This pie relies on the killer combo of citrus and dairy (think Creamsicle) for a mellow, sweet, and sour dessert. The crispy whole wheat crust underscores the zippy custard with its graham-like flavor, while fluffy peaks of toasted meringue recall those of a classic lemon meringue pie. It all comes together in a pie that tastes both familiar and distinctive at the same time.
Why It Works
- Milk softens the sour edge of lime, for a filling that's creamy and tart but mellow.
- Using whole eggs keeps the custard light and the lime flavor fresh and bright.
- A few drops of rosewater bring a fresh aroma to the cooked custard filling.
- A crisp whole wheat crust gives the pie a hearty, graham cracker–like vibe.
- Oven-browned meringue puffs as it bakes, for a lighter texture than meringue browned with a torch.
- Yield:Makes one (9-inch) pie
- Active time: About 45 minutes (with a prebaked crust)
- Total time:5 hours (with a prebaked crust)
- 1/2 recipe Whole Wheat Pie Crust, blind-baked according to recipe directions
- For the Filling:
- 9 ounces sugar (shy 1 1/3 cups; 255g)
- 1 1/2 ounces cornstarch (about 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon; 42g)
- 1/4 teaspoon (1g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
- 4 large eggs (about 7 ounces; 195g)
- 1/4 ounce lime zest (about 2 tablespoons; 7g), from about 4 limes (see note)
- 8 ounces fresh lime juice (about 1 cup; 225g), from about 8 limes (see note)
- 16 ounces milk, any percentage will do (about 2 cups; 455g)
- 1/4 teaspoon rosewater (optional)
- For the Topping:
- Swiss Meringue, full or half batch as desired
Getting Ready: In a 9-inch glass pie dish, prepare and blind-bake the whole wheat pie crust according to the directions in the recipe. This can be done up to a week in advance; crust can be held at room temperature if wrapped tightly in plastic.
For the Filling: In a 3-quart stainless steel saucier, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt and mix until smooth, then whisk in eggs, lime zest, and lime juice, followed by milk. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly but gently, until hot to the touch, about 5 minutes.
Increase heat to medium and continue whisking until thick, about 3 minutes longer. When custard begins to bubble, set a timer and continue whisking for exactly 2 minutes. (This is important to neutralize a starch-dissolving protein found in egg yolks.) Remove from heat and stir in rosewater, if using. Pour into prepared pie crust. For a silkier texture, first strain through a stainless steel sieve, pushing the thick custard through with a flexible spatula.
For the Topping: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Prepare Swiss Meringue as directed, making a half or full batch depending on your own personal preference for meringue. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Starting at the very edge of the pie, pipe meringue kisses over surface of custard until completely covered. Alternatively, spread meringue over custard with the back of a spoon. Place on a wire rack set inside a half sheet pan (this setup minimizes heat transfer to the custard) and bake pie until meringue is well browned, about 15 minutes.
To Serve: Cool pie to room temperature, then cover loosely in plastic and refrigerate until no warmer than 60°F (16°C), about 3 1/2 hours. Cut with a wet chef's knife, rinsing the blade clean with cold water between slices. Wrapped in plastic, leftovers can be refrigerated up to 1 week.