Don't Make This Mistake With Ina Garten's Frozen Key Lime Pie

Key lime pie remains one of America's most delicious classic desserts. The pie has a tart, creamy lime filling enrobed with a graham cracker crust. It's usually finished with a whipped or meringue topping and lime zest and is a refreshingly sweet treat worth enjoying at least a few times every summer.

Key lime pies originated in — you guessed it — Key West, Florida (via Brittanica) and can be found in many eateries around the U.S. However, Key limes are also known as Mexican or West Indian limes, as a hurricane wiped out most of the commercial groves in the Florida Keys in the 1920s. Now, fresh imported limes or store-bought key lime juice are typically used to make the tangy custard pie instead.

Ina Garten's Frozen Key Lime Pie recipe doesn't require a specific type of lime. However, assembling a homemade crust is a must for her pie. There are a few mistakes that you should avoid when making the famous chef's frozen key lime pie recipe.

Pack lightly

The crust is key when whipping up Ina Garten's mouth-puckering dessert. If the crust goes awry, you're left with a custard filling that falls apart. According to the Barefoot Contessa, the first step in Garten's key lime pie recipe is creating the graham cracker crust. First, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Once the ingredients are well incorporated, press the crumb crust evenly into a 9-inch pie pan. Then, bake the crust for 10 minutes and allow it to cool completely. Sounds simple enough, right?

Well, on the "Ask Ina" page, a despairing fan of the famous chef wrote, "Loved your Frozen Key Lime Pie recipe, but my crust stuck badly in the glass pie pan. What am I doing wrong?" Garten replied, "That's happened to me, too. I've found it's important not to press too hard when you're packing the crust. I also let the pie defrost for 15-20 minutes before serving, and that seems to do the trick!"

Simply Recipes recommends finely grinding the crumbs with a food processor to prevent your crust from falling apart. You can also do this by placing the crackers in a plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. They say to test the crumb and butter mixture before pressing it into the pan by gently squeezing a small handful to ensure it holds together. Simply Recipes advises using a clean measuring cup wrapped in plastic wrap to press the crumbs firmly and evenly into the pan. 

When it's time to serve your citrus pie, Tippins recommends using a long, serrated knife to score the pie before slicing.