My heart is heavy tonight… One of my favorite writers and filmmakers, Nora Ephron, passed away today. In her honor, I wanted to re-post her Key Lime Pie recipe, which is my absolute favorite version of this pie. I promise I will track down some key limes this weekend and make it in her honor. Then eat it (diet be damned!) while watching Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally…, Silkwood, and You’ve Got Mail–my favorites of her movies.
Here is Nora’s Key Lime Pie taken from her book, Heartburn (1983, Knopf).
My list of top five favorite movies includes the underrated romantic comedy-drama, Heartburn. It’s Nora Ephron’s adapation of her novel of the same name, which was a thinly disguised adaptation of her marriage with (and subsequent divorce from) Carl Bernstein. (Yes, that Carl Bernstein)
The film, directed by Mike Nichols (who also directed the fabulous The Graduate and Charlie Wilson’s War), stars Meryl Streep as Rachel, a food writer, who marries the philandering political reporter, Mark. She is what we’d call a “foodie” nowadays, and like Ephron in real-life, she is known for her skills in the kitchen. But unlike the novel, the movie doesn’t really highlight her culinary prowess.
And that’s where the novel has an edge over the movie. Because it’s not just a typical novel. Interspersed within the story are Ephron’s own recipes. I have made almost everything she writes about in the book; her linguine a la cecca is a summer staple in my home, and her famous vinaigrette is my go-to recipe when I need a tart, homemade dressing. I keep my copy of the novel with my cookbooks.
But my favorite recipe is her Key Lime Pie. If you’ve seen the movie, then you’ll remember the pie that Rachel throws in Mark’s face as her character finally realizes she has to make the hardest decision of her life. This is that pie.
And this is Nora’s recipe. I only made two slight adjustments: the original calls for 1 cup of lime juice and 1 TBS lime zest. I used ¾ cup lime juice and 2TBS zest.
Nora Ephron’s Key Lime Pie
a.k.a. “Dream Another Dream Key Lime Pie”
6 large egg yolks*
¾ cup lime juice (Bottled is fine, but fresh is best. You’ll need about 20 depending on how efficient you are at juicing them.)
2TBS lime zest (zest before you juice)
2 14oz cans sweetened condensed milk (use full fat; it will set better)
9”-10” graham cracker crust (I used Keebler’s extra large)
A few slices of lime for garnish
Whipped Cream (optional: I only like Cool Whip, and I was all out, so we went without)
- Beat the 6 large egg yolks in a large bowl. Add lime juice, zest, and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until well blended.
- Pour into prepared graham cracker crust pie shell.
- Freeze 6 to 8 hours, until firm.
- When ready to serve, allow pie to thaw for a few minutes on counter. Add whipped cream (if you’d like) and lime slices for garnish.
- Cut and serve. Throwing at your husband is optional.
*Since this recipe calls for raw eggs to be used, it is best to use pasteurized eggs. These are pricier and a little harder to find than your regular store-bought eggs. The chances of contracting salmonella are about 1 in 20,000, so relatively small (.005%). But, I advise you to get the pasteurized eggs in any event. Or, if you are up to it, pasteurize your own eggs!