Purists insist there is no substitute for the distinctively acidic flavor of the ping pong ball-sized, yellow-skinned Key lime, but since I rarely see them at the supermarket I routinely use the more commonplace Persian limes instead for making the classic custard pie. I prefer the fresh taste to that of bottled, especially with a good dose of grated zest mixed in. To crank up the flavor even more, I bake it in a crust made of gingersnaps and pecans instead of graham crackers. It’s so easy and refreshing and everyone loves it, whichever lime variety you use. – Susan Puckett
1 cup finely crushed gingersnap cookies (5 ounces; 20 2-inch cookies)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (2 ounces)
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
For the filling:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup strained fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
For the topping:
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Make crust: Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss together the cookie crumbs, pecans, sugar, salt, and butter with a fork until moistened. Dump crumbs into a 9-inch pie pan and press evenly over the bottom and sides. Bake crust 8 to 10 minutes, until fragrant. Cool on a rack.
Make filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice, and zest. Pour into the baked crust. Bake 15-17 minutes until set but still slightly jiggly. Let cool completely on a rack and refrigerate until cold for several hours or overnight.
Make topping: In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Spread over pie and serve.
Makes 8 servings