Celebrating National Pie Day – Jan 23 [recipes]

I know most folks observe March 14 as Pi/Pie Day but the official National Pie Day is January 23. Last year, I baked a baked a lemon tart – this year, I went more of a traditional route and made mini bite-sized pies and a whole pie.

I was looking for a simple crust and simple filling recipe that used fruits in season. Since winter is the time for citrus, I chose Mini Keylime Pies to make for a dinner I was going to in the evening the night before National Pie Day.

The original recipe was actually for one whole keylime pie but I decided to use a mini muffin mold and made mini pies.

The recipe called for a graham cracker crust but I decided to add 1/4 cup of toasted sliced almonds into the food processor to add a nutty and hearty flavor to the graham crackers.

Also, the recipe asks for 5 tablespoons of butter, I suggest using 5 1/2 or 6 so the crust will really stick together and not crumble.

By the way, keylimes are really small – smaller than limes. And when you juice it and even after you bake it – it’s not green. The keylime pies you see at the bakery that are green usually have a couple drops of food coloring. I stood and juiced about a dozen keylimes to get enough juice for the pies.

For the second pie, I decided to use the same exact recipe but substituted the fresh keylime juice with fresh lemons. Here’s the lemon layer filling on the graham cracker and almond crust…

Because I like my pies a little tart, I added an extra tablespoon or so on top of what the recipe asked for and added a little lemon pulp. Be sure to refrigerate your pie to let the filling set.

For the cream part, I just added my own cream. I pixed a cup of white cream, teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a 1 1/2 tablespoon of powdered sugar and whipped it up with a hand mixer. One day I hope I can afford a Kitchenaid mixer. For now, I’ll have to deal with my hand mixer that says it has 5 speeds but really seems to have 1 speed that goes too fast – more food ends up on the counter and on my apron than I anticipate. To spread the cream on the pie, I get a big spoon and put a dollop on the pie and spread it around event.

If you’re thinking about making a citrus pie, better get started because the guy at the farmer’s market fruit stand told me meyer lemons have a couple more good weeks to go. Of course, you’re welcome to use regular lemons too that are off season but there’s something really flavorful and fresh when you use items in season.

RECIPE: Mini Keylime Pies **
** For lemon cream pie recipe, just substitute lemon for keylime. And just whip up some heavy whipping cream (see recipe above). Also, don’t forget to add a little zest from your citrus for some color!

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