When I think of summertime, a few things come to mind. Sunshine, spending time in the water, fresh local foods, bright refreshing flavors, and time spent with awesome people. This 4th of July weekend was the epitome of summer, including all of the above. The day started out at the parade filled with kids sports teams, bands, antique bicycle riders, and traditional soldiers shooting off rifles — an iconic parade celebrating our county’s birthday. Afterwards, my mom and I packed up the car and headed for Maine. On our way up, our car received a nice free carwash from the spitting sky; however, we were pleasantly greeted by opening clouds and sunshine once we arrived to the lake. A night out wake boarding, wake skating, and wake surfing was followed by a delicious dinner.
I love cooking and baking for holiday’s because there always seems to traditions associated with each holiday. For me, I always think of bbq, fresh corn, strawberries, and blueberries on the 4th. Our night included all of the above. For dessert, I wanted to make something delicious, fresh, refreshing, and quick (I had not left myself very much time to make something sweet to bring up for dessert).
I decided to make a Summertime Key Lime Pie. This recipe couldn't be easier! I used a recipe by Emil Lagasse (my childhood obsession) as a guide. I first made a buttery graham cracker crust (I always forget how delicious and easy it is!), a creamy lime filling speckled with lime zest, topped with fresh vanilla whipped cream, and decorated with strawberries, blueberries, and lime wedges.
For the crust— [what I have always called my “Stick and a Stack” crust]
1 package of honey graham crackers (normally a box comes with 3 individual packages inside)
1 stick of salted butter
For the filling—
2, 14oz cans of sweetened condensed milk
zest of 2 limes
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the top-
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (chilled)
4 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 strawberries and 1/4 cup blueberries for decoration
For the crust-
1) Preheat the oven to 350. Melt the stick of butter in a pan over medium heat. Crush the graham crackers either in a food processor, or placed in a ziplock and then hit with a rolling pin or any large object (this can be a lot of fun!).
2) Mix the melted butter and crushed graham crackers in a small bowl. Press into a 8-inch pie pan or tart pan with a removable bottom. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until it starts to turn a light golden color. Remove and allow to cool.
For the filling-
3) Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Pour over the cooled pie shell. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until just set (when lightly shaken, the filling barely jiggles).
4) Remove from oven and allow to cool, then place in fridge.
5) Whip all of the ingredients together until soft peaks form. Spread or pipe onto chilled pie and then top with fruit and any other garnished (ie. fresh mint, lime wedges, or lime zest).
6) Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Enjoy! It’s epic(ly) delicious!