A couple of weeks ago, we had company for Sunday dinner and of course I wanted to make a great dessert. Rob had been watching the 2012 catch up program of The Great British Bake Off, and his eye’s lit up at Ryan Chong’s Key Lime Pie. Of course he then turned to me and asked what on earth a key lime pie was, but that’s another story. As you read through you’ll realise it’s not actually far off a cheesecake recipe – with the addition of the meringue topping.
This is my adaptation of Ryan’s recipe – as “one of the best things the judges have ever tasted” it didn’t need much adaptation, just substituting a few ingredients for their lower-fat counterparts to save a few inches on the waistline! I opted for a biscuit base rather than pastry, I’d like to blame this on time pressures but mostly it was laziness….
300g low-fat digestive biscuits
2 pieces of stem ginger
75g reduced fat spread
2x 400g tins light condensed milk
240ml lime juice – I used 2 fresh limes + some bottled
Lime zest – Ryan suggest 7 limes which seems a lot! I used 2
3 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped
4 egg yolks
Italian meringue topping
4 egg whites
– To make the base, put the biscuits and ginger into a blender and pulse to fine crumbs
– Stir in the melted butter, and press firmly into the base and part way up the sides of a 7-8 inch springform tin
– Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, remove and leave to cool
– For the filling, simply combine the condensed milk, lime juice & zest, and egg yolks, in a large bowl, and which for 3 – 4 minutes until it starts to thicken
– Stir in the stem ginger pieces, and pour evenly over the base, smoothing the top
– Bake at 170 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, until the top is solid, it doesn’t need to be completely set, but not liquid
– Remove from the oven and cool in the tin. Cool in the kitchen for at least an hour, before chilling further in the fridge, overnight ideally. Once completely set it should start to come away from the edge a little.
– Carefully remove from the tin – it should come away easily – and put to one side
The Italian meringue topping is made with a hot sugar syrup which cooks the egg whites as you whisk them together, so there’s no need to bake. You do need to multi-task on this bit – the sugar syrup took around 7 minutes to boil, and the eggs maybe 3 or to whisk. The eggs need to be ready as soon as the syrup is hot enough
– Using a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are light and form soft peaks, holding their own shape
– Put the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan with 6 tablespoons / 100ml of water, over a medium heat. Allow to boil without stirring, until it reaches 120 degrees. It’s not as quick a process as you might think, mine took about 8 – 10 minutes to get hot enough.
– Take the sugar syrup off the heat, and immediately start adding to the egg whites. Pour in a slow but constant trickle, trying not to directly hit the whisks or the hot syrup might splash back
– Continue beating the meringue mixture for 3-4 minutes until it’s smooth, creamy and thick
– Transfer to a piping bag, and pipe on top of the lime base. Whilst Ryan used a ring around the outside edge, I opted instead for a star nozzle and swirl pattern in the centre of the pie
– If you have one, finish off by lightly toasting the outside of the meringue with a blowtorch. Move quickly across the meringue, don’t hold still in one place or it will burn. If you don’t have a blow torch, the meringue is already cooked so it’s by no means essential. You could finish with a sprinkling of icing sugar, or perhaps some lime garnishes.
Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve – I made mine the same day but the leftovers tasted just as good the day after!
Cut inside – you can see the 3 distinct layers, a crunchy base, creamy filling, and rich meringue topping.