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This is the perfect lime meringue pie! Light and absolutely stunning. It is the perfect combination of a crumbly and buttery crust, a silky and tart lime filling, and a smooth meringue top. Outrageously good!
It only requires a few ingredients and is so simple to make. This pie is super quick– only 15 minutes of hands-on time! The real waiting game (torture) comes afterward to cool down and then chill in the refrigerator.
It is just so refreshing! This pie, despite its look, is straightforward to make and only requires a little attention to detail.
Usually, lime or lemon meringue pie has a rolled shortbread crust and a sweet, almost Jello-like lemon custard filling that you have to cook and temper eggs with and such. It is time-consuming, difficult and tasteless. The big game-changer in this pie is using sweetened condensed milk instead of cooking a custard.
The contrast between the tanginess of the lime juice and the sweetness of the condensed milk in the filling makes this an all-time favourite, perfect also for teatime or a decadent coffee break in the middle of your afternoon.
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- 200 g Cookies - maria, Brazilian maisena, milk, graham cracker
- 100 g Butter - unsalted - melted
- 2 tsp Water - optional cold to combine
Mousse – lime filling
- 1/2 cup Whipping cream - 35% heavy cream
- 2 cans Sweetened condensed milk
- 100 ml Lime juice - strained - approximately 4 limes
- Lime zest - or twist from 2 limes
- 4 Egg whites
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- Lime zest - from 2 limes
- Lime zest - or twist from 1 lime
- Separate the egg yolks and whites and set them aside.
- Melt butter in microwave – power 3 for 1-2 minutes.
- Break up cookies and place them in a food processor. Pulse until they are processed into fine crumbs.
- Combine the crumbs with butter and mix well until all crumbs are moistened, and you have a wet sandy consistency. If need, add cold water.
- Press the crumbs mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 23cm/9-inch pie plate.
- Bake the crust in preheated oven 180-190C/350-375F for about 10-15 minutes, until fragrant and light golden brown.
- Remove the pie crust from the oven and set it aside to cool completely. This will ensure that your pie crust is sturdy and can hold up to the weight of the lime filling.
Mousse – lime filling
- As the crust is cooling, you can prepare the filling.
- In a medium bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer beat whipping cream.
- Combine the condensed milk with lime juice, and then mix well with the whipped cream. Stir in lime zest, mixing until completely combined.
- The mixture should be nice, thick, and creamy.
- Pour the lime filling into the cooled pre-baked pie crust, cover the lightly top with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
- Note: Be sure to use CONDENSED, not EVAPORATED milk and combine the juice thoroughly. The filling will noticeably thicken as the acidic juice reacts with the milk. And please use fresh, not bottled, juice.
Meringue – see notes.
- In a clean, large mixing bowl (or standing mixer bowl), using the egg whisker of an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high speed until foamy.
- Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue beating on medium speed until stiff, glossy peaks form.
- You want to whip until the egg whites have reached “stiff peak” form. All this means is that when you stop your mixer and pull the beaters out of the bowl, the impressions they make will remain very defined and form hard peaks.
- Take the pie out of the refrigerator. Remove the plastic wrap from the pie, spoon the meringue on top of the lime filling, and spread over the pie using a butter knife or offset spatula.
- Make sure the mixture attaches to the crust with no gaps. The crust will help anchor the meringue and help keep it from shrinking and weeping.
- Use the back of a spoon to make dips and swirls to create peaks all over the meringue.
- Use a torch and “bake” the meringue until it is golden brown. If you do not have a torch see notes.
- This pie is best served chilled. Chill in the refrigerator before serving for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
- If desired, garnish with a sprinkling of finely grated lime, zest or twist.
Merengue important tips
If you do not have a torch.After adding the meringue, bake the pie for 10 to 15 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown. If you don't see enough colour, put it under the broiler for a few minutes but watch it carefully as it can burn fast. Note: Do not use glass bakeware when broiling, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally. Important: If you do not want to “bake” the meringue, prepare and add it to the pie before serving; otherwise, it will be runny, like simple syrup. The sugar will “fall out” of the meringue and sit as a syrup between the meringue and the filling.
How to avoid a weeping meringue and help the whites create the peaksEven though lime meringue pie is one of the most popular pies, it’s also one of the trickiest pies to perfect if you don’t avoid some simple steps to keep your pie from “weeping.” But do not worry, I’ve got you covered. Unless you want to waste a bunch of egg whites in failed meringue attempts, read these tips:
- Egg whites will refuse to whip up properly if they are in contact with any fat. So, make sure your bowl and beaters are TOTALLY clean for the easiest whip. No oil or water residue.
- Also, make sure you beat just egg whites. It shouldn’t have even a drop of egg yolks into the egg whites when you separated them.
- Eggs are easier to separate when cold.
- Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature before starting the meringue. Room temperature egg whites whip faster and into a greater volume than cold egg whites. So, separate the eggs first, then let the egg whites sit for a while before making the meringue. Bake the pie crust and prepare the lime filling. By the time you are ready to start the meringue, the egg whites will be at room temperature.
- Make sure you add the sugar AFTER soft peaks are formed. If added before that, the egg whites could stretch too much, which prevents a stiff peak altogether.
- Make sure you spread the meringue topping, so it touches the pie crust. This seals the lime filling underneath and allows the crust to grip onto the meringue, so the two do not separate.
- If you are using pasteurized eggs, chances are your meringue is not shaping up to what you want. So a meringue of unpasteurized egg whites is better in texture (even if not the best for your health, as it poses a risk for food-borne illness, although small). Because pasteurized eggs go through a heating process that kills potentially harmful bacteria, the white becomes more "stable" in its form, preventing the stiff peaks from coming to life when whipping the whites to make a meringue.
- To help the whites loosen up and create the peaks, you can optionally add ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar to the sugar. This will stabilize your meringue. Try adding another ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar if it still doesn't yield good peaks.
- If you do not have the cream of tartar, add a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice once the egg whites get foamy, approximately one minute after you have started to whip the whites.
- Don’t walk away from the bowl of egg whites as they whip. Meringue can beat into stiff peaks quite quickly.
- And, finally, don’t make lime meringue pie on a humid day.
Zest the limesI recommend zesting the limes before juicing them - it's much easier.
Sweetened Condensed MilkDo NOT confuse this ingredient with evaporated milk. Otherwise, your pie won’t set up! Sweetened condensed milk is super thick and sweet. It helps create a thick filling and balances out the tartness of the lime juice.
- You can include walnuts or macadamia nuts, or toasty almonds in the crust. The nuts will give a great consistency to the base and flavour and crunch, creating the perfect sweet-salty base for the creamy lime filling.
- You can also use a store-bought graham cracker crust if you’re looking to save some time! However, once you master a homemade crust, you’ll never buy a bland, thin store-bought pie crust again!
- You can use limes or regular lemons and Meyer lemons. All versions are great. Lemons tend to be sweeter, while limes have a more bitter flavour. The Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons, and the pie will have a less tart, subtle lemon flavour. My favourite is using tart lime. I highly recommend using fresh citrus juice over bottled juice for a brighter, better flavour.
- Garnish - While delicious on its own, try garnishing your lime pie! You can serve it along with fresh mint leaves, lime zest, twist or slices of fresh limes, fresh raspberries or a sprinkle of nuts, especially if using it in the crust. Or you can leave the pie plain with none of these garnishes.
Make aheadYou can prepare and pre-bake the crust up to 2-3 days in advance. Cover and keep in the refrigerator. Likewise, you can mix up the filling up to 2-3 days in advance. This lime meringue pie is really at its best on the same day that it's made.
FreezingIf you always want to be ready to fill up a pie crust, make more crusts and freeze them for up to three months; thaw and keep them in the refrigerator before using.
LeftoverIf you wind up with leftovers, store them in the refrigerator, loosely covered with plastic wrap. The pie will technically stay fresh for 2 to 3 days, though it is best on the day it's made. I would recommend no more than 12 hours as the meringue tends to weep the longer that it's in the refrigerator, so try to eat it as soon as you can!
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