Mini Key Lime Pies with Graham-Macadamia Crust

The perfect summer treat is one that doesn’t require the oven, that’s cool and refreshing, that’s light, and that’s easy to make. Well this is it. These mini no-bake key lime pies are insanely creamy, bursting with lime flavor, and they’re the perfect portion size. Tired of sharing your desserts? With this pie, you won’t have to!

I spent a little under a year developing this recipe, and I finished it just in time for summer! This is the perfect snack to share with friends at the beach, the pool, or at home. I love these little desserts because they’re so easy to make and so delicious even weeks after being prepared. If you don’t have key limes or if they’re too expensive, you’re welcome to substitute with regular limes or Persian limes (I’ve tested them each way, and to great effect). If you don’t have macadamia nuts then you can make a simple graham cracker crust, but I highly encourage you to make the crust as the recipe instructs because the result is amazing! Macadamia and lime are a match made in heaven!

Excluding the time it takes to zest and juice your citrus, this recipe doesn’t take much time at all! It’s very quick, and all you have to do it pop your pies in the freezer for 3-4 hours and they’re done! This is truly one of my favorite things to make, and everyone in my family loves this dessert so much that the pies are gone in just 2 days (sometimes even less).

I hope you love this summer recipe as much as I do! Enjoy, and remember to like and comment! I love to know when recipes are a success for others.

Happy Baking,

Ivy B. Lake

For this recipe you will need a 12-cup cupcake tin, a can opener, a zester, a citrus reamer or juicer, a food processor (or a mallet and a large plastic baggy), a saucepan, an electric mixer, 1 small-medium bowl, 1 large bowl, 1 medium bowl, a spatula, 12 paper cupcake liners (preferably more sturdy paper to create nicer lines, not flimsy white paper liners, although any will be fine), a disposable piping bag (this is preferred, but not necessary), and a freezer 😛 .  This recipe makes 12 mini key lime pies (no more, no less, I promise).

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped/crushed cinnamon graham crackers (about 8 crackers)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 10 tbsp. butter (1 stick + some more)
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Ingredients for the pie filling: 

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (1 package)
  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk (typical 1 can)
  • Generous 3 tbsp. finely grated key lime (or lime) zest (about 4 regular limes)
  • 1/3 cup fresh key lime (or lime) juice (about 5 regular limes)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar

Directions:

For the graham-macadamia crust, melt your butter and honey in a saucepan over low-medium heat until a warm brown color. Don’t allow to boil.

Pulse your graham crackers and macadamia nuts in a food processor, or pound each with a mallet in a plastic baggy. Be sure to measure your macadamia nuts AFTER they’ve been chopped/crushed, not when they are whole or in chunks. Add the melted butter-honey to your graham crackers and macadamia nuts, either pulsing with the food processor (adding little by little) or by stirring well with a fork. A food processor will yield a more uniform crumb, while using a mallet will create varying sizes.

Add your cinnamon, 2 tsp. sugar, and salt to your crust mixture, pulsing or stirring, and then transfer to a small-medium bowl once well mixed.

(For the filling) In a large bowl, beat your cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sweetened condensed milk, and continue beating until light brown and smooth. Add your key lime juice and lemon juice. Mix on low, and once mixed well add your zest. Beat on high until smooth.

In a medium bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer (or a whisk and a strong arm) until soft peaks start to form. Add the powdered sugar, and then continue beating. Once stiff peaks form (and it resembles whipped cream), fold the mixture into the large bowl. Gently mix with a spatula until the cream is completely combined.

Line your cupcake tin with paper liners. Transfer your filling mixture to a disposable piping bag with the end cut off so there’s a 1/2 inch opening, or spoon your filling into the liners and smooth gently onto the bottom for an even end-result. If you are using a piping bag, slowly fill the liners in a spiraling motion, making sure that the bottom is completely covered, and fill about 7/8 of the way full (basically all the way, but not quite).

Using your fingertips, break up any clumps that may have formed in your crust mixture. Place a 1/2 tsp. of crust onto each cupcake of filling. Smooth this down. Once every cupcake has been covered, add another 1/2 tsp to each. Press down gently and make sure that the outer edge of the filling is also covered. With your remaining crust mixture, fill in any gaps (where you can still see filling) and make sure that all tops are level.

If you plan on leaving your pies in the freezer overnight, or for up to 2 weeks (no longer), then cover your cupcake tin in parchment paper or plastic wrap carefully (this is to avoid freezer-burn). If you are going to enjoy your desserts within 3-4 hours, simply place the tin in the freezer where it will be flat and undisturbed.

Freeze for at least 3 hours. Don’t remove your mini pies from the freezer until you are ready to serve and eat. Don’t place them in the refrigerator. To remove the mini pies from the cupcake liners, peel back the paper very slowly and gently, and place upside down on a plate (crust side down). Top with some whipped cream, lime zest, or a lime wedge to decorate!

Leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions!

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