Last Friday (Earthday!) was my husband Steven’s birthday, so I made him these mini key lime pies with gingersnap crusts to celebrate. He spent a lot of his childhood in Florida, where key lime pie is part of the culture. But I have to admit that I cheated a bit–I just used regular limes in this recipe. They’re a lot easier to find and juice than tiny key limes. And these little pies were still damn delicious. So don’t stress out about the “right” lime type.
Another thing you don’t need to stress out about is having mini tart pans. I just made these in regular muffin tins! I’m sure mini tart pans are great if you have them, but I don’t, and I didn’t want to have to buy a new set of bakeware just to make these mini key lime pies. So all you need is muffin tins with paper liners.
Although I already had a batch of my homemade gingersnaps that I used for the crust, I’d have used store-bought ones without a second thought. Which would mean that these mini pies only have six ingredients, seven if you count the canned whipped cream. Although you can get the zest and juice from the same limes, so I guess that brings it back down to five or six. Any way you count it, these are an easy little treat.
I was a little bit disappointed that these didn’t turn out green, and I wondered if that was because of my substitution of regular limes for key limes, so I did some research. According to this article, nope, it’s just because I didn’t add green food coloring. I was also surprised to learn that the recipe was probably invented to use sweetened, condensed milk. I had assumed that was just a modern substitution for convenience, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. No convenience guilt here!
Mini Key Lime Pies with Gingersnap Crusts
Makes 12 mini pies.
1 3/4 cups gingersnap crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
zest from two limes
1/2 cup lime juice
Whipped cream to top
Heat oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper muffin cups.
Process your gingersnaps into fine crumbs with a food processor.
To make the crust, combine gingersnap crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl and mix well until crumbs are evenly coated. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the muffin tins. Bake crusts in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Set on cooling rack while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling, beat zest and egg yolks in stand mixer with whisk attachment on medium high speed, about 3 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until thickened again, about 3 minutes more. Whisk lime juice into yolk mixture until combined.
Spoon into gingersnap crusts and bake pies for another 10-12 minutes, until set but not browned. When gently shaken, the center of the pies should just slightly jiggle.
Let pies cool completely, then chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Add whipped cream topping just before serving.