Key Lime Pie? How about the award-winning Triple Decker Key Lime Pie?
Here is a little backstory before we dive into key lime pie goodness. When we were planning the menu for Sweet IRB Bakery, we needed a Key Lime Pie. You can’t have a beach side bakery and not have Key Lime Pie, now can you? Key Lime Pie in Florida is like salt water taffy in the Smokies. When you are on vacation, you just must have some! Key Lime Pie; the tart, tasty vacation tradition.
The majority of Key Lime Pie recipes contain a combination of egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and key lime juice in a graham cracker crust. Key Limes, smaller and tarter than Persian limes, are absolutely a necessity in this recipe. One of our neighbors across the street from the bakery has key lime trees and often shared with us to make a true Florida Key Lime Pie. How yummy they were!
But if I’m not able to get a hold of local key limes, I’ll use the small key limes found in the produce sections at the local market. I can tell you, juicing those little guys is time consuming but worth it. No access to fresh key limes? I have had excellent success using the bottled key lime juice. Just make sure it is key lime juice and not regular lime juice or you will have lots of pucker faces at serving time. My favorite brand is Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice. Nellie and Joe’s also make a Mango Key Lime juice, which is my go to when making the Mango version of this pie.
The Triple Decker Key Lime Pie in a Spring Form Pan?
Most traditional Key Lime Pies are made in a standard 9 or 10-inch aluminum pan and look very much like other custard pies. I wanted to develop a Key Lime Pie for the bakery that was different. Florida is a big state and we have a lot of Key Lime Pies you know…
Want to check out the How To Prep for the Spring Form Pan? Click here for the Video.
I went on a “must find the best Key Lime Pie recipe adventure” to find a base recipe that I could adapt and create my own version. I found an article by Bon Appetite an American Test Kitchen for a Triple Layer Key Lime Pie to use as the foundation. To this recipe, I tweaked the ingredient measures and added my own flair to come up with the final recipe. I can’t tell you how many “test” pies that I made before I finally had the Sweet IRB Triple Decker Key Lime Pie.
So, let’s start with the look of the pie. A spring form pan is used for this pie. When you are trying to get 3 layers of key lime goodness into a pie, you need something that will produce a tall pie! The crust is a twist on a traditional graham cracker crust with the addition of brown sugar and cinnamon. You will notice egg whites are used in the crust recipe. Egg whites do not affect taste or texture but helps with stability and keeps the crust from separating from the pie contents.
Look at those Beautiful Key Lime Pie Layers
When you look at a cross section of the pie, you can clearly see 3 distinct layers. The bottom layer is the traditional baked key lime filling. For the most part, the ingredients for the bottom layer stay true to the traditional recipes, except the addition of sour cream. Sour cream helps balance the tartness of the key limes and adds to the stability of the mixture. Key Lime Pie can get a little soft or weepy as it sets out to be served. The addition of sour cream help give it some body without affecting the texture.
The second layer is a cream cheese, sweetened condensed and key lime mixture. This layer is very reminiscence to “no bake” cheese cake filling. I also add sour cream to this layer for the same stability reasons as in the baked layer.
The top layer is a key lime flavored whipped cream. Since key lime juice will thicken the whipped cream, it is important to only whip to soft peaks before adding the key lime juice. Also, don’t add too much or you can curdle the mixture.
Ready for the Triple Key Lime Pie Adventure?
There are quite a few steps to making this pie. A labor of baking love but so well worth it. You can make the crust ahead of time set covered at room temperature until ready to bake. The second layer can also be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The time-consuming part of this recipe is cooling. When you take the baked layer out, cool completely to room temp. Don’t try to rush it by putting it in the refrigerator, the crust will collect moisture and will separate from the filling. Trust me, I’ve been in a hurry many of a time and know by experience that you can’t hurry up this process.
I bet you are saying, wow — that is a lot of pie. Yes, this recipe makes a big pie! You can easily get 12 to 14 servings from the 10-inch spring form size. Do you need a smaller pie? The recipe can divide in half and used in a standard deep dish 10-inch pie pan. You can also make the different layers separate and use them as components for parfaits, desserts in a jar or other layered desserts. To make the crust “NO-BAKE” leave the egg whites out and do not bake. The baked key lime layer can be moved to either a ceramic baking dish or a parchment lined pan and baked. Once cooled, you can pipe or spoon into the dish or your choice.
Winner, Winner at the 2016 Pinellas County Pie Festival
The Triple Decker Key Lime Pie was such a popular case item at the bakery. And the Sweet IRB Triple Decker Key Lime Pie is also an award-winning pie! Last year (2016), we entered this recipe into the Pinellas County Pie Festival and won 1st place!
So, are you hungry for Key Lime Pie yet? Well, it just might be time for you to bring a little Gulf Coast Florida to your kitchen and try this recipe out!
Love Mango Key Lime? Check out my Double Mango Key Lime Pie
Let me introduce you to the Cousin of Triple Key Lime Pie, Double Mango Key Lime. In tradition of Key Lime Pie, this mango key lime pie is tart, sweet and full of mango. Click here for the recipe for Double Mango Key Lime Pie.
Introducing White Chocolate Key Lime Mini Bars
It is very true, that I love Key Lime. The latest in the series of Key Lime desserts at the White Chocolate Key Lime Mini Bars. These portable, bite-size desserts are sure to be a hit at your next party or dessert buffet. Click HERE picture to visit the post and for the recipe.
Triple Decker Key Lime PiePrint Recipe
- CINNAMON BROWN SUGAR CRUST
- 2 1/2 Cups of Graham Crackers Crumbs
- 1/4 cup of Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon or to taste
- 1 Stick of Melted Butter
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons of Eggs Whites, room temp
- LAYER 1: THE BAKED LAYER
- 2 14 ounce cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 Cup of KEY Lime Juice
- 8 Eggs Yolks, room temp
- 1/2 Cup of Sour Cream, room temp
- LAYER 2: THE CHILLED LAYER (see notes)
- 8 ounces of Cream Cheese, soften
- 1/2 Cup of Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1/4 Cup of Key Lime Juice
- 1/4 Cup of Sour Cream, room temp
- 2 Tablespoons of Granulated Sugar
- LAYER 3: KEY LIME WHIPPED CREAM
- 1 1/2 Cups of Heavy Cream, very cold
- 2 Tablespoons of Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons of Key Lime Juice
This recipe is for a 9 or 10-inch spring form pan. If making in a 9 inch pan, just note you will have taller layers.
STEP 1: PREPARE the SPRING FORM PAN
Place parchment paper on the bottom of the spring form pan. Set the "ring" of the spring form on top of the parchment paper and close to seal around the bottom of the spring form. Trim the parchment paper on the outside as close to the pan as you can get. This will ensure that you can lift the pie off the bottom of the spring from pan with ease.
Wrap the outside of the spring from pan in aluminum foil to prevent any leakage during baking.
STEP 2: MAKE the CRUST
A quick note on the construction of the crust. Your kitchen climate will affect the amounts of the liquid you need. If you have a more humid kitchen, you will use less than if you are in a drier climate. If you can pinch the mixture together and it stays together, you are ready. The egg whites in this mixture, help the crust's stability and do not effect taste.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a very large bowl, combine and toss the graham crackers, dark brown sugar and cinnamon.
Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture.
Start adding the melted butter into the well and with either a wooden spoon or by hand incorporate the melted butter into the dry mixture. Add butter until you can pinch the dry mix together and it will hold together.
Add the egg whites to the mixture and mix well. Once the egg whites are added, you need to work quickly to move the prepared crust mixture in to the spring form and form the crust or the mixture will start to dry out.
Working from the bottom of the spring form, move the crust mixture around to cover the bottom first. Work the crust mixture up the sides of the spring form all the way to the edge of the ring.
Use either the bottom of a glass or dry measure cup to press down on the bottom, sides and especially where the bottom of the pan and sides come together. This will help you achieve a nice even and packed crust.
Move to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
STEP 3: THE BAKED LAYER
Add the 8 egg yolks to a large glass bowl. Using a wire whisk, whisk the yolks for about a minute. You will want the yolks nice and creamy with some air incorporated into them. No need to break out the mixer for this step. Just some good ole whisking by hand will do.
Add the 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk to the mixture and continue to whisk until well blended.
Add the room temperature sour cream (1/2 cup) to the mixture and whisk. The sour cream, if not at room temperature will clump, so make sure this and all ingredients are at room temp.
Pour the key lime juice into the mixture and continue to whisk. You will notice that the mixture will begin to slightly thicken. This is the reaction of the acid in the key lime juice and the sweetened condensed milk. Whisk the mixture until well blended. You will see lots of air bubbles and that’s okay too.
Pour this mixture into the crust that is just coming out of the oven and with either a spatula or the back of a spoon spread evenly over the bottom of the spring form.
Bake in the 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. The baked layer will set up and be set all the way thru to the center.
Remove from the oven and cool completely before adding the chilled layer. Do Not refrigerate until the baked layer has completely cooled or you will introduce moisture to the crust and cause it to separate.
STEP 4: THE CHILLED LAYER
Using a mixer (stand or hand), cream the 8 ounces of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar until fluffy.
Add the room temperature 1/4 cup of sour cream. Remember cold sour cream will make lumps! Mix well.
Add the 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk and mix well.
Add the 1/4 cup of key lime juice and mix well.
Move to the completely baked and cooled baked layer. Use a spatula or spoon to smooth over layer one. Be sure to leave room for the Key lime whipped topping, the chilled layer should only come up to about 3/4 to the top.
Chill in the refrigerator while you make the Key Lime whipped cream
STEP 5: Key Lime Whipped Cream
Add the whipping cream to a clean and preferably chilled bowl for mixing. I chill both the bowl and the beaters when making whipped cream.
Add sugar and whip until you have soft to medium soft peaks. Do not whip to stiff peaks.
Begin adding the key lime juice, this will cause the mixture to thicken. Very much like the reaction in the baked layer. Also, the reason to not mix to stiff peaks because the key lime juice with naturally thicken. Add the key lime juice a little at a time to get the consistency you prefer.
If you want to get real fancy, load a pipping bag with a 1D Tip and rosette the top of the pie. Scooping and spreading the key lime whipped cream works just as well!
Congratulations! You have assembled the Triple Decker Key Lime Pie: The Sweet IRB Version
Remember to keep this pie very well chilled.
Now go grab a plate, knife and fork and dig in.
Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Who are we kidding, the pie will not last that long.
This recipe make a very large pie, so if you need to freeze just flash freeze then wrap in plastic. Store in a sealed container for up to 6 months.
Almost 95% of the time I use the Nellie and Joe's Key lime Juice. If you use fresh key lime, just keep in mind, that the ripeness, tartness and quality of your limes will effect the taste. Recipe updated 3/27/17. I converted the cup measurements in Layer 1 to cans to make it easier to measure, no effect to the texture or taste. Layer 2 measurements were adjusted so there would not be extra layer 2. The previous measure was about double what was needed for the recipe. The middle layer should come up to about 1 inch from the top to leave room for the key lime whipped cream. Also, added that this can be made in a 10" or 9 " spring pan
Featured Download: Award Winning Triple Key Lime Pie Recipe