November 19, 2008

Latchkey Lime Pie

by IsaChandra

Earlier this month Chad mentioned that he wanted key lime pie. And if you say something like that around me, you are going to get a key lime pie. Especially if you keep repeating it and staring at me. And following me around. So yeah, he got a key lime pie, or something like that. I don’t know where to find key limes right now, and those are too hard to zest anyway. Regular old limes worked just beautifully.

You can see that I used a store bought crust here, but when I am experimenting with a new recipe that has temperamental ingredients like agar, I don’t want to waste my precious energy on making a crust. Don’t judge me. Luckily, it worked out with the first shot. If it hadn’t I was planning on pieing someone with it. In any case, a graham cracker crust would be great choice, too.

The texture resembles a creamy panna cotta. There’s no tofu here, it’s a coconut milk base but the coconut flavor wasn’t strong enough to warrant a title change. The flavor is pucker your lips tangy, and will definitely satisfy the lime lover in your life. Remember to zest your limes before squeezing out the juice. It took me 8 small limes to get the right amount of everything, your mileage my vary.

Latchkey Lime Pie

Makes one 9 or 10 inch pie

1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
2/3 cups fresh lime juice
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons agar flakes (or two teaspoons agar powder and skip the soaking step)
1 16 oz can coconut milk at room temperature
2 tablespoons tapioca flour (or try it with corn starch or arowroot – but I like tapioca best)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 9 inch prepared pie crust

In a small sauce pan, soak the agar in almond milk for about 15 minutes. Bake your pie crust for 8 to 10 minuties, then remove from oven to cool.

In the meantime, mix together coconut milk, tapioca, sugar and vanilla. It’s really important that your coconut milk is at room temperature so that it doesn’t affect the agar when you add it to the pot.

After soaking agar, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Keep a close eye so that it doesn’t boil over. Immediately reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until agar is dissolved. If using powdered it will only take about 5 minutes to dissolve.

Once dissolved (you can check by dipping in a tablespoon and seeing if there are any agar flakes left), very slowly whisk in the coconut mixture and then the lime juice and zest. Adding it too fast will make the agar gel up, which you don’t want it to do just yet. Once added, whisk often for about 10 minutes, until mixture has thickened. If it isn’t thickening, turn the heat up just a bit, but you don’t want it to boil.

Pour into pie shell and let cool on the counter for about half an hour, just so that it isn’t steaming like mad. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, until fully set. Garnish with lime slices. Serve with some vegan whipped cream, store bought or do the coconut whipped cream thing. (scroll down)

  • November 19, 2008 at 10:15 pm: Ashley

    How long does the coconut whipped cream hold up? I’d like to make it for Thanksgiving, but I’d also like to make it in advance.

  • November 19, 2008 at 10:33 pm: Marika

    Wow!! This looks exceedingly awesome. I’ve been wanting to try making a key lime pie with ages – now’s my chance. I am so looking forward to trying this. Looks delicious.

  • November 19, 2008 at 11:18 pm: Laurel from Simple Spoonful

    Okay, so here’s a question for you. In baking and cooking, how interchangeable do you judge agar-agar and arrowroot to be? Is one better for certain applications than others, or is it 6 of one and a half-dozen of the other?

    Also, citrus is delicious. And I have a bunch of an early variety Arizona lemons left after making thumbprint cookies. Mayhaps this pie will be their final resting place.

  • November 19, 2008 at 11:28 pm: appifanie

    hurray!! i love key lime pie!

  • November 19, 2008 at 11:54 pm: IsaChandra

    Agar and arrowroot are not interchangeable at all. Agar is akin to a gelatin, arrowroot is a starch. In this recipe the tapioca (or arrowroot) is being used to thicken the filling and make it creamy and the agar is being used to set the filling.

    I believe the coconut cream needs to be used as soon as the can is opened.

  • November 20, 2008 at 1:31 am: Julie Hasson

    Your pie looks scrumptious Isa!

  • November 20, 2008 at 3:38 am: Jessica

    I know I have seen key limes at Fred Meyer although I don’t know if they have them right now. I’m looking forward to trying this out. I love citrusy pies.

  • November 20, 2008 at 7:54 am: Shellyfish

    I My Dog I want that pie and I want it now! (I kinda deserve it, right, being injuried & all).

  • November 20, 2008 at 8:07 am: TadMack

    Oooh, this is calling my name all over again. And look: a holiday! An excuse!!!
    I’m just gobsmacked there’s no tofu in there, and you can BET I’m going to give this a shot. Oh, man, do I love key lime pie! Thanks for this.

  • November 20, 2008 at 10:56 am: Gina

    Woooow, I love key lime pie, this sounds fantastic!

  • November 20, 2008 at 11:23 am: Danielle

    Not related: There seemed to be a vegan chef-judge on Top Chef last night?

  • November 20, 2008 at 2:05 pm: IsaChandra

    Danielle – I tivo’ed Top Chef, I can’t wait to see it!

  • November 20, 2008 at 11:43 pm: Jean S

    Uwajimaya (in Beaverton) usually has Key limes. Sometimes Trader Joe’s has them. Worth a phone call before you make the drive….

  • November 21, 2008 at 3:19 am: communistdaughter

    i love you for this. i’d love you even more if you made lemon meringue pie.

  • November 21, 2008 at 10:54 am: sawdust and diamonds

    This looks so awesome! I’ve been craving a vegan key lime pie for ages.

  • November 21, 2008 at 3:40 pm: jd

    yay! Did he love it?

  • November 21, 2008 at 8:54 pm: River (Wing-it vegan)

    Did someone say coconut milk? Gimme!!

  • November 21, 2008 at 11:21 pm: Melisser

    DANG! This sounds fabulous. I may have to get over my agar fear (agar-o-phobia?!) & make this.

  • November 21, 2008 at 11:45 pm: Michele

    Trader Joe’s definitely has key limes. Picked up some
    a couple of days ago

  • November 22, 2008 at 11:58 am: Ziba

    Have this cooling now–love a key lime pie. When are you supposed to add the lime juice? I added it in w/the coconut milk and hope I haven’t screwed it up!

  • November 22, 2008 at 6:31 pm: Arien

    This is so awesome. My mom wants to make a vegan key lime pie for Thanksgiving, and we were going to use the filling for the Veganomicon lemon bars–but this is even better. Hurray!

  • November 22, 2008 at 9:00 pm: IsaChandra

    Ziba, whoops! Sorry about that direction snafu. Whisk in the lime juice right after the coconut milk stuff.

  • November 23, 2008 at 5:36 am: Harmony

    i have waited for a pie like this my whole life.

  • November 23, 2008 at 11:06 am: Ziba

    Thanks, Isa! The pie was delish!

  • November 24, 2008 at 4:33 am: Rachel

    Yay! Chad must have read my mind. I have been craving this lately. Nom-nom. Can’t wait to try it out.

  • November 24, 2008 at 3:39 pm: Atom and Timi

    Hello Ms Isa,

    We made your latchkey lime pie yesterday and it was forking scrumptious. One thing it might be worth adding to the recipe instructions is that the pie filling doesn’t go completely thick when you boil it, only slightly thicker. Then after refrigeration it sets perfectly and ends up just how you’d expect/hope. We had a moment of thinking we’d done something wrong when we poured the filling in the pie crust and it seemed too thin, like it was never gonna set. But it did. And all was well. And we were satiated.

    Love and Hugs


  • November 25, 2008 at 8:54 am: River (Wing-it vegan)

    YUM!! Mmmm coconut whipped cream thing.

  • November 26, 2008 at 4:35 am: IsaChandra

    Atom and Timi,
    Thanks for the feedback! You are right, I will add that little tidbit to the directions. But not this second because I am suer lazy.

  • November 26, 2008 at 11:07 pm: Jason Das

    I know my reading comprehension skills are lacking, but what do you do with the zest?

  • November 27, 2008 at 2:28 am: Jason Das

    For the record, the zest part was not there before. Now it is. I am not crazy. Also, this pie is crazy good.

  • November 27, 2008 at 3:58 am: IsaChandra

    you’ve gone mad.

  • November 27, 2008 at 8:37 pm: reachingfortheroots

    thanks for the note about agar flakes vs. agar powder and not needing to soak the powder. i learned this the hard way making vegan lemon bars (which are, by the way, A-Maz-Ing!).

  • December 9, 2008 at 10:55 pm: Kevin

    Thank you for this recipe, I am definitely going to give it a try. I have reduced my meat in take the past few months and after I graduate (June) from college I think I will make the leap to full blown vegan. I’ve noticed that I don’t miss meat that much, I’d rather have some roasted bell pepper soup or something!

    Anyway, I love Key Lime Pie’s so I will give this a whirl for the holidays when I return home to lovely Portland.

  • January 23, 2009 at 4:25 pm: Maija Haavisto

    You can’t get key limes in this country, only one type of limes (and limequats maybe once a year). How different are they from normal limes?

  • February 2, 2009 at 2:04 am: Amey

    Hey Isa,
    I just made this today and it was wonderful! Thanks so much. I was especially psyched because Key Lime is my dad’s most favorite pie. I’ve made a couple of vegan ones in the past, which relied on tubs of Tofutti… which I find somewhat grody. So, I was totally stoked on this recipe! and the results are awesome! I actually made 7 mini pies, and used a graham cracker crust. One small thing, I was a bit worried about the lack of thickening, so I added a slurry of 1 tbsp almond milk and 1 tbsp kudzu at the end, and added it into the overall mixture. Wonderful. Dad was happy. We were all happy. :)

  • March 3, 2009 at 3:23 pm: Miriam

    Hi, I see from your comments you were going to be making a gluten free Thanksgiving – any chance of getting those recipes? :)

    -gluten free fan in Denver

    (my nonvegan boyfriend bought me two of your books for Valentine’s Day and we are having fun making gluten free versions of many of your recipes!)

  • May 9, 2009 at 6:44 pm: Esther

    I just made this. It tastes *amazing*. Perfect for my non-vegan but extremely lactose intolerant mother for my mother’s day tomorrow!

    2 notes – I echo whoever s(really only a little bit thicker than at first) when you pour it into the crust. I was sure it wasn’t going to set up properly and that I had somehow messed it up, but 3 hours later – it’s great!

    2nd – Do you use *all* fresh lime juice. I ran out of limes and filled in with some bottled juice, and can tell it would be so much better with fresh.

    Thank you!!!!!

  • November 27, 2009 at 10:40 pm: Honey Mustard

    It’s such a jungle out there, so many pies you don’t know just which one to choose. So we chose The World’s Greatest Key Lime Pie From Kutchie’s Key West. With their 30-year track record, how could we go wrong? They Were the Best Pies Ever. We definitely be getting Kutchie’s Key Lime Pies In The Future. Kutchie’s Pies…Rock!!!

    Honey Mustard, Knoxville..Tenn

  • June 12, 2010 at 5:49 pm: Judy

    Does the almond milk impart a hazelnutty taste to the pie at all? I love almonds, and just about anything made from them, but have been very disappointed with almond milk, as it tastes more like hazelnuts to me – and that’s NOT a flavor I enjoy. Thanks in advance!

  • December 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm: Vasilisa

    Could you possibly replace the Almond Milk with soymilk here? Tryin’ to please my nonvegan family, and I’ve not been able to find any Almond Milk in Saint Petersburg (GO RUSSIA). Could you possibly, also, make your own Almond Milk if it’s nessesery?

  • February 3, 2011 at 3:20 am: Malulu

    Vasilisa, you can make your own almond milk, and it’s really easy! Soak raw almonds in water (1:2 almonds to water ratio) overnight, then blend and strain out the almond bits with cheesecloth. You can add vanilla extract or sugar/agave/stevia to your mix if you want a flavored version.

  • February 18, 2011 at 12:22 am: zeebo

    I made this last night and it was excellent. Love the texture. For a crust I used the raw crust from the raw strawberry cheesecake here on PPK, also I used a spring form pan because I can’t find my pie pan. I will definitely be making this again…maybe next time I will be able to find Key Limes.

  • May 8, 2011 at 4:40 am: Ashley

    omg! You are a genious! I was so excited when I found a recipe without nasty tofuitti or tofu.

    I just tried this recipe tonight, and it is amazing! I didn’t have any agar so I used a tad bit more tapioca flour. I made mini pies using a muffin pan, and after freezing the pies, the filling was able to thicken up.

    Next time I will try it with agar if I am able to find it.

    Thank for sharing your recipe!

  • June 3, 2011 at 4:30 am: Olivia

    Dude, you saved my life. My boyfriend wants a vegan key lime pie for his birthday and I Googled it and was pleased to see you posted one. I definitely trust you with dessert and I’ll be making this! Thanks!

  • June 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm: Paulie

    This worked out perfectly! Although I ended up with lots of extra filling, so I might reduce the recipe a bit next time. The filling was also super super firm–maybe too firm?–so I might try a little less agar as well next time. The taste was incredible! Thanks!

  • August 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm: vikki

    Ohhh, I so want to try this, but am deathly allergic to almonds. What would you recommend instead of almond milk?

    • August 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm: IsaChandra


  • October 24, 2011 at 2:39 am: Katy

    I didn’t have almond milk so I used soy milk and it is AMAZING. Oh my god. I’ve never had key lime pie (not a big thing in Australia) so this is my first one. It tasted incredible – I can’t imagine it being better – so in future I’ll definitely use soy milk and not bother with almond milk. Yum

  • November 1, 2011 at 4:11 am: Janae

    I’d like to make this for a friend, but she doesn’t eat cane sugar. Could you use maple syrup to substitute? I’m worried about the pie setting correctly…

    • November 2, 2011 at 4:19 am: IsaChandra

      You might have a shot with half the amount of agave syrup.

  • November 21, 2011 at 2:42 am: Laura

    For those that can’t find key limes (or don’t want to juice them), the brand Nelly and Joes is great. I used to use it for regular key lime pies and tried it with this one too. Was delish.

  • November 28, 2011 at 1:18 am: pbbnancy

    After a two hour hunt for agar, I decided that this keylime pie would have to be made without it. it was delicious!! The flavoring was just perfect – a bit on the liquidy side due to the lack of agar, but it was delicious as it was nonetheless. I made this with the grahamn cracker crust recipe from the pumpkin cheese cake and despite numerous attempts at displaying some sort of will power, I was unable to stop myself from eating the crust and the keylime filling while it was still warm. Luckily there was still enough for a cold batch of keylime cupcakes, but just barely. Isa, thank you for sharing this recipe! Half of my cookbook shelf is filled with your cookbooks, but I think this recipe has just convinced me that I also need to get pie in the sky.

  • March 25, 2012 at 12:06 am: Kathy Haag

    This was great! Will definetly make it again. I used a walnut/oatmeal crust and it turned out great. Thanks for sharing. I have dairy, soy, and egg allergies in my house, so this was great to find!

  • March 25, 2012 at 12:09 am: Kathy Haag

    janae, I am also allergic to Cane sugar. I buy organic beet sugar from Hain. You can get it from online. I also use agave without too much trouble in some recipes as well.

  • April 19, 2012 at 2:47 am: Anne O

    I’m glad someone mentioned Nellie & Joe’s key lime juice. A must for making this pie! I live in the south where we do get key limes in the regular grocery stores, but I still skip juicing all those tiny limes and always use Nellie & Joe’s. Key limes have a much nicer taste than big limes, so I would recommend getting the juice instead of using regular limes. I often find it in the baking aisle with the pie fillings.

  • April 19, 2012 at 2:51 am: Anne O

    And THANK YOU so much for this recipe! Key lime pie is my absolute favorite and I’m so glad that since going vegan at home (in the south!!) I can still make this delicacy. I mean, I really really adore this pie. I’ve seen recipes with tofu cream cheese, but no thanks. Real key lime pie certainly doesn’t have cream cheese. I knew there had to be a way to substitute coconut milk for condensed milk. :D

  • October 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm: Anne O

    I am sad to say I have made this twice now and the texture is unbearable, like stiff Jell-O. Any tips for what I might be doing wrong?

  • April 28, 2013 at 2:35 am: Cindy

    I have made MANY of your recipes and they are all fantastic! But this one is super special & has to be one of the best desserts ever (vegan or non- vegan). I usually can’t help tinkering with recipes to make them a bit more my own – but – with this one I follow your instructions exactly and it is just perfect. Ok – tonight when I made it I did add a little twist. I sprinkled some raspberries on the bottom before pouring the filling into the crust – they floated throughout & made it so very pretty & fancy!

  • October 30, 2013 at 1:21 pm: Melissa W

    My non vegan boyfriend loves Key lime pie so I surprised him with this! The texture was spot on perfect and it held together with no problem. He loved it, thanks so much Isa!

  • August 20, 2014 at 11:10 am: UK Worktops Direct

    Key lime pie! One of those things on my to do list, thanks.

  • October 4, 2014 at 1:42 am: Momma

    Great flavor. You can’t taste the coconut, just the tart lime. This will be my go-to key lime pie recipe! Working with the agar powder was easier than the flakes. I sweetened to taste, adding a little more sugar because that’s how I like it. Like others mentioned, don’t worry if it is very liquidy when you first pour it in. Because the agar works as a gelatin it will firm up fine.

  • January 20, 2015 at 4:01 pm: Joy

    Can you use light coconut milk, or does it have to be the full fat kind?

  • June 13, 2016 at 8:16 pm: Jennifer

    I get his post is super old so I hope someone sees it. I ,are this and I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong. The pie has cooled and instead of creamy it’s really firm. It’s tastes fine but has a horrible consistency