Classic key lime pie with meringue topping recipe

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Classic key lime pie with meringue topping is an all-American dessert recipe. The fluffy meringue with a crisp shell sits on a tart key lime base with a delicious biscuit base.

Classic key lime pie
(Image credit: www.timeincukcontent.com)
Serves10–12
SkillMedium
Total Time1 hours
Cost RangeNot

This classic key lime pie has been given a little twist with a crisp, toasted meringue topping instead of the usual cream. 

It's the perfect combination of sweet and sharp, with the sugary meringue offsetting the lovely tartness of the lime creme. It makes a really refreshing dessert that everyone will enjoy, so it's perfect for serving up at a family get-together or dinner party. Don't be daunted by the idea of making your own meringue - it's really not that difficult, and the results are really impressive. We have simply crisped up the edges quickly under a medium grill, so you don't even need a blow torch to finish the pie off (though feel free to use it instead if you have one).

Ingredients

  • 300g digestive biscuits
  • 125g unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Zest and juice 6 limes
  • 1x400g can condensed milk
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 175g caster sugar

WEIGHT CONVERTER

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Method

  1. Heat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4. Crush the biscuits to a fine crumb in a food processor, then pour into a bowl and add the melted butter. Mix thoroughly, then spread over the base and sides of a loose-based flan tin. Bake for 10 mins, then leave to cool.
  2. Turn the oven down to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas 3½. Beat the egg yolks with the lime zest until creamy and pale. Pour in the condensed milk and whisk until thickened. Mix in the lime juice in two additions. Pour into the pie dish and bake for 15-20 mins.
  3. Using an electric whisk, mix the egg whites on a low speed until stiff. Turn up the speed gradually, then add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Mix well between each spoonful. Spoon over the middle of the pie and place under a medium grill for 3 mins or until browned.

Top tip for making classic key lime pie with meringue topping

Make sure to mix the biscuit crumbs and butter well so it really sticks and doesn't fall apart when serving.

What's the secret to perfect meringues?

It's all in the egg whites. Make sure your eggs are fresh and that no part of the yolk - even the tiniest bit - gets into the whites. Whisk them in a clean bowl dry bowl. Any oily residue in the bowl can prevent them whisking properly.

Can you over whisk meringues?

Yes - over whipping the whites can change the texture, so be sure to whisk them just to the point that they stand in stiff peaks, no more. However, with this type of pudding, where the meringue is simply heated under the grill, it's not as essential as when they are baked slowly for a long time in the oven.

Why is called a key lime pie?

Key limes are a type of lime from the Florida Keys - they are usually smaller and yellower than more common Persian limes. Plus they tend to be slightly less tart. However, you can use any limes you can find for this pie - it will taste delicious either way.

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Octavia Lillywhite
Food and Lifestyle Writer

Octavia Lillywhite is an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist with over 15 years of experience. With a passion for creating beautiful, tasty family meals that don’t use hundreds of ingredients or anything you have to source from obscure websites, she’s a champion of local and seasonal foods, using up leftovers and composting, which, she maintains, is probably the most important thing we all can do to protect the environment.