I have a really, really warm place in my heart for this pie. When I was a teenager, I was very active in 4-H, especially foods group. As I think I mentioned before, my mother was actually our foods group leader. Anyway, every late January or early/mid February there was a food show, where the various foods group participants from around the county would bring a food that they’d made to be judged. You’d have to set your table the “4-H way,” be able to recite information about the food groups (later the food pyramid), and tell the judge how you completed your dish from start to finish. I participated every year, and I even remember my first recipe… Canned pear halves that, thanks to a carrot peel, some marshmallows and a raisin, I’d made to look like two little mice. Sounds silly, but when you’re like 7, I was as proud of those mice as I would have been if it’d been Thanksgiving dinner.
As I got older and canned pear mice were no longer really an acceptable display of my culinary knowledge, I entered the seniors division where you were expected to create a whole menu. I still remember setting up my two place settings on a rickety card table, carefully serving the food, all while mentally rehearsing how many servings of what fit into which part of the food pyramid. It was a really, really big deal.
The very first year I participated in the seniors division, this was the exact pie recipe (and perhaps the first pie I ever actually made) I used for my dessert. I’d never had key lime pie before, but from the first bite, I was hooked. Even my dad, who wasn’t really a fan of key lime pie, thought it was awesome which I remember was the biggest compliment I thought I could have gotten in the world. To this day, key lime pie is I think my favorite pie.
The recipe for this pie came originally from a restaurant that is now long gone back when Downtown Disney was still called Disney Village Marketplace. However, this is the recipe still used for most of the key lime pies served on property. In fact, when I went to Coral Reef in 2008, this was the recipe used for the key lime pie served there at the time… And this is still the recipe used for the current Chef Mickey when key lime pie is on the menu.
What I love about this recipe is that it’s a very traditional way to make key lime pie. No food coloring, no whipped topping in the filling, no lime Jello, no green food dye… Just sweetened condensed milk, eggs, lime juice. It’s amazing something so simple and uncomplicated could taste so deliciously good. This can be served with whipped cream or whipped topping on top, which a lot of people do to cut the sweetness, but I personally love it as-is.
Currently served at various restaurants across Disney World
Preheat oven to 350. Beat sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks and beat on low until completely combined. With mixer still on lowest setting (never higher so as to prevent air bubbles), add key lime juice and mix until well blended. Pour into pie shell and bake for 20 minutes, or until set (the middle of the pie will be firm with no wiggle). Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until serving.
Top with whipped cream and lime as a garnish, if desired.