, I would say after it sat in the fridge overnight and the flavors intensified it was just about perfect. But, a bit more key lime juice never hurt anyone and surely will not hurt this pie. So I say, welcome spring, please stay a while (a long while) I've been waiting for you and I very much look forward to mild warm days, open toed shoes, and working in the garden. Oh, and if you get a chance, please tell your sister season Summer not to be out of control hot in a few months, I'd love to sing her praises too. Thank you!
Recipe: Layered Key Lime Pie
For the Crust: (I roughly doubled the crust to get extra high sides on my pie)
3/4 cup granola without any fruit, or nuts (I used a very crunchy kind with bits of flax seed mixed in, I like the flavor)
3/4 plain graham crackers
1/4 shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup melted salted butter
4 Tablespoons of sugar
For the Custard Layer:
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed key lime juice
3 egg yolks
3 Tablespoons of sugar
zest from one key lime
For the Chilled Layer:
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 extra thick whole fat sour cream (I used Amy's)
4 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup lime juice
5-6 Tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Crust: Preheat oven to 350 F. In the bowl of a food processor (or, I used the mini food processor that came with my hand blender) pulse granola until roughly ground up (you don't want dust, but not giant chunks either). Pour granola into medium sized bowl. Now, pulse graham crackers in food processor as well, until coarsely blended. (If you do not have a food processor a large plastic bag and a few good whacks with a rolling pin or other heavy object will do the job just fine). Transfer to bowl with granola. Add the coconut, butter and the sugar then mix well. Press into 9 inch springform baking pan (like a cheesecake pan, which is what I used). Bake for 8 minutes, the crust will just begin to turn a shade of golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Custard Layer: While the crust is cooling, juice your limes and make your custard. Super easy. Pour your lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, egg yolks, and zest into a bowl. Whisk until well incorporated, pour evenly over crust and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until custard has set. If need be, cover the top edges of your crust with tin foil. Remove from oven and allow to come to room temperature completely.
Chilled Layer: In the bowl on an electric mixer, or using handheld beaters, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla (leaving out the heavy cream), and mix until smooth and completely incorporated. While on medium speed, slowly pour in heavy cream. Once pie has come to room temp. spread chilled layer evenly over the custard layer. Cover and chill at least three hours.
To Serve: Whip up some of your leftover heavy cream with a bit of honey and spread on top of the whole shabang. I also garnished this with a light dusting of key lime zest. Cut into large pieces, and enjoy (trust me, you will!)