Key West Florida is famous for two things: the Ernest Hemingway house (with its 6 toed cats) and Key lime pie, named after limes which grow in the Florida keys. A favorite American dessert made with Key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks, the conventional”Conch version” uses the egg whites to make a meringue topping. Key limes are smaller tart and aromatic than the common limes we purchase yearlong in grocery shops and grown abundantly in different regions of California and Florida. Key lime juice is yellow, which, along with the egg yolks, produces the pale color of the filling.
Appearing in the early 20th century the exact origins are unknown, but the earliest recorded mention of Key lime pie may have been made a ship salvager, by William Curry and Key West’s first millionaire. It appears his crews of sponge fishermen at sea didn’t have access to ovens but the original version allowed the pie to be ready without baking. Early writings state that Aunt Sally’s version called for a graham cracker crust and softly whipped cream.
Bakers and many cooks in Florida claim their recipe is the only authentic version. Be that as it may, the filling is rarely disputed the crust revolve around and topping. Everyone does agree, however, that green food coloring is for amateurs, and a version should be yellow. Key limes (also called Mexican or West Indian limes) are the most common lime found across the world; the U.S. is the exception in preferring the larger Persian lime.
Both versions that are contentious center around topping and crust. Raccoon Removal vacillate between graham cracker and pie crust, although early pies probably did have a crust. And then there is the topping. (Apparently these people have a whole lot of time on their hands.) Contrary to popular belief, what makes the filling creamy is not cream at condensed milk that’s thicker than evaporated milk and comes in a can, first introduced in the late 1800s by the Borden Dairy company. It’s possible that if the sponge divers had anything to do with the pie, they indeed had plenty of canned eggs, milk and Key limes on board (and plenty of sponges for clean-up).
In other states they are used more commonly in many dishes and as a favorite flavoring. Which means president Thomas Jefferson missed out completely. (How he would have loved these pies!)
Pie factories and bakeries abound if you visit Key West, and you can literally eat your way deciding which one you like best and reveling in the various offerings. There are also shops which sell dozens of products such as candies, potpourri, candles, soaps, moisturizers and cookies. For much of America, procuring important limes that are authentic is not always simple, and using regular limes just won’t do. Oh sure, you can purchase but for some it’s much better than nothing.
Starting in 2013, the yearly Key Lime Festival is held for a celebration of their favorite citrus over the July 4th weekend not only but in a valuable part of their, drinks, and different foods. Certainly their pie is taken by these aficionados and expect no less from anyone else. And by the way, don’t even think about using topping. The cream police will find you and have you arrested.