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Key Lime Pie Parfaits

Key Lime Pie Parfaits
Key lime pie is a favorite dessert of mine in the summertime. This is not only because I like lime in general, but because the pie is so refreshing. These Key Lime Pie Parfaits put a little twist on the traditional key lime pie by dressing it up in neat little dessert cups that make for a very elegant presentation of a classic dessert.

The parfaits have the same components that you’ll find in a regular key lime pie: graham cracker crust, key lime filling, and whipped cream topping. The filling is made with sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest. The lime juice – key lime juice is idea, but fresh juice from regular limes works well, too – causes the sweetened condensed milk to thicken when it is added to it, and since this dessert is to be served in cups, it doesn’t need to get as firm as a regular pie filling would. You could use plain whipped cream for the topping, but I opted for the Vanilla Yogurt Whipped Cream that I used in some strawberry shortcakes the other day, so that the whipped cream would have a little more body and flavor to it.

I’ve seen similar key lime parfaits before and they all have one big problem: soggy crusts. Just like with a regular pie, your graham cracker crust needs to be baked to ensure that it does not immediately get soggy when you add the filling to it. I mixed up my crust mixture, spread it onto a baking sheet and baked it until it was crisp and golden, then broke it up into small crumbs. This gave my parfaits not only a delicious crumb crust element, but one that stayed crispy long after the parfaits had been assembled.

These parfaits are easy to make and are absolutely delicious. I would say that they might even be more delicious than a regular key lime pie, because the crust is always crispy and the filling has a tremendous amount of lime flavor, plus you don’t need to worry about your filling setting up properly in the oven. I used some dessert cups I have to assemble these, but you can use any kind cup, glass or small bowl. I recommend using something clear so that you can see the layers. I’ve given some guidelines for dividing up the three elements here. Feel free to make changes based on your serving dishes and how big you want your parfaits to be!

Key Lime Pie Parfaits
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, pref. key lime juice
1 tbsp lime zest

Vanilla Yogurt Whipped Cream
3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup plain greek-style yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped

Make the crust:Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Stir together all crust ingredients and spread into a loose, even layer on the parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir and return to the oven for 5-8 additional minutes, until crust is golden and crisp. Allow to cool, then break into very small crumbs.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest until well combined. Mixture will thicken slightly.

Make the topping: In a large bowl, beat heavy cream to soft peaks.
In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar, yogurt and vanilla extract (or vanilla seeds) until well combined. Fold in whipped cream.

Assembly: Place 2 tbsp of cooled crust mixture in the bottom of each of six 8-oz dessert cups.
Place 2 tbsp whipped topping on top of the crust layer, spreading it gently to the edges of the cup.
Place 1/4 cup of lime filling on top of whipped cream layer.
Top lime filling with 1 tbsp of crust mixture.
Spread 2 tbsp whipped topping on top of the last layer of crust. Garnish with additional crust sprinkles.

Makes 6.

You don’t need to be too precise in your measurements when assembling these desserts, as long as you have neat layers. Feel free to add a little more here, or a little less there. You should have slightly more of each component than you need for assembling 6 generously sized desserts. Reduce the amounts slightly to make smaller portions and more servings.

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  • Andrea
    August 25, 2012

    These are perfect – delicious, great presentation and best of all easy! Thank you for sharing. Question – how far in advance can you make the lime filling and/or how long will it keep (prior to parfait assembly). Thanks!

  • Terri A.
    September 4, 2012

    Made these for someone today and just loved them – so simple, but really good!

  • Curis Burton
    October 31, 2012

    You’ve just got to try the best key lime pie ever to be baked!
    The ones from Kutchie and Anita Pelaez’s Key Lime Pie Factory of Key West Kutcharitaville.

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