Deconstructed Key Lime Pie

Deconstructed Key Lime Pie

"Deconstructed" Key Lime Pie

Saving a step from the traditional key lime pie, I bake the custard in ramekins or cups and serve them with a graham cracker and toasted marshmallow topping. Key limes are smaller and have a more intense flavor than the common (Persian) lime. I like the balance of the two combined. A bit of coconut milk in the custard adds flavor without much fat.

Serves 8

Per serving: 250 calories, 1.5 grams fat

Lime Custard

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 teaspoons (packed) finely grated lime zest (about 1 1/2 limes)

2/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 6 limes)

1/3 cup Key lime juice, bottled or fresh (about 10 limes)

One 14-ounce can fat-free sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon lite coconut milk

4 egg whites, from large eggs

2 large eggs

1/8 teaspoon salt

Topping

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 egg whites, from large eggs

8 reduced-fat honey graham crackers (about 2 1/2-inch squares)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 325oF. with a rack in the center position.

In a medium bowl, combine the lime zest and the Key lime and Persian lime juices. Whisk in the condensed milk, coconut milk, egg whites, whole eggs, and salt.

Divide the custard evenly among eight 3- to 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Set the ramekins into a deep baking dish large enough to hold them all. Fill a kettle with hot water. Put the baking dish onto the oven rack and pour in the hot water until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Lay a single sheet of aluminum foil over the entire dish, wrapping the edges tightly around the pan to hold in the steam. Bake until the filling jiggles slightly when you shake a single ramekin, 20 to 30 minutes. (Take care when removing the foil to avoid a blast of scalding steam.)

Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and remove the foil (again with care). Let the dish cool until you can safely remove the ramekins from the water bath to a wire rack, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate the ramekins, uncovered, until they are completely cold, about 2 hours, then cover with plastic film and refrigerate until serving.

To make the topping: Put 2 tablespoons of water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over it. Set aside for several minutes to soften.

Stir the sugar with one-quarter cup water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and whisk in the dissolved gelatin and water, scraping the bowl to make sure you have added it all. Stir for a full minute to fully dissolve the gelatin. Stir in the vanilla. Set aside.

Using a standing mixer and the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high until they are foamy. (Alternatively, use a handheld electric mixer.) With the mixer running, add the syrup in a slow, steady stream, pouring it between the edge of the bowl and the whisk to avoid splattering. After all of the syrup is in, continue beating the whites until the bottom of the bowl feels cool to the touch, about 10 minutes. The mixture will look thick and shiny, like marshmallow creme.

Set out the ramekins and mound the topping over them, leaving some of the curd exposed around the edges. Use the back of a spoon to make decorative swirls. Refrigerate, uncovered, for up to 4 hours before serving.

To serve: Wave a kitchen torch slowly over the topping until it has the appearance of toasted marshmallow. Alternatively, pre-heat the broiler with a rack set on the uppermost rung. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and broil until the topping is evenly browned, about 1 minute.

For each ramekin, break a graham cracker in half at the marking line. Crumble part of one piece to one side of the meringue, and plunge the second piece into the topping. Serve immediately.

Make Ahead! The baked custards can be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, up to 3 days in advance, or frozen up to 1 week in advance; defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

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