Baked Key Lime Pie—Prototype 1:
What do you do when you have more than half of a bag of key limes left over from making a key lime cheesecake?

You make a key lime
pie. At least that's what I did, in the summer of 2022, after looking over some recipes over the Internet. I checked out a few of them, and, based on those, I made up my own version.
3 eggs (brown recommended, large; note—both yolks and whites are used here)
1/2 cup key lime juice
3-4 teaspoons grated key lime zest (peel)
14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

Pour the batter into a graham cracker pie crust (about 9") and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Afterwards, remove the pie from the oven and cool it down at room temperature for about an hour, then refrigerate until firm.

Key Lime Pie—Prototype 1

So how did it come out? I felt the filling was sort of too soft (better bring on the xanthan gum next time!), and the taste was either not quite sweet enough, or—more likely—had too much lime zest (I leaned toward a tightly packed tablespoon, which would perhaps pass for 4 normal-compression teaspoons—anyway, it would probably be better to back off a little on the zest for next time). The sweetness was actually not all that bad, and I felt that this first prototype was still reasonably enjoyable. Decent key lime flavor—it's a good start!

In light of my having in early February of 2023 a few eggs on hand that needed to be used up soon or go to waste (the cost of eggs being outrageously high at that time!), I decided to make another lime pie. In this case, I repeated the above recipe with "regular" limes (not "key"—okay, "key lime" is in the "official name", but I really did not want to start a separate recipe series for the regular limes; maybe I should have called this recent, "keyless" one something like "Prototype 1.2", ultimately an interim "stepping stone" for a future second "keyed" prototype). I also used only 1 tablespoon of zest—not too tightly packed! And I reduced the lime juice to 1/3 of a cup. I added 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum as well. The results were nicely improved. I felt that the sweetness was just right. And the firmness wasn't so bad either, although the knife that I used in order to slice the pie still came out quite messy. That prompted me to consider using a little more xanthan gum next time.

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