There are countless recipes for key lime pie, and there's only one thing that is critical folks -- use only fresh lime juice! Freshly squeezed lime juice will make the difference between a decent key lime pie and a fantabulous pie! Use key limes if you can find them. In Florida they're available in the winter months, usually sold in small bags - 1 small bag will yield between 1/2 and 2/3 cup of juice. Don't sweat it if you can't find key limes, regular limes will be just fine. If you're using regular limes, look for those with the thinnest skins that feel heavy for their size. And the smaller size limes usually yield more juice, not the ones on "steroids". To yield the most juice, you can pop limes in the microwave for about 30 seconds each, then roll them back and forth on the counter with the palm of your hand a few times before squeezing.
Key Lime Pie Bites Dipped in White Chocolate and Semi-Sweet Chocolate
35 vanilla wafers
1/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/3 cup coconut (I used unsweetened, frozen shredded coconut, but if you prefer the sweetened variety, by all means use that instead, just omit 2 Tablespoons sugar below)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
6 egg yolks (recommended: organic, cage free eggs from vegetarian fed hens - no hormones or antibiotics)
3/4 cup key lime juice or regular lime juice (fresh, not bottled! Use organic if you can find it)
zest of 1 lime
4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (organic preferred)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup vanilla bean ice cream, softened (Haagen Dazs recommended)
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
8 oz. white chocolate, chopped
Make Crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In food processor, finely chop vanilla wafers and macadamia nuts. Add coconut and sugar, then pulse a few times to blend. Transfer mixture to a bowl, add melted butter and stir until well combined. Press crust evenly into an 8 inch square pan, then bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and place on baking rack. Cool completely. If not using crust right away, you can wrap well and freeze, then let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.
While crust cools, prepare filling. Bring a pan of water to a simmer. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks until they begin to look pale and become creamy. Add lime juice and whisk, then place over pan of water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Continue to whisk constantly until thermometer reaches 160 degrees F. The mixture will become foamy, somewhat fluffy and a pale yellow color. Remove from heat and add lime zest, sweetened condensed milk, and softened ice cream. Spread evenly in prepared crust, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for about 1 hour - so it is not frozen solid, but firm enough to hold up the sticks. Score top of pie into desired size squares, then insert lollipop sticks into the center of each square. Return to freezer and freeze at least 8 hours or overnight.
To Dip in Chocolate:
Bring a small pan of water to a simmer. Chop semisweet chocolate into small pieces (the food processor makes this a snap), then place in a bowl over the simmering water. Make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir frequently until melted, then remove from heat. Using thin spatula, remove key lime squares from pan, and holding on to lollipop stick, dip half of the squares into the chocolate, letting excess drip back into the pan of chocolate. Place dipped squares on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and place in freezer to harden. Repeat the process using the white chocolate. Because of its high fat content, white chocolate is particularly finicky and susceptible to turning grainy if it is subjected to temperatures that are too high. I've had this happen more than once, and there is no salvaging the chocolate when it gets to that point. This tip works every time: heat the water to simmering, then remove from the heat and sit bowl of white chocolate in the top of the pan (making sure it doesn't touch the water), whisking until smooth and completely melted. If desired, you can also dip the white chocolate squares into sprinkles or toasted coconut for additional texture and color.
Crust recipe adapted from Epicurious
Filling recipe is adapted from Mrs. Butter's Secret Key Lime Pie
*Lollipop sticks can be found at Michaels craft stores