Key Lime Pie — The New Girl

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Home is where the heart is.

Cliché? You bet. But I say it regardless because I believe it‘s true.

I’m both a California girl and a New Yorker. But my home is not defined by the house that I grew up in or the little apartment I rent in New York City, it’s defined by the people who make me happy. My dad is one of these people. So for his birthday last weekend, I was ecstatic to journey back to the golden coast to celebrate with my family.

Although everyone loves my dad's cooking, he was banned from the kitchen for the festivities. My mom took over as executive chef and put me on cake duty.

Birthday cake can be tricky. As a baker, you must sacrifice your own taste cravings to those of the honoree. In my limited experience, I've come to learn that red velvet is not everyone's favorite (unfortunately), and boxed mixes are actually preferred by some people (I try not to take it personally). There are also rare cases in which the perfect celebratory dessert isn't cake at all.

Don't get me wrong. My dad enjoys chocolate and cake like most people do. But he's also the type of guy who reaches for a fruit bar in the freezer while he serves everyone else ice cream and cookies. So, I thought key lime pie seemed fitting for this occasion.

This recipe comes from Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant in Miami. It's both bright in flavor and color. The filling is smooth and tart; the crust is crumbly and buttery. A dollop of fresh whipped cream offers a perfectly sweet balance to each tangy bite and will have you craving more.

Here are a few things to consider about the recipe:

- If using a hand mixer to make the filling, use a medium-sized bowl. It will be hard to get the egg yolks fluffy in a bowl that’s too big.

- Place pie in the freezer at least 15 minutes before serving (as the recipe directs). This will keep the graham-cracker crust from crumbling apart.

- The pie looked gorgeous with lit candles. So keep it in mind for that person who always seems to turn down a slice of cake at birthday parties.

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