Mini Frozen Key Lime Pies
Made with oodles of key lime juice and zest and a buttery honey graham cracker crust, these little cuties are a perfect balance of sweet and wildly tart. They have a terrific texture too. The filling base is a combination of sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese rather than the traditional custard, so it freezes beautifully. Let the wee pies temper for a few minutes when they come out of the cold, and they fairly glide over your tongue — dense, creamy, and ever-so-slightly crystallized.
Of course, we love all things mini, but these pies are pint-size with a purpose. The ratio of filling to crust to whipped cream topping is sublime. They’re also ideal for those times when you don’t have enough room for a full dessert, but you want a bite of something sweet. They’ll make a very cute end to a fancy meal with the family, a birthday party for the kiddo, or a tiny baby shower for the partner. We also like to freeze a batch and keep it around for late-afternoon or midnight snack attacks — just one will satisfy a sweet tooth. (Who are we kidding? We always want at least five more.)
Our tip: These little pies can be made up to two weeks ahead. Keep them covered in the freezer, ’til you’re ready to use them. They’re best if you let them sit at room temperature for a minute or two before topping and serving.
Yield: 48 mini pies
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp honey
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from about 8 crackers)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
⅓ cup fresh key lime juice
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp finely grated key lime zest, divided
¾ cup chilled heavy cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
Special Equipment: 48-cup mini muffin pan and paper liners
Melt the butter and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave-safe bowl.
Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until fine crumbs form. With the motor running, drizzle in the butter-honey mixture and process until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the condensed milk and beat until smooth. Add the key lime and lemon juices and beat to combine. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the key lime zest. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, use a whisk or electric mixer to whip the heavy cream on medium-high speed until it forms very soft peaks.
Sprinkle the powdered sugar over the whipped cream and continue to whip until it holds stiff peaks. Gently fold ½ cup of the whipped cream into the key lime mixture; cover the remaining whipped cream and chill.
Line the muffin pan with paper liners. Pour the key lime mixture into a pastry bag or plastic bag. Snip off the corner of the bag and pipe the batter evenly into the liners. Top each pie with 1 teaspoon of the cracker crumb mixture, breaking up the crumbs to completely cover the tops, then press down gently to adhere. Freeze until set, at least 3 hours.
Remove the pies from the pan and remove the paper liners. Spread the reserved whipped cream over the pies and top with the remaining 1 tablespoon of key lime zest. Serve immediately.
Recipe Source: Epicurious