Key Lime Pie Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
You know what they say: 'Why sit at a table that doesn't have key lime pie on it if you don't have to?'" ~ Sloane Crosley
Unlike apple pie (the first recipe of which hails from Chaucer-era England) , Key Lime Pie is a uniquely American dessert. This pie is considered the official pie of the Florida Key (although ironically, the majority of Key Lime trees introduced by the Spanish in the 1500s were wiped out during the hurricane of 1926 and replaced by Persian Limes)! At any rate, recipes for Key Lime Pie were not recorded until the 1930s. At this time, fresh milk, refrigeration, and ice where not available in the Keys until the arrival of tank trucks with the opening of the Overseas Highway in 1930. Because of this lack of milk, local cooks relied on canned sweetened condensed milk, a key ingredient which makes this pie so smooth and delicious. Recipe included: Key Lime Bars!
Key Lime Pie
Though everyone has their favorite, the Key Lime Pie is a modern American classic made with Key lime juice, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and has merited its own namesake Scottish Country Dance!
The dish is named after the small naturalized Key limes (Citrus aurantifolia 'Swingle') originally from Malaysia and introduced by the Spanish throughout the Florida Keys. Key limes are tarter and more aromatic than the common Persian limes. The traditional version also uses the egg whites to make a meringue topping.
Key Lime Pies are examples of an unbaked pie - the filling solidifies from the reaction of the acidic juice with the egg yolks and other ingredients. Unlike regular lime juice, Key lime juice is a pale yellow color which combined with the egg yokes results in the yellow pie filling.
Before 1930 and the building of the Overseas Highway in Florida, no fresh milk, refrigeration, nor ice were available in the Keys. Because of this, local cooks relied on canned sweetened condensed milk which gives the pie its smoothness and distinct flavor.
It is highly likely that the first Key lime pie was created by “Aunt Sally,” the cook of a ship salvager and Key West’s first millionaire. Many of the men onboard his ships would have had access to the basic and non-perishable ingredients required for the early recipe: canned milk, limes and eggs.
The Key Lime Pie is the official pie of the state of Florida. For a list of other official US State foods, click here.
Click the picture below for a classic no bake recipe from Ina Garten.