A birthday dessert as perfect as pie 

Published 8:07 pm Saturday, November 26, 2016

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was rummaging through my dessert recipe folder when I ran across a recipe for “Macadamia Key Lime Pie” from tasteofhome.com.My mom’s birthday was around the corner and I knew we were going to take her out to eat.Mom’s favorite dessert is Key Lime Pie so I decided I’d make this version to take to the restaurant with us to celebrate.

 I’d thoroughly read this recipe before I left for work, so I knew I needed to get started on it as soon as I got home to make sure I wouldn’t be in the kitchen all night.

I still had some shortbread Girl Scout cookies left (one sleeve) and decided what better way to use them than to put them in this crust? I put half of the sleeve of cookies in a baggie and started pounding them with my rolling pin to get fine crumbs.I guess I got a little over zealous because the bag burst and crumbs started falling out of the bag.I grabbed another bag and poured the remaining cookies and crumbs into it and started pounding again, but more gently.After measuring, I didn’t have a full cup of crumbs so I put all but about three of the cookies into the bag and crushed them.That was just a little more than a cup.I used all of the crumbs and ate the three leftover cookies because I didn’t want any of those Girl Scout cookies to go to waste. 

I got my food chopper out and finely chopped up the macadamia nuts (I ate a couple during the process), added the sugar and the melted butter.I greased my pie plate and poured the crust ingredients into it.Pressing the mixture up the sides and into the bottom of the plate didn’t take much time and then I covered the plate, put it in the refrigerator and started fixing supper.

While supper was on the stove and in the oven, I got to work putting the filling together.I’d planned ahead and my cream cheese was already softened.I used my hand-held mixer to cream the cream cheese then poured in the yummy sweetened condensed milk. I then started looking for the Key Lime juice in the refrigerator. I knew I had some somewhere, and found it all the way in the back on the top shelf.I’m short and my refrigerator is full so the easiest way to spot it was to look up through the glass shelves to locate it, instead of pulling everything out of the refrigerator in search of it.I added the juice then mixed everything just until it was really smooth.Then poured the mixture into the cold crust, covered the pie, and return it to the refrigerator for safe keeping.

The next step was to whip the cream and decorate the top of the pie, which I was going to do the next day before we left for the restaurant in Lexington.I’ve never made homemade whipped cream, but I know you have to use it right away.All day I kept thinking about the whipped cream and trying to decide if it would hold together long enough for mom’s celebration.So during a break at work I searched the internet on how to stabilize whipped cream (there are several ways).I wasn’t convinced that I could get home, whip the cream, put it on the pie, be out the door when we needed to leave and the stuff still look good by the time we ate it a couple hours later.When our county Family and Consumer Science Agent, Jennifer Howard, arrived back in the office after a meeting in Lexington, I approached her.As soon as Jennifer saw me coming, she got a big grin on her face because she could tell I was needing some advice.I asked her about the whipped cream situation and she just shook her head and said it probably wouldn’t last as long as I needed it to, even adding ingredients to stabilize it.It’s just too delicate.

I’d bought a can of Reddi Whip over the weekend in anticipation of Thanksgiving. My brother, Alan, and my son, Daniel, love Reddi Whip. They’ve been known to fight over it, and at times I’ve had two cans on hand — one for each of them. Typically they will share with others, if they just use a little.I decided using Reddi Whip was probably better than having the pie look a mess when we were ready to eat it and everyone could just add their own before digging in.Since everyone was going to add their own Reddi Whip, I went ahead and sprinkled the chopped macadamia nuts on top of the pie and thought it looked pretty good.

I packed a small cooler with some ice packs, placed the pie and Reddi Whip on top, along with plates, forks, napkins, knife and serving spatula and we were ready to go.

While everyone was eating, I mentioned that I had dessert in the car.A few eyebrows were raised and when Brad finished his meal he headed to the car to get dessert. I mentioned that we were having Key Lime Pie and my Aunt Carolyn said “Oh, that’s your mom’s favorite.” 

When Brad came back and pulled the pie out of the cooler, I had to keep up my tradition of taking lots pictures of the birthday dessert with the birthday person.After we got all of that out of the way, everyone was served pie (some had bigger pieces than others). 

Everyone squirted on the Reddi Whip, except me, since I don’t like whipped cream.Alan and Daniel were nice and shared with others.

After a few bites, everyone, especially my mom, agreed this pie was really good even though it was very rich.Those that took big pieces were having a hard time finishing them because of the richness.True to fashion, Brad thought it was good, but really sweet.I don’t think anybody missed having homemade whipped cream.Aunt Carolyn especially liked the crust and said it would be good as the crust for small tarts filled with the lemon curd I wrote about several weeks ago — I agree.

Verdict: I nailed this recipe and it is headed to my self-made cookbook.

By the way, there was a little bit of pie left over and it went home with my mom.

Macadamia Key Lime Pie

Crust

1 cup crushed shortbread cookies

1/2 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts

1/4cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

Filling

1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup Key Lime juice or lime juice

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

Instructions

In a small bowl, mix cookie crumbs, macadamia nuts and sugar; stir in butter.Press onto bottom and up sides of a greased 9 inch pie plate.Refrigerate 30 minutes.

 In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.Beat in milk and lime juice until blended.  Transfer to crust.Refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours.

In a small bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form; spoon or pipe onto pie.Top with macadamia nuts.

Yield: 8 Servings

Nutritional Facts:  1 piece equals 604 calories, 45 g fat (23 g saturated fat), 111 mg cholesterol, 297 mg sodium, 46 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 9 g protein.