We had to buy so much fruit for the sangria at my birthday party that we bought it in bulk at Costco and, of course, overestimated how much was actually needed.  After the sangria was made, I was left with about half of everything … half the giant carton of strawberries, half a 5lb. bag of limes and half a flat of Granny Smith apples.  I hate seeing unfulfilled potential in food, so I racked my brain on how to use everything before it spoiled and came up with:

Strawberry Ice Cream
Key Lime Pie
Apple Tartlets

I was most excited about the key lime pie because Little J‘s girlfriend, Ashley, had made it for him and he had raved about it.  And once I saw the picture, I was sold.  I requested the recipe and set about making it for a cookout.

The recipe calls for about 8 limes to be juiced and zested, but I had 14.  Unfulfilled potential swam in my mind again, so I decided to zest and juice them all and figure out what to do with the extra later.  Action now, consequences later … that philosophy can sometimes produce something wonderful (like the time I made too much cookie dough and ate the leftovers with a spoon) or something awful (like the time I made too much cookie dough and ate the leftovers with a spoon until I was sick).

I think I ended up with a cup of lime zest.  After making the pie and Michelle’s lemonade concentrate, I still had a lot left so I do what I always do – I froze it.  I have a freezer that’s packed to the gills because I always freeze any extra whatever I’m left with, reasoning I’ll use it at a later time.  Casseroles, cookie dough (oh boy you can bet I learned my lesson there), bread … it’s all in there somewhere.  And then some. One time, I opened the freezer and a carton of vanilla ice cream I’d made dropped on my foot.  It hurt so bad, I cried.  Then I ate the ice cream and felt better.  That’ll show you, ice cream.

When freezing zest, I pack it tightly in a mason jar and cover the surface with some saran wrap.  So far, it seems to work, I pulled some out for my apple tartlets and it added a nice zing to the filling.

Before juicing the limes, I took some time to make the graham cracker crust so it could bake while I was juicing the limes.  I didn’t feel that it set up well in its pre-bake, so I might bake it for a bit longer next time.  But sugar + graham crackers + butter can only lead to tasty things, even if slightly underbaked.

You know, I’ve had this juicer for about 5 years and only just recently learned how to properly juice lemons and limes with it.  I always put the lemon in so the curve of the lemon matched the curve of the juicer.  I actually hated having to juice anything because of this method.  The pulp of the lemon would stick to the top part of the juicer and lemon juice would get trapped and it was incredibly time-consuming and annoying to juice anything.  I felt this might be the worst juicer ever and could not understand why it was so popular.

Then someone told me that I should flip the lemon and it was like a complete light bulb moment!  It is so much more efficient.  It actually works well!  I can juice a lemon in … well, I didn’t time myself but trust me, it’s no time at all.

Mmm, egg yolks.  The base of so many yummy things.

After that, mix together the filling, which takes about 5 minutes.  Bake it until the inside is barely set, then let it cool completely before topping it with whipped cream:

And there we go!  The most amazing key lime pie I have ever tasted.  Whoever first came up with key lime pie is a genius, I say.  A genius!  It was sweet, tart and creamy all at once.  At the end of the night, there was nothing left but crumbs (the best sign that others also think its delicious!).  I liked it so much that I’m making it again to take to a potluck we’re going to this weekend.

The recipe is from Cooks Illustrated with the filling doubled.  The link Ashley sent me is here.  Thanks, Ashley, for the link and changing my life, one pie at a time!