I inherited my love of making pies from my mom. Over the years, I have watched her make dozens of crusts, slice hundreds of apples, and nestle buckets of freshly-picked black raspberries still warm from the summer sun into many a pie plate. My mom taught me not to be afraid of the process. Yes, it involves a few steps, but the end result is always stunning albeit tasty.
This pie is my go-to, “I-can-whip-this-together-in-no-time” dessert. I love that it can be made the same day or a day in advance with ingredients that are easy to find. The best part is that it tastes like you spent hours making it.
You absolutely must use fresh-squeezed lime juice (no bottled citrus allowed!) The flavor of lime is so bright and springy, and it pairs incredibly well with the nutty, buttery flavors of the crust. But, my favorite contrast is the vanilla bean whipped cream. It adds an airy, light texture to the whole ensemble. I also appreciate any dessert that has flecks of real vanilla sprinkled throughout.
This pie is a definite crowd-pleaser. In fact, when I take it to a gathering or party, someone almost always requests the recipe. My favorite compliment thus far came from my sister-in-law, Sara. As she bit into a slice of this pie she said, “You know, Nicole, the true reason I married Stephen (my brother) was for your desserts.” 😉 Thanks, Sara!
pay de limón con corteza crujiente de coco
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Coconut-Pecan Graham Cracker Crust
1 ¾ cups graham crackers (12 sheets), crushed
1/3 cup shredded coconut (natural or sweetened)*
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup pecans
7 TBSP butter, melted
→Preheat the oven to 400°F.
→Put graham cracker sheets, coconut, sugar, and pecans in a food processor. Pulse until blended. The coconut should be well-incorporated with the graham cracker. However, don’t blend for too long or your crust will be doughy.
→Pour the melted butter into the food processor. Pulse again until the butter is incorporated.
→Pour the contents into a 9.5” glass pie plate. I like to use a drinking glass with a flat bottom to press down the crust and up the sides. I think this creates a really clean-looking crust.
→Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Sometimes when I pull the crust out of the oven it is slightly puffy in the middle. I like to take the drinking glass and press the crust down while it is still warm.
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
5 egg yolks (preferably from organic eggs)
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 4-5 regular limes)
1 ½ tsp lime zest (from 1-2 limes)
→Preheat oven to 325°F.
→Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks for 1-2 minutes. I like to do this in my stand mixer on low speed so I don’t incorporate too much air. Whisk in mascarpone cheese until well-incorporated. Stir in heavy whipping cream and lime juice. Stir in lime zest.
→Pour into prepared crust and bake for 25-30 minutes. The center should jiggle slightly when removed from the oven.
→Cool to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3-4 TBSP powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
→In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, blend the whipping cream on high speed. After a few minutes, it should begin to form soft peaks.
→Add the powdered sugar. If you like your whipped cream on the sweeter side, add the 4 TBSP. Incorporate on high speed.
→Add the vanilla extract and vanilla bean “caviar” (oily seeds). Blend. I like my whipped cream to be on the stiffer side, but be careful not to overmix. You don’t want to turn it into butter.
- I recently started using the organic shredded coconut sold at Trader Joe’s. I think it creates a crispier crust, and I like controlling the amount of sugar I add to a recipe.
- The crust will shrink somewhat in the oven, so make sure you press it all the way up the sides of the dish.
- Don’t even bother making this pie if you aren’t going to use fresh-squeezed lime juice. The flavor will not be the same.
- Trader Joe’s sells mascarpone cheese for a decent price.
- The shell can be made ahead of time. Just be sure that it is not exposed to humidity.
- I make my own vanilla extract, and I’m always looking for to reuse the beans. They still contain so much flavor. This is one way I like to recycle them. Simply take a used extract bean and scrape the oily seeds from the inside. Add them to the whipped cream. You could also use the seeds from half of a regular vanilla bean.
Recipe Source: Adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody