Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mini Key Lime Cream Pies With Sweet Strawberry Relish

I love key lime pie and I admittedly super love all things that are tiny. I don't know what it is, but food that smaller than usual always takes my fancy. As a cook, I particularly love a miniature dessert that can be tucked away in the fridge or somewhere out of the way to be plated later after the main course has been served because it's easy and convenient when you're working with a small kitchen. Something that can be made in advance is of course always great when you're having a dinner party or even when you want to have dessert for the next day's regular dinner at home. It gives you the option of planning ahead and I love that. These little pies and strawberry relish can be made as late as an hour or two before serving and as early as 24 hours before. 

I haven't given you a measurement for strawberries here because they are entirely optional and use can use as few or as many as you like. If you do decide to include them, I would suggest that you have about 5 strawberries per person. Of course you don't have to have so many if you don't want to and more would also be appreciated. If you're lucky enough to have leftover strawberries, serve them the next night for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate summer treat!

I don't have access to key limes here in the UK, so I just use regular limes for the zest and juice. Feel free to use either.

15 digestive biscuits or graham crackers
50g butter, softened
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 can (379g) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon lime zest plus more for garnish
125ml freshly squeezed lime juice
500ml double cream
Strawberries (optional)
Caster sugar (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and lightly coat the inside of 6 ramekins with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a food processor, whiz the butter, caster sugar and digestive biscuits until it resembles a rough sand texture.

3. Press the crust into the bottom of each of the ramekins using a spoon. You will want to use a regular sized soup or cereal spoon and get about 3 spoonfuls into each ramekin, then use the back of the spoon or your fingers to press it into the bottom. If you have some left over, put it in a spare small baking pan. Obviously, use your judgement here - you're trying to pack in a crust that's about a centimeter or two thick, depending on the size of your ramekins, but if it's not quite perfect just don't worry. It will still taste yummy and perfection is overrated when it comes to pie.

4. Bake the crusts and the additional crumbs if you have them for about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

5. While the crusts are cooling, you can get on with the pie filling. In a medium bowl, stir together the condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice. Set aside.

6. In another medium bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream into the lime mixture as much as you can. It will look a bit lumpy and curdled at first, but that's okay. Then follow with a quick whiz of the hand mixer until the mixture is thick & smooth.

7. Spoon the filling into the ramekins with the crusts once they've cooled and smooth with the back of a spoon. Use the remaining crumbs you toasted in the spare baking pan to sprinkle over each miniature pie. Sprinkle with additional pinch of lime zest and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, but up to 24 hours.

8. If you opt to garnish with the sweet strawberry relish, it's super simple to make. Top your strawberries and quarter them. Sprinkle them with enough caster sugar to lightly coat the strawberries when you stir them. They should look a bit sandy and sugary when you cover them and chill them in the fridge. When they are ready, the sugar will have drawn out the juice and they will be lovely and sweet.

9. To serve, place the ramekin on a dessert plate and spoon the strawberry relish on the side. 

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