Key Lime Pie

Do you know how many little Key limes I had to squeeze to extract one half cup of fresh juice?


Twenty two Key limes cut in half, which makes it 44 pieces. That I individually squeezed by hand using my mom’s antique juicer. 44 pieces, at least five rotations each at the tip of the juicer. That’s at least 220 times of putting pressure and squeezing each little Key lime half so I can extract fresh juice.

Did my fingers cramp? Yes. Did I regret it? Not one bit. It was all worth it for this key lime pie.

Key limes are little round limes from Florida Keys. Unlike the more common “regular” limes (which are actually Persian limes), Key limes are smaller, only about an inch and half in length,  with a more yellowish skin instead of bright green.

Key lime pie is something my mom and I both love. She likes citrusy desserts, and she is a fan of my Creamy Lemon Squares, so I baked her this Key Lime Pie, based on that lemon bar recipe.  I made an easy graham cracker crust, and used the fresh juice from the Key limes for the creamy filling, then slathered a thick layer of whipped cream on top.

As many of you know, my family lives in the Philippines, while I live here in Boston. Being away from my family means that we sometimes celebrate holidays apart, but sometimes I’ll come home to Manila or they’ll come here to the US and we’ll get to celebrate a special occasion together. This year, I am lucky to have my mom with me in Boston during Mother’s Day.

I’ve written multiple posts about how special my mom is on this blog – she who I credit for my lifelong craving for Filipino white cheese and an affinity for midnight snacks, the woman who taught me so many things: from how to distinguish Versace from Jean Paul Gaultier, to how to harness my strengths and passions, and to expanding my eating horizons.  She has taught me to always be kind and courageous, and to appreciate beauty in something as grand as the canals at Venice, to something as simple as a tree in Harvard Square. She is a foodie at heart, a warrior inside the most beautiful package, she is my Marcelia.

Even though as we are apart for months and sometimes years, distance and time fade because I can feel everyday how much she loves me.  I try to show her how much I love her, too, with little things like this pie. I would juice a million limes for her, and having her here with me today, on Mother’s Day, makes this Key lime pie all that much sweeter.

Key Lime Pie


1  1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed Key lime juice
1 tablespoon grated key lime zest
3 cups whipped cream (from approximately 1 1/2 cups heavy cream)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Make the crust. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Using the back of a large spoon, press crumb mixture firmly on the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake crust 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven to cool.
  3. Lower oven temperature to 350 F.
  4. Make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, condensed milk, Key lime juice and zest until smooth. Pour over crust, return to oven, and bake until filling is set, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  5. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 3 hours. Spread whipped cream on top before serving.

Enjoy a slice of this pie with your loved ones, and you’ll understand why juicing Key limes by hand is all worth it.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy!

Dear readers, thank you for the words of encouragement and support during my short blog hiatus and for sticking around! I missed you guys and I’m glad to be back blogging. Stay tuned for travel posts in the coming weeks!


37 Responses to “Key Lime Pie”

  1. #
    Rhonda posted May 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    What a labor of love :) You are so lucky to have your Mom with you on Mother’s Day, enjoy every moment!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      Thanks, Rhonda :) Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

  2. #
    Monica posted May 11, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Hi Bianca – welcome back! I’m glad you squeezed all those limes because this pie looks wonderful (plus, I love the plates). More seriously though, what a great tribute to your mom. You are lucky to have such a wonderful mother and she’s lucky to have a daughter who appreciates her so much. This was lovely to read – I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day with your mom tomorrow!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you, Monica, for the kind words! Hope you’re enjoying the weekend as well.

  3. #
    CCU posted May 12, 2013 at 2:22 am

    Awww, that is the sweetest gift for your mum :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. #
    Shannon posted May 12, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Enjoy your days with mom!!! This looks wonderful, and having made a key lime pie earlier this year, my hands are sympathetic :)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      Thanks, Shannon! I nicknamed my right hand “the claw” after juicing all those limes haha but definitely so worth it.

  5. #
    kale posted May 12, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    wow, nice job! that’s a lot of squeezing!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you! Haha yeah I feel like an expert juicer now ;)

  6. #
    Simply Life posted May 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    wow! I’ve never tried making this before- what a great cake and sweet picture of you and your mom!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Thank you! You should definitely try your hand at it – it’s so good!

  7. #
    Sacha posted May 12, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Beautiful. Your love for and appreciation of your mom are always so pure and evident in your posts about her. And the pie looks creamy and dreamy–the perfect gift!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Thank you, Sasha. That means so much to me!

  8. #
    Ashley posted May 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    You are so right!!! So much work to get so little juice…but totally worth it. I adore key lime pie or bars or anything!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks, Ashley! Lemon/lime bars are pretty awesome…

  9. #
    Colleen @ Culinary Colleen posted May 13, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I am impressed! Key lime pie is one of my mom’s favorite desserts too, but I usually cheat and buy bottled key lime juice :)

  10. #
    Meghan posted May 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Looks like the effort was well worth it! Love the photo of you and your mom, so sweet!

  11. #
    Sues posted May 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    So worth it!! The pie looks delicious! And I always love those key limes because they have my name on the bag :) :)

  12. #
    The Squishy Monster posted May 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Luscious, sweet, and tart…loooove this, Bianca!

  13. #
    Michelle posted May 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Oh, Bianca, my fingers are cramping up just thinking about it! But what a lovely gift for your mother. (And isn’t it just the most delicious of pies?)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      Thank you, Michelle :) It did turn out to be one of the best desserts I’ve ever made ;)

  14. #
    honeywhatscooking posted May 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    YUM!!! Love Key Lime Pie. Looks so delicious. Happy Mother’s Day to your mama! You look so pretty. Can’t wait for ur travel posts.

  15. #
    Lawyer Loves Lunch posted May 15, 2013 at 12:23 am

    That is serious commitment to key lime pie! But I was so glad to read that the fresh lime juice made all the difference because really, a mediocre pie just ain’t worth it (though for the record, I’d totally eat a mediocre pie. I’d just rather have your version) :)

  16. #
    laurasmess posted May 15, 2013 at 4:48 am

    I can’t believe you had to squeeze that many limes. Ridiculous! But the pie looks gorgeous… and I do think that any pre-cooking pain seems entirely worth it when the finished product is as amazing as this one! I’ve never had a key lime. They’re not available over here, but in the little imaginary bubble of my brain I do think that they must be waaay better than the Tahitian or Persian limes that we get over here. I mean, there’s a pie named after them! That must mean they’re good! Thanks for sharing this gorgeous post. Your mum looks absolutely beautiful, inside and out… and so do you! xx

  17. #
    vanillasugarblog posted May 15, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Oh how I love key lime anything!
    They are hard to find here on cape cod.

  18. #
    Happy Valley Chow posted May 15, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, always love seeing new people. I am now a follower of your blog and this key lime pie looks amazing!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  19. #
    Joanne posted May 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    You put some serious effort into this and it really paid off! Key lime pie is one of my favorites. So good!

  20. #
    Amy @ Elephant Eats posted May 15, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Do key limes and regular limes taste different? I think I’d be too lazy to do all that squeezing but I love me some key lime pie! This one looks fantastic :)

  21. #
    Lauren posted May 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    You and your mom are adorable!! Also, that is a LOT of lime squeezing. This pie really does look like something made from love!

  22. #
    grace posted May 17, 2013 at 5:10 am

    what a sweet picture! and wow–what a pile of key lime carcasses! i agree–key lime pie is worth every turn of the juicer and every hand cramp. :)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 17, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Thank you, Grace. Key lime carcasses is the right term!

  23. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted May 17, 2013 at 10:41 am

    So. many. limes. !!! This dessert looks well worth the effort, though. So fun your mom was here to celebrate Mother’s Day!

  24. #
    Patty posted May 17, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Beautiful Key lime pie! I’ve made Key lime pie and I can relate to the amount of Key limes it takes to get enough juice for a pie;-) Plus, all those little seeds! Happy be-lated Mother’s Day ;-)

  25. #
    Amy (Savory Moments) posted May 20, 2013 at 6:40 am

    That is a lot of key limes, but I have doubt it was worth it. This pie looks spectacular!

  26. #
    Molly Galler posted June 11, 2013 at 9:51 am

    SO HAPPY YOU’RE BACK! (That’s me shouting with excitement)

  27. #
    PassTheKnife posted May 27, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I love key lime pie! This looks like the perfect summer treat! Thanks for sharing, so glad your Mom could be with you for Mother’s Day!

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