Key Lime Pie

Keto Key lime pie – From Greek islands to Florida

Key Lime Pie – one of the tastiest refreshing desserts in general. However, it could ring the bell only for Americans. In recent years it became popular around the globe, but rarely anybody knows the difference between Key limes and Persian limes. I’ll write more about this a bit later. In this particular post, I wanted to pay a tribute to Greeks of America.

I actually want to draw a line between our cultures, the regions which are similar in climate, cuisine and general feeling. When I think of American states – one in particular – reminds me of Greece. No, I’m not talking about California, this time I’m pointing to Florida! The home of the famous Key lime pie.

Tarpon Springs – a piece of Greece in the USA

Tarpon Springs is a historical city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. Interestingly, this city has the greatest percentage of Greek Americans compared to any other city in the US. Several Greek immigrants arrived there throughout the 1890s. They wanted to do what they knew the best – dive and fish for the sea sponges…

In 1905, Yannis Cocoris introduced the particular Greek technique of sponge diving to Tarpon Springs. He brought divers and crew members from Greece. The first divers came from the Saronic Gulf islands of Aegina and Hydra. Soon after that, numerous divers came from Dodecanese islands of Kalymnos, Symi and Halki. The sponge production grew and became one of the leading maritime businesses in Florida. For this reason, this most important industry in Tarpon Springs generated millions of dollars annually.

Greektown Historic District

Tarpon Springs Greektown Historic District was registered in National Register of Historic Places in the USA on June 2, 2014. If you cannot afford to travel to Greece, this will be the closest experience! Everything smells and feels like Greece there. From the picturesque ocean-side walking alleys to Greek restaurants, bakeries, boats and even language. A large number of families from Tarpon Springs reported speaking Greek at home and generally in the streets.

Tarpon Springs is known for elaborate religious ceremonies hosted by the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, part of the Greek Orthodox Church, including the January 6 Epiphany, celebration that includes youths diving for a cross and the blessing of the waters and the boats. Since the first Greek immigrants depended on the sea and their boats for their livelihood, their attachment to a religious service centered on requesting divine protection for what used to be a highly risky job can be easily explained.

Read more here

The lime inspiration

Here in Greece, citrus fruits grow on every corner. In the metropolis of Athens, you’ll find lemon and orange trees almost everywhere. On the other hand, in our islands, they dictate the aroma of a healthy lifestyle and you cannot avoid citrus in any savoury or sweet dish. Particularly on the island of Crete, you’ll find them in all colours, aromas and shapes. Well, this island is the only European island that produces Avocados, so no wonder Limes grow there too!

My inspiration with Florida and Greek islands led me to a small research. The famous Key lime pie is made with a specific lime variety that grows only in Florida. Key limes are sweeter and have a specific aroma. Interestingly, the variety that grows on Crete is not far from that! Persian limes, in general, are growing all over the world, in the countries with a warm climate. A perfect description can be found here.

Key Lime Pie from Minoan land

So, with the great admiration for the island of Crete, the amazing and not so tart limes that we the Europeans can source from there, I decided to make a Keto version of Florida’s famous Key lime pie. Of course, if you are located in the USA, you’ll use the original Key limes! Enjoy it as authentic as you can. In Europe, we will use Cretan or Sicilian limes because they are the closest thing to Key limes. However, in the rest of the world, just any kind of organic limes can be used for this recipe.

Now, what’s interesting is the original preparation method used for Key lime pie. The eggs are exposed to a chemical reaction of lime acid which creates the thickening effect. This is familiar to Greeks because the same process is used for our beloved Avgolemono sauce. Furthermore, the original recipe calls for condensed milk. Well, we the Ketonians cannot use that. But, luckily, we have the good old heavy cream which will serve the purpose and taste delicious.

As Keto as it can be!

Zero sugar is an ultimatum, of course. But we also have to be careful with the additional carbs that can come from cream, lime juice and nuts. This is why I specifically selected the ingredients to mimic the original flavour with the safety of Keto macros. Shall we be creative? Here’s the recipe that cannot go wrong! You’ll succeed every time!

Keto Key Lime Pie

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
crust preparation12 mins
Total Time47 mins
Course: Keto Dessert
Cuisine: American, Greek American
Keyword: Keto dessert, Keto Pie, Key Lime pie
Servings: 10 portions
Calories: 330kcal
Author: Apollonas Kapsalis

Ingredients

Crust

  • 100 g Ground pecans Organic
  • 100 g Ground flaxseed Organic (Preferably golden flaxseed)
  • 1/5 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 tbsp Stevia Blend Powder or granulated
  • 1/2 cup (110g) Melted butter Grass-fed
  • 1 tsp ground vanilla bean (Or organic vanilla extract)

Filling

  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream Organic, carrageenan free!
  • 3 tbsp stevia blend Or according to your sweetener power
  • 6 large eggs Free-ranged
  • 100 ml (3.3oz) lime juice Organic
  • 4 tbsp lime zest Organic, finely grated

Decoration

  • 1 tbsp lime zest finely grated

Instructions

  • First, prepare the crust: Mix ground pecans, flaxseed, stevia, and vanilla and add melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch (22 cm) pie pan. Bake it in the oven at  120ºC (248ºF) for 10 minutes. After that, let it cool down at room temperature.
  • Pour the cream in a deep pot and heat it over a medium temperature. Add stevia and stir.
  • Beat the eggs using an electric mixer until they are fluffy and start pouring the lime juice slowly. Keep mixing. The lime juice will create a chemical reaction and the eggs will thicken. 
  • Once the cream starts boiling, remove it from the stove and slowly start adding egg-lime mixture. Keep whisking. Return to the stove, but very shortly, over a low temperature and don't let the mixture boil. We just need a minute for the eggs to be thermally processed. 
  • Leave the cream to cool down a bit and then using the whisk mix it while adding lime zest spoon by spoon.
  • Pour the cream into your crust and place the pie in the oven at 150ºC (302ºF ). Bake it for 15 minutes and then let the pie cool down.
  • Decorate with freshly grated lime zest and serve well chilled.

Notes

  1. Make sure you use 100% organic heavy whipping cream that has no additives, such as Carrageenan or Guar gum. This is crucial for making healthy Keto recipes.
  2. Test the power of your stevia sweetener by tasting the cream after adding the sweetener.
  3. The crust can be prepared raw. Simply place it in the freezer for 12 minutes.
  4. If you cannot find pecans in your location, good old walnuts will serve the purpose.
  5. You can whip some additional heavy whipping cream and decorate the pie before serving
  6. The typical green colour can be obtained by adding 1-2 drops of natural food colouring. If you exclude this, your natural Key lime pie will appear white-yellow with green particles of lime zest.

Key Lime Pie