About a year ago I auditioned for a reality show. I know, I know. I don’t really seem like the type who wants (or should) be on reality tv. It came to me though a friend of a friend and it was a reality show on cooking and baking. Which was kind of right up my alley. After my first Skype “interview” with the producers, I was asked to send a signature baked good down to LA for the judges to taste. I didn’t have a signature “go to” dessert that would survive a trip with the postal service. So I had to come up with one over one weekend, as well as send in a video with me cooking. Ugg. I brainstormed and came up with a couple different recipes. One of them was this Boozy Key Lime Pie with a Pretzel Crust which was inspired by the key lime sunrise tarts in one of my favorite baking cookbooks, Baked Elements.
As I was testing this recipes, Luke was shooting the video of me to send in(which was just embarrassing). When he asked me to talk about my key lime pie, I simply said it tastes like the “beach in your mouth.” He stopped and his jaw fell to the floor and said ” You can’t say that. That is disgusting you pervert.”
I certainly wasn’t trying to be dirty, but the problem is that it really does taste like the beach in your mouth. Every tropical flavor, including tequila – rolled up into one deliciously creamy heavenly custard. Don’t even get me started on the pretzel pie shell that houses all that beachy goodness.
In the end I did not send this recipe. I make a crepe cake similar to one that I had from Lady M bakery in New York that tasted pretty amazing. Also, obviously I didn’t make it on the reality tv show. Thankfully – I am too normal to be on reality tv, but I did make it pretty far. They flew me to LA and everything. In the end I didn’t make the cut which was for the best, but I did get an amazing key lime pie recipe out of it and that is perfectly fine trade off for me.
As a Florida girl, I grew up with a key lime tree in the back yard. Still to this day when my family has a cocktail, it is always served with a key lime instead of a regular lime. Part of growing up with key limes was always having a key lime pie at every holiday function. That was just the desert that was always served and I still love it. This is my take on the classic dessert but amplified a little – a dreamy and boozy key lime custard with a salty pretzel crust. Might just be the perfect holiday dessert.
- Pretzel Crust
- 1 1/4 sticks of butter
- 2 tblsp brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups pretzel, crushed in a food processor
- Key Lime Filling
- 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh Key lime juice (about 12 to 15 Key limes) or bottled key lime juice such as Nellie and Joes' Key Lime juice which is sold at most big retail grocery stores
- Zest of 2 Key limes or 1 regular Persian lime (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons good-quality tequila
- 1 tablespoon cointreau or orange juice
Make the Pretzel Crust:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly spray a paper towel with vegetable oil and use it to apply the oil to the sides and bottom of an 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the brown sugar and remove from the heat. Add the pretzel crumbs and stir until combined—the mixture should look like wet sand. Place the crumb mixture in the prepared tart pan. Using your fingers or the bottom of a small metal measuring cup, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan.
Bake the tart on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes then set aside to cool completely.
Increase the oven temperature to 350 °F.
Make the Key Lime Filling:
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sweetened condensed milk until well blended. Add the key lime juice, lime zest, tequila, and cointreau and whisk until combined and slightly thickened. Pour filling into pie crust and bake on the baking sheet for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling appears set.
Transfer the pie from the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely, then refrigerate the tart until the top is cool to the touch, about 2 hours.
Top with whipped cream or my personal choice italian meringue frosting