Last summer, Sam and I visited Charleston for the first time. And we were immediately smitten. The food, the people, the history, the charm! Our very first night in the Charleston, we hopped in an Uber and asked our driver to take us to a restaurant we had heard rave reviews about. BUT our driver insisted that we try one of his favorite spots instead. So we always lean on the locals, and we let him drop us off at some spot he loved down at the end of a long cobblestone-paved alley. Now I may not have come home with the name of that place, but I did most certainly come home with memories of the best key lime pie I'd ever eaten. And that was all there was to it. I wanted to create my own recipe for a chilled, creamy key lime pie - similar to the one I enjoyed in Charleston that first night!
My Charleston Key Lime Pie is rich and tart like key lime pie should be. Sweet flaked coconut is stirred into the homemade buttery graham crust that sends this pie over the moon! It's easy. It's chilled. And it hits the spot on these muggy summer nights!
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CHARLESTON KEY LIME PIE
Makes one 9” pie
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
⅓ cup sweetened coconut flakes
⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup salted butter, melted
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon lime zest
¾-1 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice
1 teaspoon coconut extract
⅓ cup powdered sugar
1 drop green + 2 drops yellow food coloring, optional
OPTIONAL WHIPPED CREAM
1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon coconut extract
Fresh lime slices and mint for garnish
In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, coconut flakes, and sugar; stir in melted butter and mix until combined. Press into the bottom and sides of an 8 ½-9” pie dish. Chill in the freezer.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the condensed milk, lime zest, lime juice, and coconut extract. With mixer on low, stir in the food coloring. Stir in ⅓ cup powdered sugar. Pour filling into chilled crust and return to the freezer for 2 hours or until set.
When ready to serve, remove pie from freezer, cut and plate slices while it's still firm-ish, and allow slices to stand at room temperature for several minutes while you make the whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla; whisk together on medium high until thick and creamy.
Dollop each slice of pie with whipped cream and garnish with a slice of lime.
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