What’s for Dinner?: Coconut and Key Lime Pie

Coconut and Key Lime Pie

When it gets hot, I’m all about cold desserts.

My favorite (and luckily the easiest to prepare) is ice-cold watermelon: simple, crisp, sweet and refreshing, but sometimes I crave something more decadent, something that transports me to a tropical paradise. Albeit one without Jimmy Buffet, if you don’t mind.

This summertime treat—a coconut and Key lime pie—is zesty, cool and very refreshing.

Key lime purists may wish to skip the coconut, but I love this combination of coconut and lime and besides, there are plenty of traditional Key lime pie recipes out there.

Traditionalists may also baulk at making the crust with ginger snaps rather than Graham Crackers, but to my mind, the ginger adds another delicious bite to the taste. Of course, you really should use Key limes as they are more tart and aromatic than the green Persian ones we see most of the time at the grocery store, but any kind of lime will make this dessert delicious.

You may notice that there is no added sugar in this recipe. What with the sugar in the ginger snaps in the base and the sugar in the condensed milk, this recipe tastes sweet enough. Any more and it would overpower the sharp notes of the limes.


Coconut and Key Lime PieCoconut and Key Lime Pie

For the filling:

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons of finely grated Key lime zest
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coconut flavor (or ¼ tsp vanilla extract if you’re making a coconut-free pie)

For the crust:

  • 4 teaspoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup of dried coconut
  • 6oz of ginger snaps, broken into pieces

For the garnish (totally optional – but will make it a bit more of a splurge) :

  • 1 ½ cups very cold whipping cream
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ½ cup coconut, lightly toasted, for garnish


First of all preheat the oven to 325°F.

Make the filling by whisking the yolks, zest, condensed milk, lime juice and vanilla in a bowl until smooth and thickened. Cover and leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Combine the ginger snaps and the dried coconut in a food processor and whiz it until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Then stir in the melted butter and mold into a lightly greased 9” pie dish. Use a wooden spoon or your hands to pat it down into the dish. Then place on a baking sheet and cook for about 10 minutes until golden brown and firm.

Add the filling to the pie shell and put back into the oven for about 15 minutes. The mixture is done when it is firm but still a little wibbly in the middle. Remove and let cool to room temperature. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set, this should take about 3 hours.

For the whipped cream mix the cream, coconut cream, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer until soft peaks form.  Arrange artfully or dollop anyhow on the pie. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Parrothead hat: optional.

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