Apologies for being an absentee baker for some time. I don't know why, but I haven't been in the kitchen too much lately. Well, part of the blame goes to the fact that a week of August was spent in Maine for the wedding of Erik's sister Kelsey and her longtime beau Ross. While we were there we cooked dinner for his family for 3 nights, so we definitely got some practice cooking for a crowd, but things were too busy for blogging about it. And definitely no baking occurred, as it was so very, very hot up there.
However, we're back on Nantucket now and it's been a nasty, rainy weekend, the prefect backdrop for baking. Erik has been eying a key lime pie from In The Kennedy Kitchen, a cookbook of Kennedy family favorites written by Rose Kennedy's personal chef Neil Connolly. Many of the recipes in the book are fairly basic things, that Neil puts his own twist on, or jazzes up in some way. Of course, key lime pie is something that can be whipped together with a premade crust and some lime juice and condensed milk, but the Kennedys were not served such basic pies, oh no! Neil adds ground pistachio to his graham cracker crust--perhaps to play up the green? It also makes it taste very rich. Instead of thickening with with one easy can of condensed milk, Neil's recipe uses eggs and cornstarch and flour, and of course, the lime juice. I haven't ever done a side by side comparison of an "easy" pie and the Kennedy's pie, so I can't say which is better, although I certainly have no complaints about the one we made :)
Key Lime Pie, as enjoyed by the (mostly late) Kennedy family
*1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (1 of the celophane wrapped packets in a box of crackers)
*1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios
*1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
*2 cups milk
*1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
*3 egg yolks
*2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
*1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
*1/2 cup key lime juice, fresh or bottled
*Whipped cream to garnish, fresh (the Kennedy way) or out of a can (my way)
*At least 1 lime, sliced into thin rounds for garnish, if you feel so inclined
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs and ground pistachios so that everything is moistened evenly.
2. Pour the mixture into a 10-inch pie pan and spread it evenly over the bottom and sides the pie pan. If you have a second pie pan, it can be pressed on the crumbs to help it form to the pan. Otherwise, use your fingers to compact it as much as possible.
3. Bake the crust for 6-8 minutes until it's golden brown (at least, so says the book. Since graham crackers are golden brown anyway, I found the change hard to distinguish, so I just took it out.) Allow to cool completely.
4. In a heavy medium-sized saucepan, combine the milk with 1/4 cup of the sugar. Bring the milk to a simmer and whisk to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to low.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, the other 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, flour, and key lime juice. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the milk, whisking all the while. Bring to a boil, whisking until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat.
6. Pour the key lime filling into the pie crust and refrigerate until it's set (plan on at least 3 hours.)
7. Garnish with whipped cream and lime slices, if desired. (Look at the bottom right hand picture on the book cover to see how he does it.) Enjoy!