Hola! (and a pie recipe)

This weekend is full of opportunities to get in the kitchen and make something!  Derby Day AND Cinco de Mayo.  Bourbon AND tequila.  YES!  I was hoping to make a new Derby Day dessert but our week was busy with school and extracurricular activities.  Saturday morning was super hectic; Carrie had voice lessons then a theatre performance so there just wasn’t time.  Plus, it hasn’t stopped raining and I’m not even going to get started on what that does to my energy.

I’m not a hard-core, gotta celebrate Cinco de Mayo kind of person.  However, any chance to eat tacos, chips, salsa and guac is good enough reason for me to join in the festivities!  We’re planning to make tacos and have all the fixins.  Recently, I’ve been passing on the tortillas and making taco bowls using cauliflower rice as the base and topping it with all the good stuff.  I know, cauliflower is everywhere but it’s so good as a taco bowl base and adds a boost of healthy.  For dessert, it’s key lime pie and I’m not adding any cauliflower!

I am adding something new to my tried and true recipe.  A few weeks ago, I was talking with my friend Linda (Linda’s Other Life).  She and her family made key lime pie for Easter.  She told me her daughter-in-law added macadamia nuts to the crust.  Well, that certainly got my attention, so I added them to my graham cracker crust.  That’s one of the things I love about food, it truly connects us.  I feel more connected to Linda and her family by simply adding nuts to a crust.  It also gave me a way to slightly enhance my pie!

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I made my key lime pie this morning.  I’m including the recipe below and am attempting some step by step photos.  Again, it was raining and the lighting was not ideal.  Who cares?  It’s pie, it’s fun and I can’t wait for dessert time! Also, none of this is about perfection, it’s about doing something enjoyable.

This pie is so simple and, to be honest, I never made one until a couple years ago.  I was always afraid of it.  I found a couple of recipes online and it seemed simple, so I tried it.  Happy day for me!  Simple ingredients and quick preparation.

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Start with the crust.  Again, I’m adding chopped macadamia nuts to the graham cracker crumbs (thanks to Linda’s tip).  I gave them a rough chop because I want to see and taste them.  Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the nuts, sugar and melted unsalted butter and press into a pie dish.

While that’s baking, make the filling.  I start with beautiful, local egg yolks and lime zest.  Most of the time, I try to make all the ingredients for what I’m making.  Key lime pie really needs sweetened condensed milk and I just buy it.  If you can find key limes, then squeeze away!  I used a combination of key lime and regular lime juice.  Whip it all up and pour into the partially baked crust and bake a little longer to set it. Side note: see those pieces of macadamia nuts in the crust? I can’t wait!

When it cools a little, top it with whipped cream.  I start with a frozen bowl then whip heavy cream, a little sugar and vanilla until it’s thick.  You may like a little whipped cream on top so you can see the beautiful pie filling come through.  Personally, I like to have the whipped cream in every bite, so I pile it on!  It’s such a nice flavor with the tartness of the filling.

You can top it however you wish!  Get creative and let your key lime juices flow!  This pie is easy, delicious and always a crowd pleaser!  It’s perfect for Cinco de Mayo and any other day of the year.

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If you make it, please let me know how it turns out and if you have any other ideas to make it unique!  Adios!

From the heart,
Shannon

Key Lime Pie with Macadamia Nut Graham Cracker Crust
Serves 6-8 people and takes about an hour to prep and bake then another couple hours in the fridge. It’s creamy, tart and that crunchy crust is divine. I’ve also made this in a sheet pan and cut into squares for larger crowds.  However you make it, have fun!

Crust
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Filling
1 tablespoon lime zest
3 egg yolks
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened and condensed milk
3/4 cup lime juice (can be key limes, regular limes or the bottled key lime juice)

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar (more if you want it sweeter)
splash of vanilla

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Melt butter and chop macadamia nuts
3. Combine graham cracker crumbs, nuts, sugar, salt and butter in a bowl.
4. Put mixture in a 9-inch pie dish and press down with your hands and up the sides of the dish
5. Bake for 10 minutes

While cooling, make the filling
1. Mix egg yolks and lime zest with a mixer for 2 minutes
2. Add sweetened and condensed milk and mix for 3-4 minutes until thickened
3. Add lime juice and combine well
4. Pour mixture into pie crust and bake for 15 minutes until set
5. Let pie cool at room temp for about 30 minutes then place in fridge

Make the whipped cream (almost there!)
1. Whip cream, sugar and vanilla until nice and thick in a bowl that has been placed in the freezer
2. Once it’s the thickness you prefer, taste it for sweetness.  You can also add a dollop to your coffee while you’re finishing up the pie…just an idea!
3. Top key lime filling with whipped cream, sliced limes, lime zest and store in the fridge until ready to serve Enjoy!

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