Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CN – Key lime pie makes me think of spending warm, sunny days with my family in Floria. This creamy, sweet and acidic pie provides bold flavors and health benefits, too. In fact, limes are thought to boost your immune system and even help improve the health of your heart. (1, 2, 3) And when mixed with condensed coconut milk, gluten-free arrowroot flour and maple syrup, the lime juice used in this key lime pie recipe creates a thick and creamy texture that makes this pie so popular.
If you’ve tried my gluten-free lemon meringue pie or my vegan banana cream pie, this one has to be next on your list. Not only is it decadent looking, because of the vibrant sliced limes on top, but it’s also absolutely delicious.
What Is Key Lime Pie?
Traditionally, key lime pie is made with juice from the small key limes that grow throughout Florida. Compared to the Persian limes that we see year-round in our grocery stores, key limes are smaller, lighter and more acidic.
Key limes also have a stronger aroma than Persian limes and are known for their unique flavor. Although the scientific name for key limes is Citrus aurantiifolia, they’ve become known as key limes because of their popularity in the Florida Keys.
Key lime pie is traditionally made with a combination of key lime juice, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, sugar and pie crust that’s made with all-purpose, white flour. In an effort to make my key lime pie recipe as healthy as possible, I use maple syrup as a natural sweetener, condensed coconut milk that provides healthy fats and arrowroot flour that makes my pie gluten-free.
I also typically use lime juice and zest from the Persian limes that you find in your local grocery store in an effort to make this recipe accessible. Plus, the maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt in this recipe contributes greatly to the robust flavor.
Instead of relying on store-bought pie crusts made with refined sugar and flour, I make my gluten-free pie crust that’s made with gluten-free flours, grass-fed butter, date sugar and eggs.
Did you know that when the acidic lime juice is mixed with the coconut milk and arrowroot flour, it causes a reaction that makes the filling of the pie thicken? This is why key lime pie doesn’t need to be baked. So, give my recipe a try … Eating this key lime pie will make you feel like you’re sitting on a sunny patio in Florida.
How to Make Key Lime Pie
Your first step in preparing this key lime pie is to combine 2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Simply whisk the starch and oil for about a minute until it creates a roux.
Next, add 2 cups of evaporated or condensed coconut milk (or you can substitute cream of coconut). You want to whisk this mixture continuously until it thickens and forms a custard-like consistency. This should take about 10 minutes of whisking.
Now add in ½ cup of key lime juice, 1 teaspoon of lime zest, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, ½ cup of maple syrup and ½ teaspoon of sea salt.
Keep whisking the mixture for about five minutes until it becomes even thicker.
Well, that was easy, wasn’t it? Your pie filling is done. Now, just pour it into your gluten-free pie crust and allow it to cool.
Once it’s cool, chill your pie in the freezer for about an hour. I like to top my key lime pie with two to three sliced limes for garnish. This is a really colorful finishing touch.
And just like that, your key lime pie is ready to enjoy!
Key Lime Pie Recipe
Key lime pie makes me think of spending warm, sunny days with my family in Floria. This creamy, sweet and acidic pie provides bold flavors and it’s also an accessible, healthy version that everyone will appreciate!
- 1 Gluten-Free Pie Crust
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 cups evaporated or condensed coconut milk (or cream of coconut)
- ½ cup key lime juice (or use regular limes)
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2–3 limes, sliced for garnishing
- First, make up the gluten-free pie crust using my recipe. (Or make your own type of crust.)
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine arrowroot and coconut oil. Whisk to create roux.
- After about one minute, add coconut milk. Whisk continuously until mixture thickens into a custard-like consistency, about 10 minutes.
- Add lime juice, lime zest, vanilla, maple syrup and salt. Whisk until mixture thickens even more, about five minutes.
- Pour mixture into pie crust and allow to cool, then chill the rest of the way in the freezer, about one hour.
- Top with sliced lime for garnish and serve.
Did you know that when the acidic lime juice is mixed with the coconut milk and arrowroot flour, it causes a reaction that makes the filling of the pie thicken? This is why key lime pie doesn’t need to be baked.
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