Florida - Key Lime Pie

Florida - Key Lime Pie 

Here she is - one of the desserts that inspired me to start Sweet State of Mine - it's quintessentially Florida - Key Lime Pie!  

The exact history of this tart treat isn't known, but it's thought to have originated in the late 19th Century in the Florida Keys where tiny key limes were abundant.  The short ingredient list and refreshing qualities of this pie must be the reason it has grown in popularity not only in Florida, but throughout the US.  

Today, you would be hard pressed to find a restaurant in Florida that doesn't have Key Lime Pie (in some way, shape or form) on their menu.  You can find Key Lime Cheesecake, chocolate dipped Key Lime Pie, Key Lime Cooler cookies... the list goes on and on!  I'm sure all of those are yummy, but for this post we are keeping it authentic and traditional! 

Before we go further, I just have to say, Key Lime Pie is not green! If you are looking to make a green dessert (which is great, I love green things too), check out my post for California - Avocado Pie.  Just please resist the temptation to put "just a drop" of green food coloring into this recipe!  

A Lesson on Key Limes

left - Persian Lime; right - Key Lime

Key Limes and your run of the mill, grocery store lime (Persian Lime), are not interchangeable.  Key Limes are a different variety of lime, not just a young, small regular lime.  The flavor of a Key Lime is much tarter and more like a lemon than a lime.  It's really important to use Key Lime juice if you want to make an authentic Key Lime Pie. 

Plus, Key Limes are way cuter! 

I found a bag of Key Limes at The Fresh Market but if you can't find them at your store, you can use bottled juice like Nellie & Joe's Famous Key Lime Juice - but fresh is best.  


for the crust

16 graham crackers (whole sheet), crushed
1 stick butter, melted
3 Tablespoons sugar

  • mix ingredients together and press into a 9" pie plate or tart pan
  • bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes, until lightly browned
  • place on rack to cool 

for the filling

4 extra large egg yolks
14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh key lime juice 
* It took about 20 key limes for me to get 1/2 cup
2 teaspoons key lime zest

  • Beat egg yolks with mixer until they are thick and turn a light shade of yellow, don't over mix
  • Turn the mixer off and add the sweetened condensed milk
  • Turn speed to low and pour in half of the lime juice
  • Once the juice is incorporated, add the other half of the juice and the zest and mix until incorporated
  • Pour into pie or tart shell and bake at 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes until set but center still jiggles
  • Cool and serve topped with whipped cream 

To bake, or not to bake?
There are many no-bake Key Lime Pie recipes that depend solely on a chemical reaction called souring to cook the egg yolks removing any potentially harmful bacteria.  If I had my own chickens or were able to buy them direct from a local farmer, I would feel comfortable not baking my Key Lime Pie.  Unfortunately, this city girl still buys eggs from the store, so I chose to bake my pie to remove any uncertainty about bacteria and to ensure the filling set properly.  

You just can't go wrong with Key Lime Pie - especially during the Summer months!  This recipe is a classic and always delicious!  

Hope you enjoy this sunny dessert from the Sunshine State!


Delaware - Pretzel "Salad"

Does this "salad" look familiar to anyone?  Maybe you've seen it at a potluck dinner or family gathering?  Depending on the severity of your sweet tooth, you might put this on your dinner plate as a salad / fruit or you might wait and put it on a smaller plate when you visit the dessert table.  : )      

While I have seen "Strawberry Surprise" or "Pretzel Salad" a time or two before, I found out through some research and networking that in Delaware, Pretzel Salad is a very popular dessert! Popular enough that one Dover, DE resident said it would be her pick for their state sweet - so here it is!    

Pretzel Salad is made for family gatherings, BBQ's, picnics, potluck dinners and can even be found on the menu of several restaurants including Georgia House in southeast Delaware.

  • Crust


  • Middle Layer 

  • Top Layer 

2 1/4 cup pretzels, coarsely crushed
3 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese
9 ounces Cool Whip
1 cup sugar
2 small packages frozen strawberries
2 - 3 ounce packages strawberry Jell-o

The Recipe 
  • For the crust: mix together pretzels, sugar and butter.  Press into 9x13 baking dish and bake in 400 degree oven for 5 - 10 minutes
  • While crust cools, make second layer
  • Beat together softened cream cheese and sugar until fluffy
  • Fold Cool Whip into cream cheese by hand then spread over cooled crust 
  • Place in refrigerator to set, make top layer 
  • Boil one cup of water; dissolve jell-o
  • If using whole frozen strawberries, thaw and slice 
  • Add strawberries to jell-o mixture
  • Thicken enough so that you can spoon it over middle layer
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving 

Strawberries are the most popular fruit used in this layered dessert, but I hear you can also use cranberries and cranberry jell-o for a fall and winter version!  


Colorado - Peaches 'n Cream Pie

I skipped Colorado this spring when I discovered that Colorado also has a fondness for the Peach - specifically Palisade Peaches grown in Palisade, a western slope agricultural town on the Colorado River.  

One popular dessert is the Colorado Peaches 'n Cream pie.  I am certainly familiar with Peach Pie, but I'd never heard of a Peach Cream Pie so I thought it would be a great dessert to feature for Colorado.  

I wasn't able to procure any Palisade Peaches, but I did buy local and found these Garden State Peaches from Fralinger Farms. 

The recipe I chose comes from the Colorado Cache Cookbook courtesy of the Junior League of Denver.  


3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 peeled and sliced peaches 
dash of salt
squeeze of lemon juice
9 inch unbaked pie shell
2 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

The Recipe 

  • In bowl, mix sugar, flour, cream and salt.
  • Slice the peaches and sprinkle with salt and lemon juice
  • Place peaches in unbaked pie shell 
  • Pour cream mixture over peaches and dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower oven to 300 degrees and bake additional 40 - 45 minutes.  

After the given amount of time in the recipe, my pie was still very loose and not at all set.  I baked mine an additional 20 minutes until the filling was bubbly and golden on top.  

The recipe didn't specify whether to serve this pie warm or cold, but to me, peaches 'n cream should be cold.  I let the pie cool and then placed it in the fridge before giving it a taste.  

I really enjoyed the flavor of the pie, but even after baking it for a total of 1 hour and 20 minutes, the center of my crust seemed under-baked and the filling wasn't as set as I thought it would be.  

My next go round with Peaches 'n Cream Pie, I'm going to blind bake the crust first to make sure it gets cooked all the way through and can stand up to all of the liquid from the peaches and of course, the cream!  

Well, thank you Colorado for giving this Georgia girl a new Peach recipe!