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In the Kitchen: Topped to perfection

September 05, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. -After sifting through several Key lime pie recipes, Pat Hine discovered that the secret lies in the topping.

It has to be homemade. A store-bought tub of synthetic whipped cream won't cut it. And it can't be cloyingly sweet, though it still has to balance out the tartness of the lime custard filling.

Hine's Key lime pie recipe was already becoming a patchwork of many others - borrowing a crust recipe here, and using a bit of this for the filling there. But it was a friend's recommendation for a white-chocolate almond topping that made her recipe complete.

Hine, 68, was willing to share her Key lime recipe with Herald-Mail readers.

For one, Hine is not big on eating sweets. She is a retired health and physical education teacher living in Blue Ridge Summit, with her husband Bill Hine, who coached basketball and football at what was then Waynesboro Junior High School.

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The Hines have two grown sons who went on to play college sports.

Pat Hine loves cooking, especially pies, for others.

"Everyone likes pies over cakes," Hine said.

She and her husband chatted with The Herald-Mail over a slice of Key lime pie. Eating the pie was kind of like eating a Sweet Tart candy.

For the sweet side, there's a handmade whipped cream fused with melted white chocolate and a bit of almond extract, then garnished with slivered almonds.

The tart: a lime-juice infused custard that lines one of Hine's homemade crusts - though Hine said a store-bought crust works just as well.

Serve it refrigerator-cold, and serve it fast. Her recipe called for the use of at least five uncooked egg yolks, which poses some food safety risks since the dish isn't cooked.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't recommend eating raw eggs. The American Egg Board also frowns on consuming raw or undercooked eggs and offers several alternatives, including purchasing pasteurized eggs for use in recipes.




Q&A with Pat Hine



Q: Do you cook all your meals, even when you had two boys in the house?

A: Oh, I had to cook. We didn't have any money to eat out.

Q: What was a typical meal?

A: Because they were so big, casseroles. Basically one-dish meals. We had to stretch the food. My oldest son would always ask, "What's for dessert?"

Q: What was for dessert?

A: I baked a lot of cookies, candies. I don't buy cookies, either. I make them from scratch.

Q: Why everything from scratch?

A: To me it tastes better. A lot of those box cakes taste like the box.

Q: So for your Key lime pie, any tips for your topping?

A: Chill the bowl and the beaters. It used to be if it were humid, whipped cream wouldn't whip. I just put on the air conditioning. But you can't have humidity. You can whip it all day and it's never going to whip.




Key lime pie with white-chocolate almond topping



For the topping

1 cup white chocolate chips
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 cup whipping cream
Handful of slivered almonds for garnish

For the filling

4 egg yolks
1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Key lime juice
1 baked 9-inch pie crust (baked)

To make the topping, melt the chocolate chips. Combine the egg yolk and water. Add to melted chocolate. Blend well. Remove from heat and cool for about 10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.

Beat the sugar and whipped cream to form stiff peaks. Stir a few spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.

For the filling, beat the egg yolks. Add the condensed milk and beat until blended. Slowly add the Key lime juice. The custard will thicken as you add the lime. Pour immediately into the pie shell. Add the topping and garnish with the slivered almonds.

Yields 6 slices.

- Courtesy of Pat Hine of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.

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