Do I live a dairy free life? Far from it. Cheese, milk, and yogurt are in my every day diet, and I don’t plan to eliminate them any time soon. Unfortunately for many people I know, this isn’t the case. I’ve found that I know quite a few people who are lactose intolerant, including Kyle, and since his birthday was coming up I realized I needed to try something a little different.
One of his favorite treats, when he’s not requesting my lemon squares, is key lime pie. Traditional key lime pie is made with condensed milk and topped with whipped cream, a nightmare to all my lactose averse buddies. I did some research on recipes that avoided lactose, and found that coconut milk was a great alternative to regular milk. The coconut flavor also pairs perfectly with lime, so it was a great substitute.
Though this recipe made me feel like a total hippie, it was fun to make and not as horribly difficult as I had expected. The Minimalist Baker recipe I based mine off of introduced me to soaking cashews to make a cashew milk that also helped to thicken the filling. Weird? Yes. But not crazy when I think about the fact that almond milk is an ever apparent thing around me.
I chose to make my pie only dairy free and not fully vegan since I love butter and believe it is a wonderful thing in baking. I also used corn syrup since I had some at home and it was much cheaper than buying agave. Obviously my pie was not in mini form and I chilled it in the refrigerator instead of the freezer, strictly since I made the mistake of not measuring my pan and realizing at the end of the baking process that my pie pan didn’t fit. It worked just fine, thankfully.
I also used Peruvian limes because I’m fancy like that. Just kidding. The label on the stand at HEB said they were key limes, and I grabbed them in a hurry, not realizing until I got home that they weren’t labeled “key limes”. They turned out to be huge, intensely tart, and very juicy, so I was quite pleased with the flavor. After more research, they are known to be the closest thing to key limes. I am assuming key limes are out of season, so the Peruvian version will do just fine!
The verdict on this dairy-free concoction: a smooth and intensely tart key lime loveliness! I like my fruit desserts tart, because why only go half way? But if your little heart desires, you are allowed to add a bit more corn syrup to sweeten it up. Another disclaimer on this pie is that we did wait a whole three days to try it. The crust was a little softer than I would have expected it to be, so I think it would be best served within the first couple days of making it. A week in the fridge tops.
Dairy Free Key Lime Pie
1 1/4 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/4 cup Butter, melted
1 cup Raw Cashews, soaked in water for about 6 hours
3/4 cup Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Coconut Oil, melted
1/2 cup Lime Juice (3 Peruvian Limes, 4 normal limes, or 8 key limes)
Zest from 1 Large Lime or 2 Key Limes
1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup, plus more to taste if desired
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and spray your pie pan with cooking spray.
2. To make the crust, mix your graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Press mixture into your pan over the bottom and up the sides about 1 inch. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Cool on a cooling rack.
3. To make the filling, just add all of the filling ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth. I tasted my mixture quite a few times and added some more corn syrup until the taste was not unbearably tart, but not super sweet since the crust will help to add sweetness. Strain the filling through a sieve to remove any chunks of cashew.
4. Pour the filling into the pie pan and sprinkle a little bit of lime zest around the edges.
5. Refrigerate for about 4-5 hours or until firm when jiggled – yes, that is a technical baking term. Serve cool, and store in the fridge for up to a week.