The best Key Lime Pie in the Keys, here are our top five choices.
This past year Jack and I have been traveling throughout the state of Florida searching for the best sweets in the state for my upcoming book Florida Sweets.
One of the sweetest road trips we took was tasting our way through the Florida Keys looking for the best Key Lime Pie.
No one can say for sure when the very first Key lime pie was made, but one theory puts it in the late 1800s with Miss Sally, a cook for an early Key West millionaire, William Curry. She used her culinary knowhow to create a dessert using a lemon pie recipe as a guide. Or did she get the idea from the sponge divers long at sea, with a list of rations including crackers for a crust, eggs, sweetened condensed milk and Key limes for the filling? Most likely a combination of the two led to the early popularity of Key lime pie. The high acid content in the Key lime helps to “cook” the yolks in a classic yet nontraditional manner through chemical reactions that change the texture of the yolk. This would work well while at sea, without any heat for cooking the custard-like filling. Canned milk eliminated the need for refrigeration or ice on the boat. Graham crackers, created by Sylvester Graham in the 1880s, are commonly used today for the crust, but crushed soda crackers or any cracker on board may have been used for the crust in the pie made on the open waters. Rolling out a pie crust, whipping up a meringue topping and baking the pie would most likely occur in a home kitchen. With Miss Sally’s knowledge of cooking, she could have heard about the combination from the sponge divers or just tinkered with pie recipes to develop the famous Key lime pie. But one thing is for sure: it is the unique combination of egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk and Key lime juice that has the culinary lock on one of the most perfect sweets in Florida, possibly the most popular authentic American dessert. Florida Sweets