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Cute little Key lime pies

Time1 hour
YieldsServes 8
Cute little Key lime pies
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
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Jen Mai isn’t normally a fan of key lime pie, but that changed after one bite of the cute mini-version served at Fishing With Dynamite in Manhattan Beach. We agree. And while it may not be a Key lime pie in the most traditional sense — there are passionate arguments about whether the pie should be topped with whipped cream or meringue, and whether the crust should be flour-based or the more crumbly graham cracker, not to mention whether the filling should include eggs or the more classic condensed milk — if this creates another fan, we approve. Plus, it’s adorable. Think of it as a little gateway pie.

Graham cracker crust

1

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and set aside to cool slightly.

2

In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press the dough into each of eight (4-inch) tart shells.

3

Bake the crusts until set and lightly colored, about 6 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

Key lime filling

1

Whisk together the Key lime juice, sugar and eggs in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens to a custard, about 8 minutes. Be careful to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan while cooking so the mixture doesn’t curdle on the edges. Remove from heat.

2

Strain the custard into a bowl, then cover the surface with plastic wrap and set aside to cool. When the custard comes to room temperature, add the butter and use a hand blender to blend the mixture until it is silky smooth. Divide the filling among the prepared crusts and refrigerate until set, 4 to 6 hours.

Key lime pie

1

Combine the water, sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan, then cook over medium heat until a thermometer inserted reaches 240 degrees. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites in a stand mixer or large bowl until frothy.

2

Remove the sugar from heat and slowly, with the mixer running, beat the sugar into the egg whites until the meringue becomes cool and holds a stiff peak.

3

Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the meringue, and pipe the meringue, in small peaks, onto the tops of the pies.

4

Use a crème brûlée torch or blowtorch to brown the tips of the meringue. The pies can also be quickly placed under the broiler to brown the tips.

5

Garnish the tops of the pies with lime zest and serve immediately.

Adapted from a Fishing With Dynamite recipe. It calls for small tart pans, which can be found at select baking and cooking supply stores, as well as online.