• Yield: Yield: one 9-inch pie; 8 to 12 servings

  • Time: Active time: 15 minutes | Downtime: 3-hour refrigeration total

Homemade graham crackers and stovetop condensed milk give my Key lime pie a freshness you won’t find in other recipes, and a more balanced sweetness. From the earthy crunch of the crust to the tangy yet creamy filling, these DIY ingredients take the pie to the next level.


Key Lime Custard:

  • 1/2 cup | 5 ounces egg yolks (from about 8 large eggs)

  • 2 tablespoons lime zest

  • 3/4 cup | 6 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 pound or 6 to 9 large supermarket limes)

  • 1 recipe Quick Condensed Milk, at room temperature

  • 1 fully baked Graham Cracker Crumb Crust

Whipped Cream:

  • 1/4 cup | 2 ounces sugar

  • 1/8 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (half as much if iodized)

  • 3/4 cup | 6 ounces heavy cream

BraveTart by Stella Parks


Prepare the custard:

In a 3-quart stainless steel saucier, whisk together egg yolks, lime zest, juice, and Quick Condensed Milk. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking gently, until the custard is steaming hot, about 5 minutes (or 125°F). Increase heat to medium and continue cooking until custard begins to bubble, about 5 minutes more (it won’t seem terribly thick). Pour into the prepared crust and refrigerate, uncovered, until cold and firm, at least 4 hours. (Covered loosely in plastic at this point, the pie can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

Finish the pie:

To make the whipped cream, combine sugar, salt, and cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-low speed for a minute to dissolve the sugar, then increase to medium-high and whip until the cream is thick and stiff, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe decorative stars or swirls around the edges of the pie. Cut into wedges with a chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between slices. Loosely covered in plastic, leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Make ahead

In a glass or ceramic container (not metal or plastic), the lime zest and juice can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The most delicate citrus compounds will be altered by cooking, so extreme freshness isn’t as important here compared to raw applications.

Recipe reprinted with permission from BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts by Stella Parks. Copyright 2017 W.W. Norton & Company.