DAB or Persian Lime Pie

- Also otherwise known as heart attack on a plate, although this may perhaps be more accurately termed, diabetic shock on a plate.

Makes one egregiously generous 10’’ pie.

The regular green supermarket lime is also known as the Persian Lime. It is fairly low in acid, fragrant, and usually sold and used unripe. It is a deep, vivid green sometimes fading to a light green or yellow on one side.

I invented this pie because someone at work wanted a Key Lime Pie and I don’t like lime curd because of the eggs. Key limes are also notoriously difficult to find fresh, and their zest can also lend a bitter edge to the finished dessert. Instead, I wanted a refreshing dessert that is easy to make and really, really good. This is what I ended up with.

Keep in mind that this is quite possibly one of the richest and sweetest pies that you will ever encounter, not including anything made with chocolate. I calculated that, if one pie has 12 servings, each serving would have about 290-300 calories (14.2g of fat). There is only a miniscule reduction of the total fat content when using skim sweetened condensed milk since sweetened condensed milk is mostly sugar. There is no noticeable difference in the finished product, so use it if it makes you feel better. I don’t because I feel that all the fat helps stave off the almost inevitable sugar high and crash.

Filling Ingredients
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk. Cans are usually either 13.5 oz. or 14 oz. Either will do.
  • 1 c. of fresh lime juice, pulp is OK, but keep out the membrane and pith. It takes about 6-7 limes, depending on their size.
  • the zest of 3 limes, finely grated. Do this before you juice the limes. If you don’t like lime bits in your pie, zest 2 more limes, and put all of the zest in the juice and steep overnight. Then strain out the bits and omit the zest from the rest of the recipe. Personally, I like hitting a bit of zest, but some people object to bits, pulp, and other similar texture deviations.
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c. heavy cream or heavy whipping cream.
  • 1 tbsp. sugar

OPTIONAL if you wish to stabilize the cream so the pie keeps a little longer.

Additional needs
  • 1 – 10’’ or 9 oz. graham cracker pie crust. I purchase the Keebler brand ''2 extra servings’’ sized pie crust. You can make your own, but I find that a store bought crust tends to be stronger than homemade, and holds up the filling nicely. I also like the handy dandy plastic cover that comes with it, since I frequently transport this pie to functions. With the cover, I can also carefully stack two in the refrigerator or in my pie basket, a space saving technique that has saved many a holiday’s cookery and reduced the total number of trips to the car for assorted desserts. Any graham cracker crust will work, but I’ve only found the large size with Keebler. This pie barely fits into the large crust, so be prepared for excess filling that you will have to eat with a spoon.
  • a rubber scraper to get all the sweetened condensed milk out of the cans and to blend together your ingredients and fold in the cream.
  • A mixer to whip the cream.
  • two large mixing bowls.

If you want to stabilize the cream, put the water and gelatin in a small glass bowl and set it aside until all the water is absorbed. Then microwave (you could do this on the stove, but it is impractical) on high for about 10 seconds until the gelatin has completely melted. Be very careful, as the gelatin can and will boil over very quickly. Set the melted gelatin aside to cool down. You want it pourable, but not hot.

Mix together the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, zest, and salt. Set it aside and whip the cream until it is very thick, but not stiff. Do not over beat the cream! When the cream is very thick and the gelatin is tepid, add the gelatin to the cream, beating the whole time. Make sure you beat in the gelatin immediately, or you will have little rubbery bits in the cream.

Continue to beat the cream until it just starts to hold its shape when you drag the beaters through it. It should still close up most of the way over the path of the beaters.

Fold a small amount of the sweetened condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream, and then fold the whipped cream mixture into the sweetened condensed milk mixture. Pour into the crust and smooth it out. Cover and chill until cold and set, at least 2 hours, 4 hours is better. Serve chilled or it will loosen up when served.

If you cut a slice out of the pie, the slice will not weep, but sugar syrup may start weeping out of the cut edges of the pie if it sits in the refrigerator for a while. This tends to happen only after many hours and only when there is a substantial quantity of filling to a relatively small surface area of cut edge. Although a bit unsightly, weeping does not affect the flavor or texture of the pie. Stabilized cream does not weep as much, but can still do so.

She closed her eyes against the tangy spray of a freshly squeezed key lime. He was standing near the sink persuading the delicate rind to release the membrane enclosed sections of fruit inside. The next question was would he eat it or wear it? He was such a sensually evocative person. A treat for the eyes, ears, mouth and especially the nose. She watched him pour a half cup of lime juice and a tablespoon of zest into the bowl. Fourteen ounces of sweetened condensed milk were coaxed into assimilating the juice and zest. He licked the spoon and handed it to her. The contents of the bowl went into a graham cracker crust.

He poured a cup of frothy whipping cream into a chilled glass bowl. After a teaspoon of coconut extract was added he whipped the cream until it was stiff. When fluffy mounds of white covered the luscious lime filling he sprinkled a half cup of shredded coconut on top. There was a bottle of Corona sitting out on the counter. She took a drink and smiled at him. The fresh bottle he opened was the perfect temperature. He dropped a wedge of lime in and threw the cap in the trash. She opened the refrigerator but he shut the door and shook his head. “You forgot the most important thing.”

“What’s that?”

The knife was perfectly weighted and balanced. A translucent citrus slice dangled from the edge of the blade. He cut a slit in the rind and twisted the edges away from each other to garnish the dessert. He smiled at her and put her beer back on the counter. Lime green chips of color glittered in his eyes. “You forgot to kiss the cook.”

Some impulse made her reach for the wafer thin circle on top the pie. She dropped it down her shirt and smiled. “You forgot the most important thing.”

“What’s that?”

She pulled her shirt off and leaned against the counter. “That dessert won’t be ready for at least eight hours so we have some time to kill. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It turned out he wasn’t the only one who had a zest for limes.


This recipe orignally appeared in the January 2000 edition of Red Book Magazine. The characters were added to enhance the recipe.

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