Tuesdays with Dorie: Florida Pie

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe selection, Florida Pie, was the perfect choice for me. Not only do I live in Florida, but this pie is a variation of Key lime pie, which is Mr. SGCC’s favorite dessert. In fact, it is one of the very few desserts that he does like. Finally, a dessert creation from me that my husband will actually eat! Many thanks go to our host for this week, Dianne of Dianne’s Dishes for picking this one. Mr. SGCC salutes you!
Key limes or Citrus aurantifolia, are the fruit of tropical citrus tree and are related to lemons, oranges, and kumquats. They are native to Southeast Asia, and probably originated in Indonesia or Malaysia. As opposed to the hybrid Persian limes that one usually finds in stores, Key limes are smaller, rounder fruits with a thin yellowish-green rind. They are aromatic and very juicy, with a very tart and acidic quality. Key limes were grown commercially in the Florida keys for many years, until the great hurricane of 1926 destroyed all the citrus groves in the region. Key lime trees can still be found growing prolifically all around South Florida and the Florida Keys.

Making Key lime pie is one of the most popular uses for Key limes. Key lime pie is made with key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk, usually baked in a graham cracker pie crust, though originally they were baked in a traditional pastry crust. No one really knows for sure who “invented” the first Key lime pie, but the most popular theory is that William Curry, Florida’s first self-made millionaire, had a cook known as Aunt Sally, who created the pie sometime in the late 1800s. The pie relies on sweetened condensed milk because, up until the construction of the Overseas Highway in 1930, there was no refrigeration in the Keys and thus, no fresh milk or ice was available. Since there was no fresh milk, local cooks had to rely on canned sweetened condensed milk, which was invented in 1856 by the Gail Borden (Sound familiar?).


On July 1, 2006, by action of the Florida Legislature, Key Lime Pie was designated as the Official State Pie of the State of Florida. This wasn’t the first time that legislation was proposed regarding the Key lime pie. In 1965, Florida State Representative Bernie Papy, Jr. introduced a bill calling for a $100 fine to be levied against anyone advertising Key lime pie that was not made with key limes. That bill did not pass!


Dorie’s Florida Pie is essentially a traditional key lime pie lined with a layer of coconut cream. It is brilliant because that layer of sweet creaminess really balances out the tartness of the Key lime filling. I opted to use a store bought crust for this pie. I was pressed for time and succumbed to convenience. Please don’t throw rotten Key limes at me! Dorie says in the book that she usually does this too, so I figured it was okay.

There is also an age-old debate as to the proper way to top a Key lime pie: meringue, whipped cream, or neither. Dorie’s recipe calls for a meringue topping which is either broiled or torched. I decided to top mine with freshly whipped cream sprinkled with a little toasted coconut. I like it better that way. So sue me!

All in all, everyone here in SGCC Land really enjoyed this dessert. It is an interesting and delicious twist on an old favorite. I wouldn’t hesitate to make this again.
If you’re into Key lime pie, or coconut or Dorie, please take some time to check out some of the other great versions of Florida Pie at Tuesdays with Dorie.


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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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