Friday, June 3, 2011

Key Lime Pie: Is it REALLY Worth It???

And by "worth it" I mean worth the work. And by "work" I mean juicing eighteen little key limes for their precious juice.  And by "juicing" I mean cutting the little lovelies in half and sticking them in a garlic press and squishing the crap, or rather the juice, out of them.  Can you do the math? That's right.  Count 'em.  Thirty-six (yup. 36) presses.  Whew.

Ok. So the question of the day remains: Is making REAL key lime pie worth the 36 presses???  We. Shall. See.

Literally.  We shall.  Because I took it to a vote.

Now let's back up just a little so I can tell you how I ended up squishing 36 squishes.  My friend, Celina, is currently a guest blogger on her friend Jewel's food blog.  So when she posted her recipe for Key Lime Pie (click here! make the pie!) I was taken aback.  I had never had key lime pie!  And me, a self professed pie lover! Especially of the fruit variety! (I'm quoting myself from the comment section of Celina's blog post, fyi)

So that was it.  I needed to make it. 

As I made my BELOVED key lime pie (yes, BELOVED. Could anyone put that much work into something and NOT call it BELOVED??) I couldn't help but wonder if anyone would even notice that I used fresh key limes.  (Well, as fresh and can be expected this far north.) And since I was making this pie for a birthday party I figured that maybe I should make two pies; one real key lime and one fake (the juice of two regular limes and bottled regular lime juice... I got sick of juicing) and put it to a test.

Blow the whistle! We're havin' a pie-off!!!

Pie vs Pie.  

Meet the Judges!!

(L) Cara: Eating for two.   (R) Courtney: Birthday girl and all around artistic genius.
Genesis: Teenager. Hates key lime pie.
Kari: Brings herbs back from France to make us salad.
Karie: Mother of two, former ballerina, married to a Brit.
Andrew: Resident craft beer expert and Aeropress user.
Eva: Six years old. Loves a party. Has a hard time saying the letter "L".

Here's how it went down.

I labelled the real key lime pie "Pie #1" and the fake key lime pie "Pie #2".  My decision to make this a blind taste test was twofold;  it would assure that the judges wouldn't be swayed by their compassion for me and my 36 squishes while at the same time creating mystery and thereby upping the fun factor.

The judges came to the table and tasted each pie.  Some of them took one taste of each and quickly proclaimed their decision while others lingered, taking a taste of one then of the other and then back to the first, heavily weighing their decision.  And then there were those who tasted, thought, tasted again, thought some more, decided to have a full piece of one and then a full piece of the other and talked about their process (verbal processors - gotta love 'em) and then finally made their decision after exhausting all possible analytical discussion on the topic.

It was universally agreed upon that the pies were distinctly different.  Pie #1 (real) had a much stronger lime flavour than Pie #2 (fake).

In the end, the results were these:

Pie #2 (fake) - 4 votes
Pie #1 (real) - 3 votes

The FAKE key lime pie won 4 to 3!!!

Ok, now hold on for just a minute.  We're going to break things down and look a bit deeper into these results.

These are the people that picked Pie #2 - The Fake

Cara - she's pregnant.  We all know what hormones can do to your taste buds. 

Genesis - she's a teenager. And she hates all things lime.  So of COURSE she's going to hate #2 less than she hates #1.

Eva - she's 6.  I think that about explains it.

Karie - What's up with Karie?  I don't know... conservative palate?  

These are the people that picked Pie #1 - The Real Key Lime 

Courtney - is a Foodie.

Kari - is a Foodie.

Andrew - is a Foodie.

Draw what conclusions you may.

I felt that my vote couldn't be included in the official results because of my lack of objectivity (36! squishes).  However,  the panel of judges really wanted to know what my pick was so I tried to base my decision solely on taste.  

My pick?  Pie #1 (The Real Key Lime)!

So, is making REAL key lime pie worth the 36 presses???

The answer?
Definitely. Sometimes.


  1. Natalie, only you could write a suspenseful blog posting about pie. I almost peed myself from laughter. What are you chuckling about? Pregnant = small bladder.

    First off, next time you're having a taste test of anything... I want to be there.

    Second, I resent the pregnant/unreliable taste buds comment.

    Third, you rock and I bet your muscles are bigger after those 36 presses!

    Lastly, thanks a lot... now I'm craving key pie pie.

  2. excellent pie post...
    now i will have something to think about this am when i am on the spin bike!!!

  3. I want some Key lime pie now. Mmmmm....

  4. I too had a nice chuckle...especially at the brilliantly labeled pie tasting suspects. I love pie too and the lime pie sounds divine. Hope you make it again soon so I can taste it.

  5. I had a taste of pie (2 days later) and all that was left to taste was the fake pie.....need I say more...we know which was better! It was very good I might add, and my sincere apologies for never making you Key Lime Pie (I really thought I'd made every pie there is, but I guess not). From one pie lover to another (no wonder she loves pie!). Your, Mom

  6. Thanks for the comments everyone! (And Mom!) I'm so glad you enjoyed my Key Lime Pie Adventure. And sorry about putting your bladder into the danger zone, Jennifer!

    I'm sure I will make this pie again in the future... just not in the NEAR future! Haha.

    I must say that the "Fake" pie was still delicious. It just didn't pack the punch of those little darling key limes. So, go ahead and make this pie with bottled lime juice! If there's nothing to compare it to, who's gonna know? Just you and whoever you confess it to ;)

  7. This is great! I've never made key lime pie but I did wonder if it was worth it to use real key limes or not. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I didn't know you blog! What a wonderful read... I too almost peed my pants reading this great entry. I LOVE Key Lime Pie!!

    Looking forward to your next installment.

  9. This great! AND, now I might try making key lime pie. I love key lime pie, but I've only ever had the fake. Might just have to give it a go.

    Enjoying your blog and hope to read lots more. Passing this "award" on to you because you make me smile! Sadie

  10. I'm a new follower! :)

  11. I came over to your blog to get your cake pop recipe, then noticed your key lime recipe... I was considering the pie but then saw that you had to squish 36(!) times?!? I cannot afford that many limes, nor that much exercise... I'm living on limited sleep over here. And, considering that, I should probably forgo the cake pops and just bake a regular cake... but I can't do that because I tend to go high-maintenance in the food dept. and I have visions of bday party grandeur in my head.

    Oh, and HA!, I love that you posted cloth diapers right up there with wine and dancing as your *loves*. You're hilarious.

  12. Thanks, Erin! Good luck with that grandeur over there :)

  13. You! You!!!! You.... ARRGGGH!!!!

    Ever since you published this posting I have been C-R-A-V-I-N-G key lime pie. My plan... make it for my dad for his Father's Day celebration tomorrow.

    Gee whiz, I seriously don't know how I am able to type this right now. My hands are killing me from pressing 15 of those damn little limes in a garlic press! I could never make more than one of these pies at a time (with fresh limes) - it just hurts too damn much!

    Well, I'll let you know what the family thinks of the pie. I'm still not 100% over my cold so if I don't kick the bug by tomorrow I may have to opt out of the celebrations and wallow in self pity by devouring the entire pie all by myself. Hmmmmm... sounds like a tempting idea.

  14. Haha! Congrats, Jennifer! You are part of the elite key lime club! Sore hands and all...Looking forward to hearing how it turned out! And make sure you share your process with everyone so that they know how hard you worked to make that little pie. It'll taste even better!!

    And as far as making more that one of these pies at a time... well, that's how the fake key lime pie was born!


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