Key lime pie, popular in Key West and other parts of Florida, is made with the Key lime that grows in that state. The Key lime also grows in California and Texas, where it is known as a Mexican lime. Nowadays, you find Key lime pie listed on menus all over the United States, but real Key limes are seldom used. Key limes are distinctive, about the size of a Ping-Pong ball. They have a thin yellow-green rind, and the juice is less astringent and more fragrant than that of regular limes. If you can’t get fresh Key limes, use bottled Key lime juice.
Finely grind the sugar cones in a food processor. Place them in a bowl with the butter and stir until combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of a
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, eggs, and sugar until combined. Whisk in the Key lime juice and salt. Pour into a medium, heavy nonreactive sauce pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant plastic or wooden spatula until thick, about 8 minutes. The curd is done when you can briefly see the bottom of the pan as you stir it. Cool over an ice bath. Whip the cream until soft peaks form and fold it into the curd. Pour the Key lime cream into the prepared pie shell. Freeze for at least 4 hours until hard.
In a bowl, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until firm peaks form. Fold in the macadamia nuts.
The pie can be made and frozen up to 2 days ahead. Cover well with plastic wrap. The cream topping can be whipped and refrigerated up to 3 hours ahead. Just before serving, rewhip the cream slightly until firm and fold in the macadamia nuts.
Spread the cream over the top of the pie. Serve immediately.
© 2006 Emily Luchetti. All rights reserved.