Desserts featured National Pie Championships recipe Sunday Dinner

Sittin’ On A Sandbar Key Lime Pie #SundaySupper

March 20th was the official start of Spring this year, and what better way to celebrate than by whipping up some citrus treats!

Key Limes vs. Regular Limes

Being from Florida, we have an over-abundance of citrus, but it’s the tiny, tart Key Lime that takes center stage in this citrusy, spring treat.  However, Key Limes and the ordinary Persian Lime in the supermarket are completely different creatures.  While many people think that a lime is a lime and one can be substituted for the other, the truth is nothing can replace a real Key Lime.

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Key Limes were grown commercially in the Florida Keys until the 1920s when a hurricane wiped out the crop and farmers began producing the larger, seedless Persian Limes that we see in the supermarket today.

From a cooking perspective, yes, they have more seeds and are considerably smaller, which makes juicing them a bit of a pain, but they are more acidic, more aromatic, and more flavorful than the seedless Persian Limes at the supermarket.  To put it simply, there is no replacement or substitution for key lime juice.

2013 National Pie Championship Sittin’ On A Sandbar Key Lime Pie

National Pie Championship Win 2013Yes, this pie won a national championship.  Each year, pie bakers from around the country converge on Orlando to battle for the National Pie Championship.  I’ve been competing since 2007, when I thought I knew more about baking than I actually did.  I’ve been winning since 2008, when I was massively pregnant and plenty of time on my hands to research, practice, and learn.  In 2013, I took home the championship with a key lime pie that was literally dreamed up while I sat on a sandbar watching the tide come in.

This key lime pie is more of a hybrid than traditional.  As much as I love traditional key lime pie like my granny makes, but I had issues with it weeping and crust getting soggy, so I took my favorite coconut custard (similar to coconut flan) and married it to my granny’s key lime pie recipe.  The end result is a stable, creamy, tart key lime pie with a kiss of coconut flavor.

IMG_1025 (1)**Side note…This pie idea really was dreamed up on an afternoon sitting on a sandbar off the southwest coast of Florida, near the island where I spent my summers growing up!

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 sweetened condensed milk
¾ c. cream of coconut (not coconut milk…This is the stuff you make real pina coladas with!!)
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.

Sunday Supper Citrus Recipes That Will Make You Smile



Main Dishes




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  1. Wow! Congratulations on your championship pie! That’s an awesome story! I definitely agree that nothing can compare to the key lime & also they are a pain to work with haha, but so worth it! Thanks for sharing your winning recipe. What a treat!!

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