El Paso’s clubby San Francisco Grill (127A Pioneer Plaza) is a cool downtown retreat from the big-city clamor, and its menu offerings are a far cry from the picante specialties of other local eateries.
The Grill’s Key lime pie, a towering drift of sweetly tangy citrus in a nutty toasted crust, is comfortably Southern. This is the kind of undemanding recipe that does wonders for languid summertime schedules. Servings are bounteous one-sixth-of-a-pie portions, on the principle that nothing succeeds like excess. Diners seem to appreciate the double-sized dessert too: They are spared the inconvenience of having to ask for seconds.
Key Lime Pie
6 egg yolks
5/8 cup sugar
5 ounces Key lime juice
Zest of two limes
32 ounces Rich’s Whip Topping (see below)
1 1/2 packets graham crackers, crushed
3 tablespoons crushed toasted walnuts
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons sugar
7/8 stick butter, melted
Heat egg yolks, 5/8 cup sugar, and Key lime juice in double boiler, stirring occasionally. Once mixture reaches consistency of pancake batter, remove from heat. Chill in refrigerator for two hours, until it gels. Combine lime zest and Rich’s Whip Topping with hand mixer, beginning at medium speed and increasing to high speed until overly thick (you can’t overbeat the topping). By hand, fold in lime gel.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, sesame seeds, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Add melted butter, and mix thoroughly, until mixture becomes doughlike. Press mixture about 1/4 inch thick into 9-inch pie pan. Bake pie shell for 7 minutes. Let cool.
Mound lime mixture into cooled crust. Let pie sit at least an hour in refrigerator before cutting. Garnish each serving with a lime wheel. Serves 6.
This recipe can also be reinterpreted with other citrus fruits, such as Persian limes, lemons, or even oranges. Key lime pie first appeared on the culinary scene in the mid-nineteenth century with the introduction of a new product, sweetened condensed milk, to the Florida Keys. Until then, baking anything that called for milk was practically impossible. The San Francisco Grill’s version of Key lime pie uses another ready-made product, Rich’s Whip Topping. Other nondairy whipped toppings will work in this recipe, but the voluptuous richness of Rich’s adds body that lighter commercial products don’t have.
To find Rich’s Whip Topping in your area go to richsusa.com