During the summertime, citrus-based desserts shine. From lemon bars to key lime pie, everyone wants a taste of that sweet and tart pairing. Perhaps the most underrated part of a citrus dessert is the foundation that holds it all together, the crust.
Gluten-free crusts have bad reputations, especially the store-bought kind. Some claim that they are dry, mealy, or just plain unpleasant. That’s why it is so important to make your own crust from scratch.
The best dessert that tops them all is this mouth-watering key lime pie with a gluten-free crust. Instead of gluten-free flour, freshly blended nuts are used in this recipe. You can use your favorite type of nut here, or even a blend of your favorites. This recipe as written uses almonds for the crust, but hazelnuts, walnut, or even pistachios can be used.
It is super important to use a high-powered blender or food processor for this recipe. The nuts get crushed pretty finely so that the crust really holds together during the baking process. Crushing all these nuts so finely would be almost impossible by hand. Let an appliance do the work for you!
The filling was kept extremely simple in this recipe. Instead of all the complicated steps of making a custard, this recipe uses sweetened condensed milk as the base with added key lime juice and zest for that signature flavor. Sour cream brings in an additional tartness that you didn’t know you needed until now. The filling is baked very briefly to set it before cooling and enjoying.
The combination of crunchy, buttery nuts in the crust versus the sweet, tart, and creamy filling of the filling is truly a transcending experience. The nuts bring a texture that is normally not associated with key lime pie, yet adds so much to the overall dish. A little bit of sea salt in the crust brings out the uniqueness even more.
For topping this pie, allow it to cool completely before beating some heavy cream until firm. You can add a little sugar or vanilla to the cream if you like additional sweetness. Top the entire pie with a layer of your freshly whipped cream along with some additional key lime zest. It’s nice when the garnish is the main ingredient in the pie, so that eaters know exactly what they’re in for.
This pie is best served on a hot day with family and friends. Keep it chilled until you are ready to have dessert, and watch the whole thing disappear before your eyes!
For the Crust:
For the Filling:
Begin by making the crust. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
To your food processor or blender, add the nuts, sugar, and salt. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until fully combined. Remove to the greased pie plate and press into the bottom and up the sides of the plate evenly.
Bake for 15 minutes until the crust is browned and fragrant. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Keep the oven on for baking the filling.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a large bowl, combine the condensed milk, sour cream, key lime juice, and zest. Mix well. Add to the prepared crust and bake for 5-8 minutes or until the tiny bubbles on top of the pie burst. Remove from the oven and allows to cool completely.
Once cooled, spread an even layer of whipped cream over the top. Garnish with more fresh lime zest. Refrigerate until ready to serve.