This key lime pie is the ultimate in key lime decadence. It was just the right balance of tart and sweet and the crust was so so good. As this recipe calls for almost 2 cups of key lime juice, I would really recommend buying a bottle of key lime juice. I found mine at my local Kroger in the juice section and it really made a difference. This recipe has a LOT of steps, but please don’t be intimidated by that. No step is difficult, and I actually made my crust and the no bake/chilled layer the day before and finished it the day I wanted to serve it.
Cinnamon Brown Sugar Crust
- 2 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 stick melted butter
- 1-2 tablespoons egg whites, room temp
The Baked Layer
- 2 14 ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup of key lime juice
- 8 egg yolks, room temp
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temp
The Chilled Layer
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup key lime juice
- 1/4 cup sour cream, room temp
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
The Whipped Layer
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, very cold
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons key lime juice
To prepare the pan, place parchment paper on the bottom of the spring form pan. Set the “ring” of the spring form on top of the parchment paper and close to seal around the bottom of the spring form. Trim the parchment paper on the outside as close to the pan as you can get. This will ensure that you can lift the pie off the bottom of the spring from pan with ease. Wrap the outside of the spring from pan in aluminum foil to prevent any leakage during baking.
Next, in a very large bowl, combine and toss the graham crackers, dark brown sugar and cinnamon. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture. Start adding the melted butter into the well and with either a wooden spoon or by hand incorporate the melted butter into the dry mixture. Add butter until you can pinch the dry mix together and it will hold together. Add the egg whites to the mixture and mix well. Once the egg whites are added, you need to work quickly to move the prepared crust mixture in to the spring form and form the crust or the mixture will start to dry out. Working from the bottom of the spring form, move the crust mixture around to cover the bottom first. Work the crust mixture up the sides of the spring form all the way to the edge of the ring. Use either the bottom of a glass or dry measure cup to press down on the bottom, sides and especially where the bottom of the pan and sides come together. This will help you achieve a nice even and packed crust. Move to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
While the crust is baking, add the 8 egg yolks to a large glass bowl. Using a wire whisk, whisk the yolks for about a minute. You will want the yolks nice and creamy with some air incorporated into them. No need to break out the mixer for this step. Just some good ole whisking by hand will do. Add the 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk to the mixture and continue to whisk until well blended. Add the room temperature sour cream (1/2 cup) to the mixture and whisk. The sour cream, if not at room temperature will clump, so make sure this and all ingredients are at room temp. Pour the key lime juice into the mixture and continue to whisk. You will notice that the mixture will begin to slightly thicken. This is the reaction of the acid in the key lime juice and the sweetened condensed milk. Whisk the mixture until well blended. You will see lots of air bubbles and that’s okay too. Pour this mixture into the crust that is just coming out of the oven and with either a spatula or the back of a spoon spread evenly over the bottom of the spring form. Bake in the 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. The baked layer will set up and be set all the way thru to the center. Remove from the oven and cool completely before adding the chilled layer. Do Not refrigerate until the baked layer has completely cooled or you will introduce moisture to the crust and cause it to separate.
To make the no bake, chilled layer, cream the 8 ounces of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the room temperature 1/4 cup of sour cream. Remember cold sour cream will make lumps! Mix well. Add the 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Add the 1/4 cup of key lime juice and mix well. Move to the completely baked and cooled baked layer. Use a spatula or spoon to smooth over layer one. Be sure to leave room for the key lime whipped topping, the chilled layer should only come up to about 3/4 to the top. Chill in the refrigerator while you make the key lime whipped cream.
The final layer is the key lime whipped cream. Add the whipping cream to a clean and preferably chilled bowl for mixing. I chill both the bowl and the beaters when making whipped cream. Add sugar and whip until you have soft to medium soft peaks. Do not whip to stiff peaks. Begin adding the key lime juice, this will cause the mixture to thicken. Add the key lime juice a little at a time to get the consistency you prefer.