LOS ANGELES — Key lime pie is typically a collection of convenience foods: canned condensed milk, bottled lime juice, premade graham cracker crust. That’s why chef Nicole Rucker didn’t intend to serve it at Fiona, her Fairfax bakery and restaurant.
Rucker had never tasted a Key lime pie before she created her own, but she nailed it. The crust — made with store-bought graham crackers — hits the perfect balance of salty, buttery and sweet. The floral and tart notes of limes lace the sweet filling, which is balanced by sour cream in the unsweetened whipped cream topping.
Nicole Rucker's Key Lime Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (use preground crumbs or finely grind about 10 whole graham crackers)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 medium limes
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie plate (not deep-dish) with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter in a large bowl and stir until moist crumbs form. Transfer to the prepared pie plate and press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the plate (but not over the rim).
3. Bake the crust until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.
4. Make the filling: Finely grate one tablespoon zest from the limes into a large bowl, then halve the limes and squeeze half a cup of juice. (You may not need all six limes.) Add the condensed milk and egg yolks and whisk until all the egg yolks have been incorporated and the zest is speckled throughout the mixture. Pour into the cooled crust.
5. Bake until the filling is set around the edges and the center wobbles slightly when touched, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, at least two hours.
6. In a large bowl, whisk the heavy cream and sour cream with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or by hand, until soft peaks form; do not overbeat. Pile the cream on top of the pie and swirl and swoosh with a spoon or rubber spatula. Refrigerate the pie for at least three hours before serving. The pie can be refrigerated for up to five days.
Adapted from “Dappled: Baking Recipes for Fruit Lovers” by Nicole Rucker