The Taste of Austerity: Key Lime Pie

Key Lime David Sandy

When it comes to dessert, I normally play it safe, or buy something fabulous.

Thirty+ dollars later, am I really that better off? If it's something that requires decoration, like a cake, definitely. If it's something that tests my skill or patience, like Red Velvet Cheesecake or Something Equally Multifaceted, probably.

However tonight, in preparation for a benefit dinner I'm hosting next month, I made my first Key Lime Pie. It had five ingredients in it. I thought for sure it wouldn't be good enough to serve people who were paying to be at my table. But guess what? It was.

And guess what else? A graham cracker (or digestive) crust is ridiculously easy, and let us remember how nice it is to make something a day before an event and stick it in the fridge.

But I live in London, you wail, must I go to Harrod's to buy Key limes? Don't fear, brave reader. Regular lime juice will work a treat, too. (But freshly squeezed. Nothing that comes from a bottle, please.)

Let's start with the crust. Put 170g of biscuits in a food processor and add 70g melted butter. Process, remove, and press into pie dish. At this point, you'd normally bake the crust for 12 minutes at 350F/180C, but for this recipe, skip that step.

Next make the filling. Separate the yolks and whites from five eggs (and for an impress-your-friends method, watch this Chinese video that went viral). Add 400g condensed milk to the five yolks along with 120ml lime juice. Mix well, then pour into crust.

Bake at 375F/190C for 15 minutes, then leave to cool. Put in the fridge for a few hours and, um, that's it.

OK, you could serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, but that would be for decorative purposes only.

And with ingredients coming in around $5, this is my new safe, fabulous and austere dessert.