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Cooking smackdown: Lime vs. Key lime

June 10, 2008 | 10:27 am

459_5966I tried my hand at a Key lime pie this weekend. I fully planned to make it with generic limes when I spied a bag of honest-to-goodness Key limes at my local Pavilions. I was surprised at how teeny tiny they were. And how little juice they released, even after I rolled them on my countertop to loosen 'em up. I needed 3/4 cup of lime juice for the filling. Normally, two to four limes would do the trick. But it took more than 20 Key limes. (They were too small for my wooden citrus reamer, so I resorted to the more powerful lemon squeezer.) Suffice it to say, there was a lot of squeezing.

The pie came together well, although the almond-graham cracker crust was a bit too crumbly. (I'll use more butter next time.) While the meringue was browning in the oven, I conducted my own unscientific taste test, slicing open a regular lime I had on hand and a Key lime. The Key lime was brighter, tarter ... is 'lime-ier' a word?

But I'm not sure it was worth the extra work. Purists, am I wrong? Am I giving up too easily?

-- Rene Lynch

Photo credit: Steve Carney