Key Lime Pie with Homemade Shortcrust Pastry

Key lime pie… what is a key lime anyway? And what’s a lime pie taste like? This and many other questions whizzed through my brain as I attempted to make this recipe. I’d never eaten key lime pie, but my friend’s daughter said she fancied trying one so I thought I’d have a go at it. It surprisingly turned out pretty well and they asked us for the recipe!



The star ingredient in this dish is, of course, the key lime. Key limes are smaller and yellower in appearance than the regular green Persian limes that we are used to seeing in the UK. These limes are traditionally associated with Florida, specifically Florida Keys. I used regular limes for my own recipe as it’s hard to get hold of Key limes in the UK! You want to add in extra Persian lime zest and juice to compensate as they have a milder flavour.



Key lime pie originates from Florida Keys in the USA. They are so proud of these pies, that you can find them in most restaurants in Florida. Such pride and confidence in their pies has led, as you can probably imagine, to disputes about the original recipe. Many attribute the Key lime pie to botanist Jack Simons, but others say that the pie was a creation of Florida’s sponge fishermen, who spent their days on boats and didn’t have ovens, leading them to create meals and desserts that could be made cold.

There are actually so many different versions of this pie: some use a biscuit base, others use pastry; some are lime curd topped with meringue or cream, others are cream based; some even have a layer of bright green jelly in the middle!

The full history of the dessert is traced very thoroughly in this article that I found whilst researching online:         


Where possible, try to buy local, seasonal, free range and organic ingredients. Apart from it being better to support local businesses and good farming practises, it does make a huge difference to the taste of your food!


For the pastry base:

200g plain organic flour

100g unsalted cold butter, cubed

1 large egg, beaten

1 tbsp lime juice


For the filling:

3 limes, finely zested with a zester or microplane and juiced

300ml double cream

1 tin of condensed milk

Icing sugar and zest, to finish



  1. Blitz the flour and butter in a food processor until it forms a breadcrumb-like texture. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the beaten egg and lime juice, combine with your hands until it forms a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 10 cm round pie dish. Roll out the dough until it is large enough to cover the base and sides of the dish (you can check this by placing the dish on top of it).
  3. Place the pastry in the dish, press gently around the inner corner so that the pastry dish is stuck to the sides. Blind bake the pastry for 10-15 minutes, until it’s golden in colour (check every 3-4 minutes or so).
  4. Take the dish out when it’s ready, and leave on a cooling rack.
  5. Whisk the cream, condensed milk, zest and juice in a bowl until the mixture is fairly stiff. Taste and add some sugar or icing sugar if it’s too sharp.
  6. When the pastry is cool, spoon the mixture over the top and smooth out with a palette knife. Set in the fridge for at least an hour. Finish with a pinch of zest and sieved icing sugar.

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cooking Time: 15-20 mins for the base, 1 hour cooling time

Serves: 4-6


LF – use margarine for the pastry and lactose free double cream, try to find a condensed milk substitute but you may be better off making a lactose free lime curd instead for the filling

GF – try making the base with gluten free flour or use gluten free crushed biscuits and butter to make a cheesecake type base

V – this dish is naturally vegetarian

Ve – use margarine for the base and a vegan coconut milk whipped cream recipe for the topping (add the lime juice and zest to the cream, as above)



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