Do you ever have an idea pop into your head that just will not leave you alone? It happens to me more than I would care to admit, but my latest little visitor was the concept of a dessert with lime. The coming of warmer weather makes me think about refreshing and cool desserts, and one that would welcome you with open arms after a spicy barbecue supper. Here is the result of my ponderings: a no-bake (except for the crust, but that’s just ten minutes), smooth, creamy, and refreshing icebox pie, that is brimming with fresh lime juice and lime zest. The creamy interior is set off by a crisp crust made of graham crackers and toasted coconut. Here’s a dessert you can whip up with little effort, and it can sit there in the refrigerator, happy as a clam, for a couple of days until you’re ready to serve. I personally have not been able to wait nearly that long, but it’s good to know if the opportunity presents itself. PS: this recipe is really not made with key limes, but you can use them if you want to. It seems like every other recipe out there that makes a pie like this with regular limes calls it a key lime pie, so I decided not to rock the recipe search engine boat.
There I was, with key lime pie on my mind. I wanted something that didn’t need to be baked or have a filling that needed cooking over the stove. I mean, this is a warm weather dessert, so let’s limit the baking time for Pete’s sake. I started researching recipes that those who ventured into this before me had tried, and none of them seemed right. The vast majority of pies had a lot of whipping cream, cream cheese, and egg yolks or unflavored gelatin for thickening. Not what I was imagining….I wanted something light and refreshing, but that didn’t skimp of the rich and creamy factors. Hmmmm…to the refrigerator I went, and pulled out a carton of Greek Yogurt, strained it overnight to create the consistency of cream cheese, then tossed in a can of sweetened condensed milk and plenty of lime juice and zest. Eureka!! No need to worry about adding extra thickeners like unflavored gelatin or any of that stuff – this guy sets up like a dream if you let him chill overnight in the fridge. I promise, nobody will ever guess there is yogurt in this recipe, in fact I can’t believe it myself.
Let’s talk about the crust for a minute. I love graham cracker crusts, but thought there must be something that could be added to the lime. Again….hmmmm….and then that song popped into my mind, “Put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up, etc.” Remember that one? Coconut!! So I toasted up some sweetened coconut and stirred it into the traditional graham cracker crust recipe. At this point, there is 10-12 minutes of baking to make sure the crust is set up, but that didn’t seem like a big deal. Once the crust is cooled to room temperature, all you have left is to pour in the filling, toss the pie in the fridge, and let him sit there overnight.
This works best in a springform pan as shown in the photos, but I deep dish pie dish works just fine too. It’s fun to decorate the top if you are so inclined. I used key limes (and no, this isn’t technically a key lime pie but you can use key limes if you want. I tasted both key limes and regular limes and liked the regular ones better. Also, the key limes are super small and I do not possess the patience to juice 50,000 of them so there you have it). Where was I? Oh, yes, decorating…I used key limes, regular limes, a lot of lime zest, and left over graham cracker crust crumbs. And when all is said and done, you have this beauty on your hands. Hope you enjoy!! And thanks so much for reading today – I really appreciate it. xoxoxo
- FOR THE CRUST
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed
- ¾ cup sweetened coconut flakes, plus additional for garnish if you’d like
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- FOR THE FILLING
- 1, 17.6-ounce container of Fage Greek Yogurt (I used 2% for this recipe, but 4% would be good too – I’d shy away from nonfat if I were you. NOTE: It’s better to start with the yogurt the night before you make your pie and strain it to make it even more thick. I don’t think it’s the end of the world if you skip this step, but your end result won’t set up as well.
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- Finely grated zest of 2 limes
- FOR THE CRUST
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the graham cracker crumbs, a food processor is your best bet. If you don’t possess one, put graham crackers (about 1 ½ sleeves) into a Ziplock bag, get out your rolling pin or other implement of destruction, and hammer away at them until you have fine crumbs.
- Toast the coconut flakes in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until they become fragrant and start to brown here and there.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs, toasted coconut, sugar and melted butter. Pat into a 9 inch pie plate that has been sprayed with cooking spray, or a 9 or 10 inch springform pan that has been lined on the bottom with parchment paper. The springform pan route makes the pie easier to slice, but either is just fine.
- Pat the crust mixture down firmly, working up the sides of a pie dish all the way to the top. If using a springform pan, try to inch the crust up the sides half an inch of more if you can. No big deal if you can’t make it work.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until it gets a deeper, toasty brown look.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
- FOR THE FILLNG
- The night before you make the pie (as mentioned above, desirable but if you can’t make it happen, I don’t think it would stop me from going ahead with the recipe) strain the yogurt using a fine mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl. I believe Fage yogurt is best for this and has no fillers or additives and has already been strained well. However, I can still get about ¼ cup of whey removed by straining overnight, so go for it if you can.
- On the day you make the pie:
- In a mixer, combine the strained yogurt and the sweetened condensed milk mixture. Beat to combine.
- Add the lime juice and zest and beat to combine.
- Pour this mixture into your pie shell and refrigerate at least two hours, but best if you let it set up overnight before serving.
- If you want to get fancy and decorate the top of the pie, arrange fresh lime slices, some graham cracker crumbs, some toasted coconut, or even whipped cream if you have any hanging around.