The Key Lime Mystique

Key lime pie lovers are often a stubborn group who think that the pie is only delicious when made with the true Ping-Pong-ball-size Key limes, rather than from concentrate or the common Persian variety found in every supermarket. I believe that Key lime pie fundamentalists have never actually made the pie, and most likely couldn’t tell the difference. My friend Charles recently wrote a hilarious piece for F&W about trying to buy his father, a self-proclaimed Key lime connoisseur, a dwarf Key lime tree. You’ll have to wait for the November issue to read what happens, but in the end, it more or less proves my point.

On Saturday, I made my boyfriend’s father a birthday Key lime pie (his favorite) for the second year in a row. Last year, wringing juice from 30 of those nubby little Key limes, a half-teaspoon at a time, took me all the way through No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom album (perhaps the best cooking music, ever). This year, I opted to buy regular limes and spend that extra time having a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich with a friend. The lime squeezing this year took all of four limes and five minutes. And because I was too lazy to pull out a mini food processor, I beat a package of graham crackers with an ice cream scoop (I don’t have a meat pounder) until I had the requisite cup or so of crumbs for the crust.

I told my boyfriend not to blow my cover about the fake Key limes. “Let’s not lie,” I said. “But let’s only tell the truth if directly asked.”

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