I made pies for small group last night. I worked from the Key Lime recipe I’ve use for a while, but mixed up the flavors a bit. I don’t normally bake, but cream/custard pies are an exception because the timing isn’t critical. As you’ll quickly notice, I don’t make “healthy” desserts. :)

Here’s the original (I no longer use the recipe below. My current key lime pie recipe is here.):


1 pie crust (prebaked, 8′ shortbread)

1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp key lime peel (freshly zested)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Pour into pie shell and bake for 20 min.

Make fluff and spread onto pie, finishing by sprinkling lime zest on top.

Last night I forgot the cornstarch and made the following variations.

> Substitute key lime/mango juice for lime juice
> and garnish with thin mango slivers.

Everyone seemed to like it.

> Substitute cranberry nectar for 1/4 cup of lime juice,
> add two dashes of Angostura Bitters,
> and garnish with ??

Also popular, though I left it ungarnished. I’d try it with only a single dash of bitters (maybe none). I’d appreciate garnish suggestions, but I’d rather avoid actual cranberries.

> Substitute mild molasses for lime juice,
> add 2tbsp unsweetened cocoa and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract,
> and garnish with dusting of cinnamon.

This was my attempt to shoehorn my chocolate pie recipe into the key lime pie form. I didn’t find the flavor result to be nearly as good as my original (which tastes like an Oreo), though the flavor was surprisingly complex for a cream pie. I thought it was too sweet and too molassesy, but several people seemed to enjoy it quite a bit!

I had a feeling the molasses would be too much when I was adding it, but I wasn’t sure what else to do. Also, I’ve only used blackstrap molasses in the past and wasn’t sure just how mild the “mild” would be. Considering that the sweetened condensed milk contains almost twice as much sugar as the cup of powdered sugar I would normally use in my Chocolate pie, using a mild molasses (it’s sweeter, right?) probably wasn’t the best choice! So maybe I should have tried substituting 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses and 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa for the lime juice in the original recipe? Maybe next time.

Here’s the my original Chocolate pie recipe:


1 pie crust (prebaked, 8′, shortbread)

2 eggs
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa
1 1/2 tbsp molasses (blackstrap)
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine sugar and cocoa in a bowl, mixing well. Add heavy cream, molasses, and vanilla, mixing on high speed until firm. Transfer to saucepan and heat until steaming. Beat eggs in a bowl and temper with steaming liquid, mixing well. Add back into saucepan and gently heat to a soft boil, stirring constantly. Pour into pie shell and bake for 45 minutes.

Make fluff, spread onto pie, and finish with a light dusting of cinnamon.

(As you can see, with the exception of the eggs, it’s really just baked chocolate fluff.)

24 thoughts on “pies

  1. I’m curious if the Caribbean cookbook inspired you to add mango or if it is something you have tried before or from another source of inspiration? I LOVE mango and it was in so many things when we went to St. John – YUM!

    I don’t know what the bitters taste like . . . bitter? ;-P that wasn’t really what I meant — I meant flavor-wise, but things that I might use for garnish would be apple or pear slices or orange (regular, blood or even canned mandarin) or maybe pecans for a texture difference?


  2. I added mango because I saw a bottle of Nellie and Joe’s Mango Key Lime Juice and it sounded like a nice variation on my normal Key Lime Pie. It also uses N&J juice, and my Key Lime pie recipe originated on the back of a N&J bottle (though I’ve tweaked it a wee bit).

    There are many different kinds of bitters, though the only one I have on hand is Angostura. I’ll try to bring a bottle to Blurp. The flavor isn’t particularly bitter, but it has an amazing ability to make disparate flavors gel. Like nutmeg, it’s one of those things that quickly goes from “maybe a little more” to “way too much”.

    As for the garnish, I was hoping for something that would give some indication of what was inside, or at least not mislead the unsuspecting. :)


  3. Well, you said you’d rather avoid actual cranberries!! :-P How about this idea — sometimes I make a . . . well, I don’t really know what to call it — it’s not saucy, maybe a relish or chutney? but I don’t put spices in it . . . by chopping up cranberries with orange juice and a little zest and a little apple. You could put a little ring of something like that around the outside top or serve it with a little spoonful of that?? You can also use dried cranberries.


  4. I didn’t say my goal was attainable! Actually, it’s not uncommon for me to set a blue-sky goal of what I’d like to have, and then have to revise it when it becomes clear that reality doesn’t appear to be conforming to my will.

    I’m hesitant to use cranberries just because I don’t want that sharp of a flavor in the garnish, but I like the idea of making a cranberry relish for it. Your relish sounds good. :)

    Do you tend to use navel oranges or something else? I’m not real excited about them (or Valencia, blood, tangerine, etc) but I do really like temple oranges. Unfortunately, they’re only available in February or so, and I’ve not had the foresight to juice and freeze them.

    I’m tempted to further tweak the lime-cranberry pie with only cranberry juice. It might make a nice holiday treat! Or maybe a sweeter cranberry-orange pie with a more tart cranberry relish for the garnish.

    Several years ago my father in law asked about an orange pie. I’ve not had much luck with this, though I have collected several as yet untested recipes. I suspect that the result of substituting orange juice for lime juice would be way too sweet, so I may not be able to use the key lime recipe as a base. Then again, some people wouldn’t mind it being super sweet. : )


  5. Fruittart, If I bring a cranberry pie, could you make a relish like you described to top it with? I’m thinking something like a sweet, not too chunky drizzle. If not that’s totally fine, I’m only asking because 1) I think you might enjoy it, and 2) I want to explore the idea of a cooking collaboration.


  6. MN:

    Sorry — I did not see your comment until you brought it to my attention! If I can find some fresh cranberries in the store, I can make a relish! Will you put lime or orange in it? This will be fun!



  7. Hey! I just discovered that there was another difference in the pies I made and the recipe I had on file. I worked off of the recipe on the lime-mango bottle, making what variations I remembered. Somehow I failed to notice that my recipe was lacking the three egg yolks called for on the bottle! Hm, now I’ll have to try making two versions, one with yolks and one with cornstarch.


  8. MN — I’m just back from the store to gather supplies for BLURP. I have cranberries! What I usually make is a rather chunky relish — it’s usually raw, not syrupy . . . but in light of what you are planning, I’m going to try something very different — I may even blitz the stuff to make it thin . . . hmm . . . playing in the kitchen . . . :-D


  9. I”m guessing by “syrupy” you’re referring to the texture and not the flavor? I had a feeling you might like playing with something a bit different, I’m looking forward to your surprises. It’s kind of exciting, a culinary duet where neither party knows in advance how their own part will turn out!


  10. when you said ‘sweet, not too chunky drizzle’ that put it in a ‘syrupy’ category for me . . . and what I have made in the past (in place of canned cranberry sauce –which I really dislike — at Thanksgiving) isn’t very sweet and doesn’t drizzle but it is chunky — so yes, I was thinking texture . . . and you had me laughing out loud thinking how this might sound to other BLURP attendees — ‘culinary duet where neither party knows in advance how their own part will turn out’ . . . see you tomorrow! ;-)


  11. I was initially concerned because I normally think of syrup as a one-dimensional sweetness, and I was thinking (from your original description) of something more like a lightly blitzed chutney in texture and complexity. (I’m only guessing what you meant by “blitz”… : ) But I think you know the general form of what I’m doing, so go with what you think best. I’m sure whatever you do will be great!

    Yeah, I thought about the others too. But unlike a concert, one can simply wait until fears have been confirmed or assuaged by the less reserved.


  12. blitzed, see also ‘zapped’ — the highly technical term for putting foodstuff in my tiny mini-processor/chopper and pressing the button until it (the foodstuff, not the button) has acquired the appropriate level of ‘choppiness’ ;-)

    When I was a grad TA, I had a student who loved to make new words — he called the shimmering effect of mixing two liquids of different viscosities ‘gluxing’ — I’m sure he would have come up with a much better word.


  13. Great word for scrabble! ;-) I think I’ve used the same onomantopoetic verb but not the noun.

    I also use ‘zapped’ and ‘nuked’ for microwaving — zapped having a more multi-purpose usage with me. Chopping and liquifying are also ‘zipped’ and ‘blenderized’ . . . they just have to have those zzz’s or it doesn’t properly convey the action :-D


  14. MN: The syrup is done . . . it’s not quite what I had hoped for . . . but it’s done. I used chopped cranberries, some chopped braeburn apple, zest and juice of one orange and zest of juice of lime, sugar and a little water and let it cook. I bsszzted it again after cooking for a while. I added a touch of cornstarch to thicken slightly but it still drizzles. It’s not *really* chunky but I didn’t strain it either . . . it’s still pretty tart b/c I didn’t use a lot of sugar but the citrus didn’t come through quite as clearly as I had hoped it would. I’ll be interested in how it goes with the pie. See you tonight!! ;-)


  15. I’ll be bringing a key lime / mango pie and a key lime / cranberry pie to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. This time I’ll make them using the older variation (corn starch) rather than the new one (egg yolks). And Fruit Tart’s drizzle was so tasty, I’ll try making one of those too!


  16. Pingback: lemon pie, pt 1 « :|

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