Key limes are a small species of citrus fruit, grown (among other places) in the Florida Keys, from where they get their name. Key limes are generally used to make key lime pie; this simultaneously tart and sweet dessert is a typically Floridian treat, and if you’ve never had it you’re definitely missing out!
I know, we’re in the middle of the autumn season, and key lime pie is usually considered a summer treat. However, when someone with a key lime tree and too many key limes for their own personal use recently gave me a bunch of key limes for free, I had to make a pie out of them! Of course, I wanted to put a healthy spin on this treat that is typically made with fat-filled ingredients such as egg yolks and whipped cream. This simple key lime pie recipe differs from many others out there in that both the crust and filling are healthy, making this dessert a guilt-free indulgence!
I realize that outside of Florida, both key limes and key lime juice may be hard to come by. Thus, you can always use regular limes or regular lime juice in this recipe instead – the taste will be a bit different, as key limes have a distinctive tang, but it will be approximately the same and still delicious! Savor this flavorful, frugal, easy, and definitely healthy dessert!
Healthy Florida Key Lime Pie
You will need:
- 11 graham cracker sheets, or about 1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tbsp. light olive oil or canola oil
- 2 tbsp. fat free milk
- About 16 small to medium key limes, or 2/3 cup key lime juice
- 1 can (14 ounces) fat free sweetened condensed milk
- 8 oz. fat free cream cheese
- 8 oz. container Lite Cool Whip, or other brand lite whipped topping (you can use fat free if you want, but I’ve found that fat free whipped topping usually has an odd flavor…using the lite still gives you a good flavor, but with less fat)
- 9.5 or 10 inch deep dish pie pan (a regular pie pan will be too small!)
- Gallon sized baggie
- Large mixing bowl
- Electric mixer
(Click here for the printable PDF version of this recipe!)
Gather together your ingredients.
If using whole graham cracker sheets, place them in the gallon sized baggie and get out all the air before sealing. Pound the crackers on a hard surface with a mallet or other heavy object until the crackers are reduced to fine crumbs.
Place the graham cracker crumbs in a mixing bowl, and add the oil and milk. Mix well so that all the crumbs get moist.
Dump the crumbs into the pie pan, and press very firmly against the bottom and sides, making sure the crumbs are evenly distributed.
Now, on to the filling! If you’re using whole key limes, you will need to juice them. I used a small hand juicer that you place over a bowl to catch the juice; however, after later doing some research, I found this video which shows you how to extremely easily juice key limes using a garlic press! If you have one of those, I highly recommend using that method, as it is a bit time consuming to juice the small key limes with a hand juicer!
After you have juiced your key limes, place the cream cheese in a large microwavable bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds to soften.
Add the key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk to the cream cheese, and stir to mix. Then beat the mixture with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes on high, or until there are no small lumps of cream cheese left and the mixture is smooth.
Fold in the container of whipped topping to the key lime mixture. You will want to make sure the whipped topping is combined well, but don’t stir vigorously – you don’t want to lose all the fluffiness!
Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust you prepared earlier, smoothing it out on the top.
Cover with foil and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, before serving (else the filling will be runny). Alternatively, you can freeze the pie – it tastes delicious that way as well! If making a frozen pie, let sit in the freezer for at least 4 hours before serving to make sure that it is frozen through.
Once the pie has chilled adequately, slice into it and eat up!
Enjoy the delicate balance of sweet and tart as you savor this dessert, knowing that you aren’t ruining your healthy eating habits or hurting your wallet!