White Chocolate Key Lime Pie with Coconut Crust

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This luscious White Chocolate Key Lime Pie is as good as it sounds. It’s sweet and tart at the same time, with the creamy texture of cheesecake. Best of all, there’s no baking required, so it’s perfect for summer!

White Chocolate Key Lime Pie with Coconut Crust

It’s really easy to put together too . . . well, except for squeezing the juice from all of those @#$% tiny key limes. The key lime flavor really is worth the effort, but I won’t judge if you choose to use regular limes instead. My grocery store sells bags of key limes that happen to yield exactly the amount of juice need to make this pie. I neglected to count the number of key limes in the bag, but I’m guessing it was around 15 or so.

I’ve been on a coconut kick lately, so I decided to jazz up the standard graham cracker crust with some unsweetened shredded coconut, which was a perfect complement to the tangy lime flavor of the pie.

I made this pie for Easter, but it would also be perfect for Mother’s Day (hint-hint dads). It is very rich, so plan to serve small slices. We had 8 adults tackle this pie (some of whom had seconds), and still only made it through ¾ of the pie (I have the rest of the pie in the freezer, but haven’t had an excuse thaw it out yet. I’ll be sure to let you know if it freezes well or not).

Ingredients
Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
Filling:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
11 ounces white chocolate chips*
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/3 cup key lime juice
Optional: additional white chocolate for garnish

To make the crust, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and sugar in a medium bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before filling.

To make the filling, add the cream and white chocolate chips to a small saucepan over low heat. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream, lime zest, and lime juice.

Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight. Before serving, garnish with white chocolate, if desired. Enjoy!

* Note: some chocolate chips contain fillers that help them keep their shape, but can result in a grainy texture when melted. I had good results with Ghirardelli White Baking Chips. You can also use baking bars, but they are generally more expensive than chocolate chips.

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Apple Cobbler

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Mmm, there is something comforting and completely satisfying about warm apple pie on a crisp autumn day. I love apple pie, but this cobbler is better than most apple pies that I’ve tasted, and it’s easier to make too! The almonds add another flavor that makes this cobbler unique (and extra tasty). You can also split this between two smaller baking dishes, and either share one with a friend, or stick it in the freezer for later.

Ingredients
6 cups peeled and sliced apples
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons water
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the sliced apples, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and cinnamon. Let stand for about 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Pour into the apple mixture and stir well. Pour the apples into the bottom of the baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup sugar. Add the melted butter and milk and stir until combined. Stir in the walnuts and almonds. Place individual spoonfuls on top of the apple mixture (it’s okay if you don’t cover all of the apples), and bake for about 45 minutes.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Ah, bliss!

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Key Lime Pie, oh my!

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We celebrated my best friend’s birthday this weekend and I baked a key lime pie for her, instead of the traditional birthday dessert (am I the only one that doesn’t get excited about birthday cake?). The pie was delish (even the kids wolfed it down) and it’s one of the few key lime pie recipes I’ve seen that doesn’t contain eggs. Be sure to buy key limes, which are smaller than standard limes. My grocery store sells a bag of key limes, which just happens to have the perfect amount of limes needed for this pie. The recipes is simple, but be prepared to get a workout squeezing the juice from all of those tiny key limes!

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
18 key limes (or enough to get 3/4 cup juice)
2 cans sweetened condensed milk (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (I like Daisy brand)
Fresh whipped cream (see recipe below)

To prepare the graham cracker crust, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until well blended. Firmly press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate, using your hands. Set aside while you make the pie filling.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using a lemon zester or a grater, zest a few of the limes until you have about 1 tablespoon of lime zest (do this while the limes are still whole). Now it’s time to get squeezing. The easiest way to juice the limes is to use a garlic press. Just cut the limes into pieces small enough to fit into your garlic press and then squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. An advantage to this method is that the garlic press contains the seeds, so you don’t have worry about fishing them out of your lime juice later. If you don’t have a garlic press, then cut a lime in half, and then stick a fork into the cut side of the lime and squeeze the lime around the fork in a circular motion to extract the juice. Repeat until you have 3/4 cup of lime juice.

In a medium bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, and lime zest. Mix until the filling is smooth (no lumps), and pour into the graham cracker crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 6 to 8 minutes (a few tiny bubbles on the surface of the pie is a good indication that it is done). Watch carefully and ensure that the pie doesn’t brown. Chill pie thoroughly before serving.

Fresh Whipped Cream

Nothing compares to homemade whipped cream. All you need is a bowl, an electric mixer, three ingredients, and about two minutes to create rich, creamy goodness that can’t be found in a can (and don’t even get me started on that frozen stuff). The beauty of making your own whipped cream is that you can adjust the sweetness to your taste (or your recipe). I used less sugar in the whipped cream for the key lime pie, since the pie was already very rich, but you can adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.

Ingredients
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium metal mixing bowl, beat the cream with an electric mixer until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat the mixture until soft peaks form. Be sure not to over mix.  (Note: chilling the bowl and beaters before adding the ingredients will reduce the mixing time.)

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Almond Pear Pie

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It’s pear season and this is an excellent recipe if you find yourself with a surplus of very ripe pears. Choose pears that are soft when ripe, such as Bartlett, rather than crisper pear varieties (Asian, Bosc, etc).

Ingredients
1/3 cup softened butter, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 frozen pie crust
1/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3-4 very ripe pears

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat, and then add the almonds. Toast the almonds until golden and fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a medium bowl, beat the remaining 1/3 cup butter and the sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts, and then mix in the flour. Fold in the toasted almonds.

Working quickly to prevent browning, peel the pears and cut into thick slices.  Arrange the pears in the bottom of the pie crust (don’t bother trying to make it look pretty). Pour the custard (mixed in the previous step) over the top of the pears.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, until the custard is set in the center. Cool completely before slicing. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

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