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The Piano And The Pie

While I was in Florida on my book tour, two things got my attention. First, a piano showed up on a sandbar in Key Biscayne, prompting lots of jokes about a new piano bar and a whole new set of Florida Keys.While this event didn’t get much attention out of state, Miami was abuzz with speculation as to how the piano got there…

The most popular theory was that some very strong guy on a cruise ship had one too many margaritas and shoved it overboard. Someone else suggested that a Tiger Mother, tired of hearing her untalented child practice, snapped and hauled the instrument to its sandy resting place. I also heard someone say that a young man had deposited it there as a romantic gesture, a premature valentine for his lover. A less credible theory was that someone had flushed the piano down a local toilet.

Historians have noted that this was not the first instance of piano prankism. In Harwich, Massachusetts, in 2008, some lady stumbled upon an upright that had been deposited in the middle of the woods. What’s up with this mistreatment of pianos? If I were going to pick on an instrument, I think I’d make it a bagpipe or a kazoo.

Anyway, the other thing I found fascinating in Florida was the omnipresence of Key Lime Pie. I’d forgotten how good it is, and how easy to make. You’ve gotta love that graham cracker crust! No struggling with a traditional crust, the type that has driven me mad on more than one occasion. (If you ever find a rolling pin on a Florida sandbar, you will know who put it there.)

Key Lime Pie

10 graham crackers
½ cup almonds
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 egg yolks
1 14-ounce can sweetened, condensed milk
½ cup key lime juice, fresh or bottled (I used Nellie and Joe’s brand)
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
Whipped cream for serving (optional)

Serves 8

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. Break the graham crackers into large pieces and place them in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse several times, until you have fine crumbs. Place the crumbs in a bowl. Place the almonds in the food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped, then add them to the crumbs. Mix the butter with the crumb mixture until well blended, then press the mixture along the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake the crust for about 12 minutes, until it’s lightly browned. Set the crust aside.

3. Place the egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium until the yolks are pale yellow and slightly thickened, about two minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the milk. Slowly add the lime juice, then turn off the mixer and stir in the lime zest. Pour the mixture into the pie pan and bake for about 15 minutes, until the filling is almost set but still moist.

4. Allow the pie to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate it for at least 8 hours. Serve chilled with whipped cream, if desired.

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4 Responses to “The Piano And The Pie”

  1. Gail in Baltimore Says:

    Jessica,you never cease to amaze me. Yet I DO know Tommy,and I often wonder how did that crazy child plumb the stones and find such a GEM!……..

    Gail and Lenny!……..

  2. Pat Peterson Says:

    I was reading along in the key lime pie recipe and bumped into “almonds”. Well, I never look for nuts in a key line anything—now I have to be wary of one more thing since I have a nut/peanut allergy. It makes eating “out” or at potluck suppers a challenge. People are putting cashews ind almonds in all sorts of things. Even macaroni salad and a regular innocent looking tossed lettuce salad can be a mine field for me.

  3. jessica Says:

    Not a problem, omit the nuts…it’s just as delish without!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    This is my favorite dessert! What a great idea to make St. Patrick’s day about Key Lime pie and not corned beef/cabbage/boiled potatoes. Who can get excited about corned beef? I feel strangely liberated, it will be a Caribbean St. Patrick’s DAY. I’LL EVEN PRETEND IT IS SUNNY AND WARM IN CHICAGO.

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