Famous Key Lime Pie

With every new season of  ‘The Great British Bake Off’ I get inspired to bake something new. This season was no exception to the rule and I was determined to bake my first ever pie.  Not any old type of pie, but the now famous Key Lime Pie.

 I have to admit that I was grossly unprepared for such a task, to the extent that I went to my local baking retailer and said: “I’m baking a Key Lime Pie, what do I need?” After a look of pure disbelief, the assistant actually managed to figure it out for me and I left with a brand spanking new pie dish and baking beads. I even bought a zester, so that I might be able to zest the limes without injuring myself.

I was ridiculously excited, and immensely terrified at the concept of making pastry … until I got home and realised the Hummingbird Bakery uses digestive biscuits instead.  Ah well. I set my baking beads aside and got started.

The base is essentially just crushed up digest biscuits with butter and is squished into the bottom of the pie dish and cooked for 20 minutes.  Everything was going great but I had a sneaky feeling that my pie dish was too small, I bought the recommended 23cm but it seemed to be a LOT of base for the amount of space there was.

Once baked, I set the base by the window to cool quickly while I got started on the main part of the pie.  This consisted of lots of egg yolks (the whites were swiftly turned into a yummy omelette), condensed milk, and lime zest and juice.

Here is where I messed up.  I started to use my great new zesting gadget and quickly realised that: 1. The recipe says grated. 2. My new gadget was making really big, thick bits of zest.

I didn’t think too much about it at the time and continued to mix everything and pour it into the cold pie crust.  I definitely bought the wrong size pie dish as about a quarter of the filling was left after the pie was filled to the top.  Oops. Afraid to risk it, I set the extra aside and cooked the pie in the oven for about 30minutes.  I was very careful to keep it in long enough so that it wouldn’t be classed as ‘wobbly in the middle’ but also wouldn’t overcook.

Once out the oven I left it to cool and chilled it in the fridge for 24 hours before serving up with cream and a little more lime zest.

So all that’s left to talk about is the taste. What can I say about this pie that will make you believe how unbelievably tasty it is! There aren’t many words that can express how good it tasted: zesty, creamy, light, delectable … GORGEOUS! Let’s just say that there is a reason the ‘British Bake Off’ judges named it one of the tastiest things they’ve had in the entire programme!

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Limes … in Cookies … Hmm …

I was looking for something really quick and easy to bake this weekend and came across this recipe for Lime Lattice Cookies in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.  To be honest I was quite sceptical about it all; now I’ve had a really good run so far with Mary Berry’s recipe’s but lime and cookies? … Really?

There were so few ingredients involved and the recipe seemed really easy so I couldn’t help myself; I decided to give it a go. All I had to do was cream some butter and sugar (easy enough) and mix in self-raising flour (can’t mess that up right?!) and lime zest (dammit!).

I hate grating – well, pretty much anything – but limes are by far the worst! They just don’t want to be grated! After much huffing and puffing – and the odd five injuries – I managed to get two limes grated and ready to put in the mix.

Here is where I have to make a confession – the recipe is enough to make 16 cookies; so … I measured the dough exactly and separated it into 16 exacts parts (that’s 17grams each). I realise the sheer geekiness and perfectionist nature of this and all I have to say is – I’m a geek, and I like to have cookies that are all the same shape. And What?!

Now this is where the recipe stumped me a bit; Mary Berry says to create a lattice pattern using a skewer – great, I have the skewer … now what in the heck is a lattice pattern?! (I do admit that this is another confession that I probably really shouldn’t reveal to the world via a food blog!) But Google, as always, provided me with an answer and I set to work.

 

The now lattice-patterned cookies went into the oven for about 15minutes, and came out just as they were turning golden.  This is the worst part about baking cookies.  You’d think it would be simple to know when the cookies are ‘almost golden’ but I’ll have you know that there are many different shades that fall under that category.

Once the cookies were out, I managed to wait twenty minutes before I had to give one a taste test; I was just too intrigued to wait!

And the verdict is … yum! The cookies have quite a crumbly texture and the lime adds a really nice sharpness to it, which isn’t overwhelming at all.  Altogether, they’re a great, quick and easy recipe for pretty much any occasion – did I mention that they look really good too?

Stand Back Mint, Chocolate Officially Has A Newer, Better Partner!

Yeah it does!

So, I’ve been looking at something to bake for a get together I was having this weekend with some school friends, one of which has FINALLY come back to London after travelling the world for Lord knows how long.

I finally decided on the Chocolate and Lime Cheesecake for two reasons: 1.) it screams ‘make me’ ever time I look through the recipe book; 2.) I wanted to make it when I could have as much as I want without looking like a complete pig; and 3.) for some reason I relate it to chocolate and mint (one of my favourite partnerships ever).

I think its safe to say this baking session would, in my own geeky way, be very exciting for me.  I started by battering some double chocolate cookies, mixing it with some melted butter and squishing the mixture into my prepared tin to go in the fridge for 30mins.  I’ve found an even better way to deal with the cookies: using a pestle and mortar.  A lot more fun than blitzing and less dangerous than banging it in a plastic bag.

While the base was cooling I prepared the cheesy topping.  Now this recipe wanted me to grate and juice six limes… SIX!!! My nails always suffer, so I found a helper (my lovely dad) and begged him to help, which he did because he is amazing. I started mixing the cream cheese with sugar and eggs and finally added the lime juice and zest.  Once mixed properly I poured it into the tin.


The recipe calls for a 20cm diameter tin so I was a bit suprised when my 23cm diameter tin was filled to the top. Even though there was no logical reason for it happening, I said a teeny little prayer that the cheesecake wouldn’t rise and put it in the oven for 35 minutes.

Thankfully the cake didn’t rise and to my delight there were no cracks…for all of 5 minutes! When I came back there was a huge crack down the middle. Ah well; it was magnificent while it lasted.  I left the cake to cool to room temperature and then left it overnight in the fridge, ready to decorate the next day.

Sunday brought with it more grating but this time I did it, as my dad more than deserved a break.  I managed to grate the lime and chocolate over the cake with only one injury, which I assure you is a huge achievement for me.  The cheesecake got wrapped up and shipped over to my friends ready for dessert.

Now in pretty much every post I talk about the smell of the cakes; how they are moorish and lovely. I feel I have to warn you,  nothing compares to the smell of this cheesecake. You can almost taste the tanginess of the lime; the smell is no match for the taste however.

This is officially on the top of the list with the Pecan cheesecake as my absolute favourite recipe.  It tasted amazing! It was a big cake and over half of it was consumed by four women, that just says it all really.

You think mint and chocolate go together well? Then you absolutely have to try this.