There’s no better place to enjoy Key lime pie than in the Florida Keys, the birthplace of this favourite American dessert. From roadside shacks to upscale restaurants, virtually every eatery in the Keys has this pie on the menu, and it’s tempting to try each and every one.
More tart than sweet, the citrusy custard is traditionally made with egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and Key lime juice, and then baked in a buttery graham cracker crust. Despite many variations, one ingredient never changes: Key limes.
“Key limes are more tart, with a higher acid content than regular limes,” says chef Bobby Stoky, owner of Marker 88 in Islamorada. “Many restaurants have their own Key lime trees.”
Driving from Key Largo to Key West on the Overseas Highway, pie-lovers can get their fill along Florida’s “Key Lime Pie Trail.” Here are a few must-try spots.
Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen, Key Largo
Make your first stop Mrs. Mac’s in Key Largo, where Key lime pie is a bestseller. A wedge of Mrs. Mac’s pie is denser and more tart than most, with a thick vanilla-pudding filling and whipped cream topping. The chef has been using this recipe for 30 years and counting.
Oltremare Ristorante at the Amara Cay Resort, Islamorada
This new seaside hotel serves exquisite Italian gastronomy with a tropical twist, but the main reason to pull over? A decadent, deep-fried Key Lime Pie served with a side of strawberry compote—as you bite into the crispy crust, the frozen custard centre melts in your mouth.
Sweet Savannah’s of the Florida Keys, Marathon
Try a radical Key lime rendition off the highway in Marathon. This tiny bakery and ice cream shop makes a vanilla cupcake filled with Key lime curd and topped with a swirl of green Key Lime buttercream icing. Take a batch to go!
Blue Heaven, Key West
This funky, Caribbean-inspired restaurant located in downtown Key West has been a local favourite for more than 20 years. Snag a spot in the outdoor dining area, which features live music most nights, and indulge in a slice of Key Lime pie with an airy “mile-high” meringue—this pie is so epic, it once appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe, Key West
At this whimsical shop, gorge on Key lime truffles, salsa, taffy, jelly beans, and, most notably, a frozen Key Lime pie slice served on a stick and dipped in white chocolate. Get a selfie with the quirky owner, Kermit Carpenter, dressed head to toe in lime green.