Ode to the digestive – part 3, Key lime pie

key lime pie

This is another really easy recipe with a digestive biscuit base. There are so many versions of Key lime pie knocking around, some baked, some not, some with a biscuit base and some with pastry. I think a truly authentic pie should actually have a pastry case, a similar filling to mine but uncooked, and then the addition of a meringue topping, rather like a lemon meringue pie. Put like that my version has so little in common with the real thing that maybe I ought to give it a new name.

The benefit of this version is that it’s cooked so you can serve it to pregnant women. The sharp lime flavour means that it works well as a dessert to follow a Thai, Indian or Mexican inspired menu where you’ve used lots of spice and garlic. The lime flavour is pretty intense and if you’re not a fan of limes then you can use lemons instead.

A sort of Key lime pie

Serves 8-10


  • 200g digestive biscuits crushed with a rolling pin or in a food processor. (I think it is fine to use cheaper value digestive biscuits for bases.)
  • 75g butter


  • Zest of 3 limes (leave this out if using bottled lime juice)
  • 150ml lime juice (about 4-5 large limes, or use bottled lime juice)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 x 397g tin of condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 160oC fan.

For the biscuit base melt the butter in a saucepan and then add the crushed digestives. Stir to combine and then tip into a loose bottomed flan tin with a diameter of 23 cm. Press the biscuit mixture up the sides of the tin as well as on the bottom. Leave to chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl add the eggs and lime zest (if using) and mix with an electric hand whisk until thickened. This usually takes about 2 minutes. Then add the condensed milk and whisk for another 4 minutes. Finally add the lime juice and give it another quick whisk (it will really thicken up now)*. Then pour into the prepared base and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

* I’ll let you into a secret, the last time I made this I misread the recipe and added the lime juice to the eggs instead of just the zest in the first step. In a panic I just bunged in all the filling ingredients together and whisked for a couple of minutes (it thickened up immediately because of the lime juice). I have to say that the result was exactly the same but I feel I should give you the legitimate recipe in the first instance.

When it’s completely cool cover and chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve. I don’t cover with cling film as the top is very fragile and comes away with the cling film when you remove it. I tend to cover with a shallow bowl which fits neatly over the tin without touching the surface of the pudding but you could also just put it in a large Tupperware container and then in the fridge.

Remove from the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving. I like to decorate with a dusting of icing sugar (don’t do this in advance though as the sugar just melts into the surface). You can also drizzle melted dark chocolate over the top if you want to be really fancy.

I like this dessert just for itself but if you want to work the presentation then a dollop of crème fraiche with some lime zest grated over the top works well.


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