Key Lime or Lemon Pie

Entry Level Baking – A Kid Friendly Journey

This is a royal dessert of ease and deliciousness. With but a can of condensed, sweetened milk and a store bought pie crust, you’re halfway there.

I grow key limes in my Florida yard; she’s is a brooding mare for fruit! Whenever I pick 9 limes, I’m ready. This pie is very forgiving: if you have regular limes or any sour citrus you’re on your way. If you’re looking for key limes, I have sourced them in Walmart produce. I have not used bottled juice, so I can’t recommend.

I include several crumb crusts—cooked or raw—if you want to make this pie totally from scratch

Also enjoy a kissin’ cousin, North Carolina Lemon Pie. It is the same pie using lemons! But it has a very tasty cracker crumb crust that I interchange with other no-roll crusts I describe below

INGREDIENTS: If using a 9 inch crust or deep dish pan, make one-and-a-half times filling. If using a store bought crust, they are pre-baked, just add the filling and do a final bake off [see below]

  • pie crust – 1 8 inch
  • sweetened condensed milk – 1 can
  • egg yolks – 4
  • lime juice – 1/2 cup, fresh is best [about 9 key limes]
  • salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Add-ins
    • combine lime and lemon juice
    • 2-3 TBS light rum
    • lime or lemon zest – very finely grated
    • rice vinegar, to taste [if using Meyer lemons-to punch up sour element]
Using Keebler Brand Pie Shell

Serve with Whipped Cream


  1. Preheat oven to 325º
  2. Combine milk, yolks, juice, and salt
  3. Taste for sweet-sour balance; think of lemonade sweet-tart flavor and adjust with rice vinegar if needed; especially if using mildly acidic Meyer lemons. Key limes usually are spot on.
  4. Pour batter into pie shell and bake for 15-20 minutes, until it is set near the edges and still jiggles in the center
  5. Cool, and refrigerate

No-Roll Crusts

Pie Crust Options: Here are No-Roll Crusts that will Beautifully Support Your Pie

Baked Crusts

These crusts are partially baked and then finished after adding the filling

North Carolina Cracker Crust

  • saltine crackers – 6 oz,  [36 crackers)
  • salt – pinch
  • butter – 10 TBS, melted
  • light corn syrup – ¼ cup 
  1. In a food processor combine salt and crumbled crackers and pulse into coarse texture
  2. Pour in the butter and syrup and pulse until like coarse sand
  3. Butter a pie pan and place contents onto plate and press evenly using a measuring cup [and up the sides]
  4. Preheat the oven to 350º and bake the pie crust about 15-17 minutes
  5. You’re now ready to add the pie batter and bake off

Nut Crumb Crust

  • almonds, raw – 1 cup, finely ground
  • rolled oats – 1/2 cup, finely ground
  • salt – 1/8 tsp
  • neutral oil – 3 TBS
  • maple syrup – 1 TBS
  • water – 2 TBS 

  1. Preheat oven to 375º  
  2. In a food processor add the nuts and oats and grind finely
  3. Combine nut mixture with other ingredients and mix well
  4. Press into a 9 inch pie plate. Should the crumbs want to stick to your hands, keep them barely moist with water. Start at the center and methodically work the excess to the edges and up the wall of the pie pan. Try to keep the thickness uniform, including the side crust. 
  5. Bake for 12 minutes.
  6. Add the pie filling and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes 

No Bake Crust

Cookie Crumb Crust

No Bake Crust – Makes One 8-inch Tart or Pie Crust If using a larger tart pan or deep dish pie pan, use one-and-a-half times the recipe

  • Chocolate, Graham, Vanilla, or Ginger Snap Crust: Crunch 1-1/2 cups of either Chocolate Graham Crackers, Graham Crackers, Vanilla Wafers, or Ginger Snaps
  • butter 4 TBS melted 
  1. Crush the cookies and place in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you develop a fine crumb
  2. Melt the butter and mix into the crumbs
  3. Lightly oil pie pan and press the mixture up the sides and firmly on the bottom 
  4. Chill for about an hour or more to set the crust before baking
  5. Add the pie filling and bake off

There are few desserts that will give you such success with so little effort. It’s entry level baking that will bring you glory!

© B. Hettig, 2022

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s