Miniature Key Lime Pies

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Nothing says summer like key lime pie. The refreshing and tangy flavor of lime intermingles with the rich and creamy texture of condensed milk to make a summer dessert that is truly decadent. Speaking of summer, does anyone else feel like it has flown by this year? It’s almost August which means college students will be back on campus in less than a month! I’ve enjoyed a somewhat relaxing summer this year with not too many vacations or weekend trips. It’s been a nice change of pace to have some time to simply be around the house.

However, summer isn’t over yet! After living in Ann Arbor for one year, it feels like there is so much left to explore! In the month of August, I’m making a short A2 “to do” list of things that I’d like to experience before summer is over. Curious what I’ll be up to? Let me share!

1. Take a walk at Hudson Mills Metropark.
2. Stargaze at the observatory on top of Angell Hall.
3. Find some of the fairy doors that are hidden in downtown A2.
4. Visit the drive-in movie theater in Dearborn for a double feature.
5. Eat hippie hash at Fleetwood Diner.
7. Oh, I’d also like to do some more BAKING! Perhaps try my hand at this Hummingbird Cake!

But for now, I’d like to share the recipe for these delicious mini key lime pies. It’s not a 100% traditional recipe for key lime pie, but it still tastes amazing. I call for regular limes in the ingredients, but if you can find some key limes in the grocery store definitely go ahead and use them! I guarantee that you’ll have people asking you for this recipe once they try it!

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Mini Key Lime Pies
Makes approximately 2 dozen

Crust Ingredients
14 sheets of graham crackers
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Filling Ingredients
4 egg yolks
Zest of 2 limes
1/2 cup lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Whipped Cream Ingredients
1 cup heavy cream
Zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons honey

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, whip together the yolks and half of your lime zest for about a minute. Add lime juice and sweetened condensed milk. Mix well for about 1-2 minutes. Set aside and let rest for 10 minutes.

In a blender or a food processor, crush graham crackers until fine. Mix in the melted butter and granulated sugar. Grease mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Put a spoonful of graham cracker mixture into each hole. Make sure filling comes up to the top. Press around with your fingers to create the crust. Press down firmly and push up the sides. Bake for about 10 minutes until the crusts are lightly browned and fragrant. Cool at room temperature.

Fill each hole with about one tablespoon of filling. The filling should reach almost to the top of the muffin pan. Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes until filling jiggles slightly when shaken. Allow to cool completely. To remove from pan, run a paring knife along the edges of each muffin tin. Gently slide a spoon or the edge of the knife under an edge of the mini pie, and slip out. It’s ok if some graham cracker doesn’t make it!

To make the whipped cream, beat the heavy cream until you have soft peaks. Then add the honey and your remaining lime zest. Beat again until you have stiff peaks. Stiff peaks occur when you put the whisk in the whipped cream, pull it out, turn it over and the peak stays up in the air.

To top the key lime bites, you can pipe the whipped cream onto the mini pies and garnish with a little lime zest.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
Cold cream whips up the quickest and lightest. Chilling the bowl and whisk or beaters for at least 15 minutes before whipping the cream will help you speed things along.

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Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

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Somehow summer managed to sneak up on me this year. Our winter was so long here in Michigan, it was only two months ago that we had snow on the ground! Now, summer fruits are making an appearance in the grocery store and the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market is in full swing.

Matt and I reserved a garden plot in our apartment complex this year. We decided to plant butternut squash, tomatoes, basil, and peppers. Matt has taken more of a lead with the garden and I wander over and check it out a couple times each week. We’re looking for a good way to combat the weeds that have been growing abundantly. So if anyone has any great ideas, please advise! (Correction… Matt has informed me that we also have green onions and cilantro in the garden as well. It’s clear who has been devoting more time to this endeavor!)

Our new puppy Maya continues to be both the cutest and most challenging little dog in the world. She gives you love and kisses and then leaves a “present” in another room when we’re not looking. However, her puppy obedience classes have been a success and she now knows how to sit and come… when she wants to that is. One thing I can definitely say is that Maya keeps me more active than I ever was before. I purchased a fitbit a few weeks ago and have found that between morning and afternoon walks, I can usually hit my 10,000 steps a day goal. I’m positive that in my pre-doggy life I probably was averaging around 2,000 steps a day.

With all the excitement of summer and new puppies, I haven’t been baking quite as often. The result is that my cookbook has been piling up with recipes that I want to try out. I was recently sorting through trying to find a fun summer cupcake recipe. Blueberries have been ridiculously cheap lately, so I decided to use that as a theme for this post. These cupcakes have a delicate lemon flavor that is complimented by the blueberry filling and garnish. They are perfect to bring to an outdoor picnic or even a work potluck!

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Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Filling
Makes 30 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients
3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 cup whole milk, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

Lemon Cream Icing Ingredients
2 cups chilled heavy cream
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Blueberry Filling Ingredients
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp pectin
1/2 pint of blueberries
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 30 cupcake pan cups with paper liners.

Sift the self-rising flour and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the unsalted butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating each egg until incorporated before adding the next. Mix in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

Gently beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, one third at a time, alternating with half the milk and half the lemon juice after each of the first 2 additions of flour. Beat until just combined; do not over mix.

Fill the prepared cupcake liners with batter 3/4 full, and bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before removing them to finish cooling on a rack.

To make the filling, stir together 3 tablespoons sugar and pectin until combined. Place sugar mixture, blueberries, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Cool filling completely.

To make the icing, beat the cream in a chilled bowl with an electric mixer set on Low until the cream begins to thicken. Add the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice, a little at a time, beating after each addition, until fully incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to High, and beat until the icing forms soft peaks, about 5 minutes.

To assemble cupcakes, cut out a small portion of the centers of cupcakes. Pipe or spoon blueberry filling into the centers. Pipe or spread frosting on top of cupcakes and garnish with blueberries.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
I’m usually not a fan of buying kitchen gadgets for the sake of simplifying something that you could easily do by hand. However, I will say that a cupcake corer is an investment which will make the process of removing a portion of your cupcake much simpler. As a bonus, you can find one for about $5 on Amazon.

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