When kosher baker and cookbook author Paula Shoyer created this dessert, she wasn’t trying to develop a Passover recipe. She wanted a Key lime pie with a better crust.
And she created one that just happens to be fine for serving at Passover: a tangy filling made with eggs and sugar on a walnut crust, topped with a nice meringue. Speaking of meringue: You'll need an instant-read or candy thermometer.
Make Ahead: The filling needs at least 2 hours' refrigeration to set. The pie can be made and refrigerated for up to 5 days, although for best results, you might wish to apply and bake the meringue on the same day the pie is served.
- For the crust
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) pareve margarine (contains neither meat nor dairy products)
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups walnuts, ground to yield 2 cups
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- For the filling
- 5 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 14 Key limes (may substitute 4 or 5 regular limes)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) pareve margarine, cut into small pieces
- 1 drop natural green food coloring (optional)
- For the topping
- 1/4 cup water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 large egg whites
For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an 8-inch deep-dish pie plate or 9-inch pie plate on a baking sheet.
Place the margarine in a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat on HIGH for 45 seconds or until melted. Stir in the walnuts and brown sugar; mix until combined. Transfer to the pie plate and press to cover the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes so the crust is firm and set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; leave the oven on.
For the filling: Combine the eggs, yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl; set the bowl over a medium saucepan filled with a few inches of barely bubbling water, over medium heat.
Stir to combine the egg mixture, then zest 6 of the Key limes (about a tablespoon) over the mixture. Squeeze the juice from those 6 plus the remaining 8 Key limes and stir it into the mixture (1/2 cup total). Cook uncovered for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, to form a thick custard. Be patient and do not stir too much. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the margarine in small pieces until the cream is smooth. Stir in the green food coloring, if using.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust, spreading it evenly. Bake (with the pie plate on the baking sheet) for 20 minutes (at 350 degrees) or until the outside edges of the filling are set; the inside can remain a little jiggly. Let cool, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
For the topping: Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 230 degrees; dip a pastry brush in water and use it to brush down any sugar crystals that might form on the sides of the saucepan.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk attachment or a hand-held electric mixer on low speed to start, then on high speed to form stiff peaks. Reduce the speed to low; gradually add the cooked sugar mixture, letting it fall along the side of the bowl and not directly onto the egg whites or the whisk attachment. When all of the cooked sugar mixture has been added, increase the speed to medium-high; beat for 1 or 2 minutes to form a thick, shiny meringue.
Use a silicone spatula to spread the meringue evenly over the pie filling. If desired, use a culinary torch to lightly brown the surface of the meringue. (Alternatively, you can bake the pie with the meringue at 450 degrees for about 3 minutes to brown the top.)
Cover carefully so the meringue remains untouched; refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Adapted from Shoyer's "The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-Free Recipes From Traditional to Trendy" (Brandeis, 2010). She blogs at KosherBaker.blogspot.com.
Tested by Dean Felten.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.