In the summer, we spend quite a bit of time on a stretch of sandbar between Boca Grande & Little Gasparilla Island, just off the coast of southwest Florida. As a kid, we spent summers on the island. As an adult, I’ve gotten married on the island, taken our kids to the island for vacation, and spent many days watching the tide come in.
The sandbar is an amazing place. Less than a mile off shore, the sandbar is about the length of a football field and situated on the edge of the channel. On any given day, we see dolphin, manatee, sting rays, sea urchins, shark, and a variety of mollusks. Basically, we kayak out and sit in our tiny lawn chairs until the tide comes in or the beer runs out. Then, we kayak back in and head to the Fishery (our favorite seafood restaurant…IN THE WORLD!)
Soooo, how does my key lime pie come into the picture? Simple. We were sitting on the sandbar one Saturday in the summer/early fall of 2012, and the idea popped in my head. Somehow, the idea of combining my coconut custard pie with my granny’s key lime pie seemed to make sense. Once we got home, I tried my idea, and it worked. Not only did it work, it was AMAZING!!! I entered it in the 2013 National Pie Championships, and to my complete surprise, I won! Who knew!!?!?!?!
2 c. crushed vanilla wafers
2 TBSP granulated sugar
5 TBSP. melted butter
8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese-softened
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1-15 oz can Eagle Brand Condensed milk
¾ c. Coco Lopez (Cream of Coconut)
3/4 c. key lime juice (yes, it needs to be real key lime juice)
In a bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press into a 9 inch deep dish pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Allow to cool to the touch before filling.
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs & egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add condensed milk and beat well. Add key lime juice and Coco Lopez and beat well. Pour into crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until center is set to the touch. Allow to cool before refrigerating.
Whipped Cream Layer
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. powdered sugar
In a cold bowl, beat whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff. Pipe large rosettes around edges.
Lime slices & white chocolate sea shells
To make white chocolate sea shells:
Melt white chocolate almond bark or white chocolate pieces in microwave. Pour into sea shell molds. Chill until set.