National Key Lime Pie Day was back on September 26th… this made me happy because key lime pie is one of my very favorite desserts! To me it’s the perfect ending to a nice meal with its creamy texture and tart sweetness and that distinctive key lime flavor. I usually do not order dessert at a restaurant unless key lime pie is on the menu; then, I have no choice but to order it.
The key lime is a citrus hybrid that is native to Southeast Asia, and eventually made its way to Spain. The Spanish explorers brought the key lime to the West Indies and the Florida Keys. It is smaller than a Persian lime and is valued for its strong aromatics which can stand up to cooking and other flavors and scents in a dish.
Key lime juice is used not only in sweet desserts like key lime pie, but also in cocktails and marinades as well. Its acidity and flavor help to brighten and lift the overall flavor of the dish.
The first time I decided to make a key lime pie, I got the bag of key limes out of the fridge and got ready to stir it up! The recipe called for ½ cup of fresh key lime juice. No problem, I thought to myself: I have a bagful of these cute little limes. All I have to do is squeeze them until I get ½ cup. Have you ever tried to squeeze a key lime? They are full of seeds, and squeeze as hard as you can, you probably will only get about ¼ teaspoon of juice! There was no way I was going to get ½ cup of key lime juice that way.
Thank goodness for the internet because I found the perfect way to extract the juice from key limes. You cut them in half and use a garlic press to squeeze each half until you get the amount of juice you need. It works like a charm. The seeds stay in the press and the juice is ready to use however you like.
I love to squeeze the juice of one key lime over a glass of ice cubes, drop in about four or five fresh raspberries and pour in some sparkling mineral water. It is such a refreshing drink with just a hint of lime and a touch of sweetness from the raspberries.
Speaking of limes and raspberries, I have a really simple recipe called Lime-Raspberry Bites that I love to serve at buffet dinner gatherings. It is easy because you can make the filling ahead of time, and you use frozen mini phyllo pastry shells. These little bites are very pretty on a serving tray, and they are the perfect finger food.
- 1 8 0z. container soft light cream cheese
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. grated lime rind
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 (2.1 oz.) packages frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells, thawed
- 28 fresh raspberries
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Stir together light cream cheese, ½ cup powdered sugar, and next 2 ingredients in a small bowl. Spoon cream cheese mixture evenly into pastry shells. Top each with 1 raspberry. Dust evenly with 1 tsp. powdered sugar just before serving.
(Note: You can make the filling ahead of time, but it’s best not to fill the shells too far ahead, or they will become soggy.)
This recipe makes 28 tartlets. Each tartlet is 47 calories. I think that makes these a semi-guilt-free dessert as long as you don’t eat a whole trayful!
– Becky Lynn is a writer for EllisDownHome.com. She and her husband Bob enjoy spending time with their 8 grandchildren and traveling. Becky loves cranking up the music and heading to the kitchen to try out new recipes or cook for an upcoming party. She is passionate about continuing to be a life-long learner!