Now everyone has heard of key limes, but around here they still count as a “dangerous food,” because they’re not something that often sits beside the lettuce and tomatoes in the produce section. Except for last week, of course, when I found a bag of them sitting beside the lettuce and tomatoes in the produce section. I snapped them up.
Key limes in photo smaller than they appear (daughter’s hands are small)
Because the little greeners are famous for being used in pies, I imagined that they were a sweeter version of the regular sized limes I knew (these ones are about the size of golf balls). I eagerly sliced one open and licked it, expecting to find the Tropicana version of a lime, only to find that they were actually more tart and sour than a regular lime. It turns out that key limes are the Joe Pesci of the fruit world – irresistibly cute, but with an acid tang that bites you back when you least expect it. But, I’m funny how? I mean, funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you?
I prepared them a few days ago when my husband and I were waiting to go out for dinner for our 7th anniversary. Phil isn’t a big fan of desserts, but he has always liked a good lemon meringue, so although I usually like to prepare my weird foods in a different way from the stereotype (ie. NOT making key limes into key lime pie) I decided that in this case he would be happy to be eating anything in partnership with a beer while we were kid-free, so I went with what I knew he would like best of all to kiss up to him for our anniversary – a key lime appy in a shooter glass.
Very romantically, I fussed with the ingredients while he watched The Dark Knight and drank beer (and I wasn’t completely innocent on the beer front, cards on table). Would have worked out better if he had been watching a Joe Pesci movie, but life isn’t always so carefully choreographed. He advised how I should crack the eggs to make the meringue…
…and like the good wife of 7 years that I am, I completely disobeyed his advice, rolled my eyes, and cracked the eggs in my own fashion.
Here’s the recipe I found that inspired the idea for the shot glass desserts, although what I actually did was significantly simpler (not going to an insane amount of trouble for a shot glass sized dessert!), described below:
Joe Pesci Key Lime Shooter-Pies (serves 4)
- 4 egg yolks
- 14oz sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2C key lime juice (this took 14 of my little key limes!)
Beat egg yolks on high in med bowl 2-3mins until light yellow. Add conds milk and mix another minute.
Transfer to med saucepan and cook on med-low 8-10mins until mixture begins to bubble, stirring often. Cool and then chill 3-4 hours.
Meringue: (based on this recipe)
- 2 egg whites
- Dash of cream of tartar
- 4Tbsp icing sugar
- 1/2tsp vanilla extract
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Add sugar 1Tbsp at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla and beat slightly longer.
And now for the most fun part… Add key lime filling to each shot glass, top with meringue, and then torch it!
If you don’t own a torch, you deserve one. Far too much fun, with simple, tasty results. If you’re lame, you can probably roast it under your broiler for the same effect, but that would break the glass, so I’m not sure what you could actually do. Except buy a torch.
Results: Very delicious!
Key lime brought that glorious unique fresh limey tart taste that I don’t think regular limes could have done with the same brute strength. Small but mighty. Rating: 3 Yums. I would make these again for sure.
Wine Pairing: If you’re a regular reader, you may recall from two posts ago that I’ll be suggesting a wine pairing with each of my culinary adventures, using the wine website winealign.com. I forgot about my new edict in my last post, oh well.
Anyway, the site suggested that a late harvest wine would pair well with lemon meringue pie (what, no key lime?) so I’ve chosen to recommend Cave Spring’s Indian Summer Select Late Harvest Riesling 2010 selling for $24.95 in Ontario, which was presented by winealign.com as the highest rated wine for less than $25 at my local liquor store. This suggestion is a little pricier than what I would normally choose, but I happen to agree with the recommendation of the site especially this time, because although I’ve never tried this late harvest Riesling, Cave Spring has been the go-to winery for Rieslings for me for a great many years.
One final note: I just had to Google a bit to make sure I hadn’t mixed up the spellings of “meringue” and “merengue,” through this whole post. Dirty dancing limes would have been another great title for this entry, actually. Imagine one day Google decided to mix up like-spelled words just to mess us up? Computers might not be our slave masters quite yet, but they sure are mostly responsible for keeping humans literate these days.