When my husband I first began dating I asked him, “What’s your favorite kind of pie?”. He replied “Key lime”, which I’d never had before. Wanting to win him over, I set about learning how to make it (it’s easy!) and later went on to win third place in the Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market Piesta contest.

In recent years, I’ve tried to “clean” up the recipe, after discovering that the Honey Maid graham cracker crumbs I was using contain high fructose corn syrup. I wanted to share the award-winning recipe, and a few of my suggestions on how to make this dessert, while not healthy, at least something you can proudly serve on special occasions.

I call my pie a “Cali-Lime Pie” as the contest entries had to contain California fruit, and I prefer to use regular limes, which are quicker to squeeze and easier to find than the little key limes. Regular limes work well with the addition of my “secret” ingredient: fresh squeezed orange juice.

Cali-Lime Pie

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs buy an organic brand of graham crackers that uses regular sugar vs corn syrup and then grind them yourself in a food processor

6 tbsp butter – grass-fed cultured butter is a great option

1.5-2 tbsp sugar – I use coconut sugar because it contains less fructose. I used to use 2-3 tbsp for the crust but lately have found it isn’t missed when I use only 1 tbsp! I only use about 1/2 tbsp or less in the whip cream. 

1 can sweetened condensed milkuse organic, which you can find at health food stores

4 egg yolks – ideally eggs from pastured chickens

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime/orange juice (about 4 limes and half an orange worth of juice) -buy organic if possible

~1 tbsp grated zest – I suggest grating a couple of the limes before you juice them and save some zest for the top of the pie

1/2 cubs heavy cream – buy organic, or ideally raw, organic cream since you aren’t cooking this part of the pie


Heat oven to 375.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and 1-1.5 tbsp sugar (save the rest of the sugar for the whipping cream) in medium bowl.

Press into 9 inch pie plate and bake for about 12 minutes.  Cool.

Lower oven to 325.

In medium bowl whisk together egg yolk, juice and zest, slowly add condensed milk.

Pour into crust.

Bake until center is set but quivers when nudged, about 20 minutes. Cool

Before serving whip cream, 1/2 tbsp sugar and vanilla. Spread over cooled pie. Sprinkle with zest.


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