I have a confession to make. This is a Nigella recipe filched straight from ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’. I haven’t altered a thing.
You see, as with everything that has a structure, be that science, language, music, etc. I believe you need to understand the fundamentals in order to play around with the concept. That’s my excuse anyway.
The other thing is, I have never made Key Lime Pie before, although I have flicked through this book many times. I think probably one of the things that has made me scan over this recipe and not really consider it before, was the almost nonchalant way she describes how to make it.
There is non of that oozing flamboyance here. Unlike further along in the book, when, in the preamble to the recipe from her friend Joe Dolce regarding his Italian Cheesecake, she quotes directly from his email, ‘Eat it and weep’. Still one of my favourite cookbook quotes of all time.
However, we had some limes that needed using up, and a tin of sweetened condensed milk which didn’t actually need eating up but was there – very similar in my book – so I decided to give it a bash.
As with many cheesecake style recipes, this one starts with the digestive biscuit (200g) and butter (50g) combo, whizzed up and squished into a 23cm lined springform tin. Normally this would be a round one, but we have a 20cm square one which I have only used once so felt it needed an outing.
Invariably with recipes that use a biscuit base such as this, the recipe insists, or as near as damn it, that you have a food processor to ‘blitz’ the two ingredients together. I don’t have one of those which is, perhaps, why my biscuit base, despite being bashed to billie-o, never manages to hold itself together. It does often give me false hope though as there are always parts of it that initially look pretty good and my heart punches the air thinking that, at last, I have managed to make a cohesive biscuit base.
It’s a short lived story. As soon as I move the blighter, it moves with me. In all directions.
I’m thinking it may be to do with my impatience not allowing it to linger in the tin enough, not cooling it enough, not letting it be. Next time.
Meanwhile the filling consists of 5 large egg yolks, 3 egg whites, zest of 3 limes, 150ml lime juice and a 397g tin of sweetened condensed milk.
In Nigella’s recipe blurb she talks about key limes and how it is unnecessary to use actual key limes. She uses ordinary ones. I’m afraid I have to hold up my hands and say I am completely lime ignorant. I have never had a key lime so therefore wouldn’t be able to advise anyone on their importance, or not.
Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks then fold into the yolks (which have been beaten), lime and condensed milk mixture. Pour on top of the biscuit base and cook on a baking tray which has been lounging in the centre of the oven, gas mark 3. Leave it there for around 25 minutes or until the filling is firm.
Pop onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
Chill well – Nigella’s advice, and who am I to argue?
*pops off to make a margarita*