September 26th is National Key Lime Pie Day. They are smaller, rounder, less acidic more fragrant than their more traditional relative, the Persian/Tahitian lime (the supermarket lime). Key lime skin is thinner and smooth. It grows in the tropics and subtropics*, and is used in many tropical cuisines throughout the world.
The Key lime is also known as the Mexican or West Indian lime—although it originated in the Indo-Malayan region of southern Asia.
The word Key is capitalized because the American supply comes from the Florida Keys.
They were brought there by Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the early part of the 16th century.
Key lime juice can be used in place of regular lime juice in anything, from cocktails to salad dressings (including fruit salad, where just a squeeze will suffice), on chicken and fish/seafood, in marinades, sauces and soups.
In addition to pie, we’ve got some of our favorite Key lime dessert recipes below: below bars, donuts, cake and a refreshing glass of Key limeade. In fact, we’re starting with a Key lime pound cake!
> How to store lemons, limes and other citrus fruits.
Thanks to Taste Of Home for this recipe, which was created by Pat Stewart, Canton, Georgia. Pat says, “It’s now the only cake requested at every gathering. The unfrosted cake freezes well.”
Prep time is 15 minutes, bake time is 1 hour 15 minutes.
1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan (bundt pan). To remove cakes more easily, use solid shortening to grease the pan.
2. CREAM the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. BEAT in the lime zest, vanilla and lime juice. Add the flour alternating with the milk, beating well after each addition. Transfer to the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours.
4. COOL in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. MAKE the frosting. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, lime zest and lime juice until smooth. Gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar.
Since it’s Key Lime Pie Day, we’ve only included sweet recipes here. But we also have savory Key lime recipes.
Key lime season is June through August. Perhaps the people who campaigned for National Key Lime Pie Day in September sell bottled juice.
If it’s out of season and the recipe requires Key lime zest, substitute regular lime zest.
The bottled juice isn’t anywhere near as good as the fresh juice. But as you peruse these delicious recipes, mark your calendar for June!
*The Tropics. The region of the world in which the sun is directly overhead for at least one day of the year is found within a band on either side of the equator, from the latitudes of about 23.5°N (Northern Hemisphere) to 23.5°S (Southern Hemisphere). These bands are known as the Tropic of Cancer (Northern Hemisphere) and the Tropic of Capricorn (Southern Hemisphere). This portion of the world, between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, is known as the Tropics. The sunlight is stronger and climate is warmer than elsewhere on Earth.
The length of the days and nights is almost the same throughout the year. Tropical regions are found on and around the Equator. The equator receives equal amounts of daylight and nighttime throughout the year because it does not tilt in relation to the sun’s location.
The Subtropics. The subtropical zones lie immediately north and south of the Tropics, usually between about 23.5° and 40° (N and S). Most of what is known as the “Mediterranean Climate” is found in the subtropics. Winter is relatively warm, although the nights are longer relative to the tropics.