Today is 3.14. Pi Day. Or Pie Day. How will you be celebrating? In honor of Pi Day, here's one you might like to try: some good ol' southern Key Lime Pie.
Before we get to the recipe, we'll be taking a brief detour through the Low Country of South Carolina. While living in the Low Country, we were introduced to many regional foods, events, and customs.
One of my first memories was when we'd just moved there. My neighbor, Teresa, invited me to go with her to the Loris Bog Off. Now Loris is this dinky little town in Horry (that's OH-reeeee) County with about 2,000 residents. Once a year, the town swells to 30,000 with its annual festival featuring chicken bog. For those of you not in the know, a Bog-Off is much like a Chili Cook-Off. Chefs prepare their own unique recipes of chicken bog and enter it in a contest.
I'd never heard of chicken bog until I moved to South Carolina. And, like chili, there are umpteen recipes and variations. The basics are rice (staying true to the low-country's heritage), sausage, chicken, onions, and broth. The dish is as local as you can get. And Loris is as famous as Loris will ever be with the annual Bog-off.
Anyhow, as we're wandering around the streets of Loris I saw this group of men in suits with an old man who was going around shaking hands with everyone. He made his way to Teresa and me, and shook our hands too. As he walked away I learned I just shook hands with the country's oldest and longest serving US Senator: Strom Thurmond. He was 94 years old and campaigning for his last election.
During our five years in the Low Country, we also had the opportunity to try benne wafers, boiled peanuts, greens, grits (instant not allowed), she-crab soup, chitlins (thankyouverymuchbutiwillpassonthese),barbecue (simply called barbecue, it's vinegar-based barbecued pork) , and of course, fried chicken smothered with gravy (OK...everything was smothered in gravy!). Coming from the west, this was a whole new world of food.
And how do you properly top off a Low Country meal? Key Lime pie, of course! It's another regional favorite, though not strictly Low-Country. Oh, my. The Southerners do know their pie!
So, in honor of Pi Day, I will share with you Paula Deen's Key-Lime Pie with Meringue Topping.
Key Lime Pie with Meringue Topping
Pie:1 prepared 9-inch graham cracker crust (I used Keebler brand)
1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 C freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp grated lime zest
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 large egg yolks
4 egg whites
6 TB sugar
1/2 tsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and condensed milk. Stir in the lime zest, lime juice, and cream. Pour the filling into the crust and bake about 30 minutes or until firm. Remove pie from oven.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. In a second bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the sugar mixture, a little at a time, to the egg whites, beating between additions. Continue to beat until the sugar dissolves. Spoon the meringue over the hot pie filling. Torch the meringue to give it’s golden color; or bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve pie warm or at room temperature.
And, just to be clear, as Paula Deen states, "Key Lime Pie should never be green!"