Friday, October 28, 2011

Duo of Lime Pies

         As it gets colder in Kolkata some of the winter vegetables start to appear at street vendors. Our last visit to the market resulted in buying a huge bag of tangerines – big and flavourful, with a thin skin that cracks slightly as you push your fingers through it, impatient to reach the bright and juicy flesh… On getting home I realized that sweet limes that we had in the fridge looked too pale and unappealing in comparison with those tangerines. It was time to start a rescue campaign for the unlucky fruit. I decided to combine French and American classic dishes (lemon meringue and key lime pies) and to cook my sweet lime meringue pie. Only as I got my limes zested and juiced did I tell my husband about my intentions – and guess what? He felt enthusiastic about a lime pie but he actually wanted another kind of it – a simple traditional pie his mother used to cook. So, I had to make two pies (fortunately, there were lots of limes in the fridge); the first one went to the office while the second one stayed at home. In the long run, everyone was happy and the mission of saving the limes from being neglected was successfully complete!

Sweet Lime Meringue Pie


Pate brisee
250 gm plain flour
125 gm softened butter
1 ½ tbsp castor sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp lime zest
a pinch of salt

4 egg yolks
1 can (397 gm) condensed milk
150 ml freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp lime zest

4 egg whites
4 tbsp castor sugar
a pinch of salt


  1. For pate brisee, mix sifted flour with salt and sugar. Make a well in the centre, add butter, a beaten egg, lime zest and cold water. Knead into dough as quickly as possible. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in foil and leave to rest for at least one hour in the fridge.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line and grease a 25-cm round tart tin. Roll the dough into a circle and put it in the tin. Prick the base with a fork and blind bake (with cartouche and bakers weights on top) for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 160C.
  3. For the filling, use electric mixer to beat egg yolks with condensed milk. Pour lime juice and whisk till combined, stir in the lime zest and pour the mixture into the tart shell. Return to the oven for 30 minutes (the centre of the pie should still be a bit wobbly like a cheesecake). Let it cool completely; then transfer to the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.
  4. For the topping, preheat the oven to 200C. Whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt at medium speed. As soft peaks start to form, add sugar, one teaspoon at a time, and increase the speed. Beat till firm picks are formed. Arrange the meringue on the top of the pie and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown in colour.


  1. In a classic American version, graham crackers are used as a base of a pie. Make a biscuit crust if you prefer it to a shortcrust pastry. Try adding some toasted coconut to it – it goes well with limes.
  2. The filling of the pie sets in the fridge but melts again slightly as you return the pie to the oven, so make sure it is completely cool before slicing it. If you want it to be firm, don’t make the meringue topping; garnish with whipped cream instead.

Traditional Lime Pie


Shortcrust pastry
200 gm butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
400 gm flour
2 eggs
¼ tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt

2 limes
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar


  1. For the pastry, sift flout together with baking soda. In another bowl, beat butter with sugar until pale and creamy. Add salt, an egg and an egg white (reserve the yolk) and continue beating for a few more minutes. Stir in the flour mixture and knead into dough.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160C. Line and grease a 20-cm round cake tin. Roll ½ of the dough into a circle and arrange on the bottom of a tin.
  3. For the filling, grate sweet limes and mix them with sugar. Spread the mixture over the pastry, roll the remaining dough and cover the filling. Brush the pie with a reserved egg yolk and put in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown in colour.


  1. You can grate the limes before you start to make dough but add the sugar at the last moment as it draws the liquid out of fruit and the pie will be too soggy.
  2. Make sure you pick all the seeds out of grated limes – you don’t want them in your pie, do you?


      1 comment:

      1. Обожаю лимонные пироги и печенья!
        Ирин, такой талант нельзя держать на привязи - сайт на английском - это, конечно круто! Но надо расширять число почитателей вашего таланта! Продублируйте сообщения на русском языке и популярность блога резко возрастет. На нашем родном языке говорит 1/6 часть суши...


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