one 9-inch diameter pie


Old “conchs”, Key West natives, repute
this recipe for Key Lime Pie,

to be the original recipe
for the famous dessert…not the recipe with sweetened condensed milk.


baked 9-inch diameter pastry pie crust

  (favorite recipe or ½ (15-ounce) refrigerated
pie crusts (1 crust)



  • 1
    cup sugar
  • 3
    tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼
    teaspoon salt
  • 2
    cups milk
  • 4
    large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/3
    cup fresh key lime juice (see note)
  • 2
    tablespoons light rum
  • 2
    tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1
    teaspoon grated lime peel



  • 4
    egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½
    teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼
    cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1
    tablespoon light rum


pastry shell, bake, cool, and set aside.


a large heavy saucepan, combine the first three filling ingredients, mixing
well.  Gradually add milk, blending
well.  Cook, stirring constantly, over
moderate heat until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil; continue
boiling for 1 minute, stirring constantly, and then remove from heat and set


a small bowl, beat the egg yolks at high speed of an electric mixer until thick
and light lemon colored.  Quickly stir
2/3 cup hot thickened milk custard mixture into the egg yolks, blending well;
stir egg yolk/custard mixture into the remaining custard mixture in the
saucepan, blending well.  Return custard
to the range, and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, for 3
minutes.  Remove from heat and quickly
stir in key lime juice, rum, butter, and grated lime peel, blending well. 


Spoon filling into the baked pastry shell and chill
in the refrigerator for at least four hours.


To prepare meringue, combine egg whites and cream of
tartar in a deep medium bowl; beat at high speed of an electric mixer for 1
minute.  Gradually beat in the sugar, one
tablespoonful at a time, and then the rum; continue beating at high speed until
stiff, but not dry, peaks are formed, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Spread the meringue in swirls over the top of
the lime filling to the edge of the pie, sealing the meringue to the pie. Bake
in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for 12 to 15 minutes or until
meringue is lightly browned.  Cool pie
thoroughly before cutting into wedges and serving.                                                                                                   


Note: If fresh key lime
juice is unavailable, may use bottled key lime juice; however, fresh
lime juice is preferable.

Variation: Omit meringue and top chilled
lime custard filled pie with rum flavored sweetened whipped cream.

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