Key Lime Pie – A Real Food Recipe

A few weeks ago, my dad took Mirin, along with a fellow entomologist enthusiast, for one of their crazy bug-hunting trips to Cedar Key.  Along the way they discovered a key lime tree, covered in limes and entirely ignored/unappreciated/forgotten at the edge of a school yard.  The limes were falling all over the ground, and Mirin, my best forager, insisted they pick up a huge bag full to bring home.  I didn’t think we would ever use them all, but between squeezing them into bubbly water and key lime popsicles, we did.  There were only about eight left to make just one key lime pie.

If you look at key lime pie recipes online, you would think no one made key lime pie before the invention of Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk.  One no-bake recipe called for lime-flavored gelatin and cool whip.  I came up with this recipe with a date-sweetened coconut crust, real cream, and honey.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Real-Food Key Lime Pie


2 cups of dried, shredded coconut

10 pitted dates (I used the smaller deglet dates, but if you are using the larger mejool dates, you probably only need 7-8)

3/4 cup of butter, melted and allowed to brown just the tiniest bit for flavor

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Place coconut in a food processor with dates and vanilla and process until dates are incorporated into the coconut.

2.  With the motor running, drizzle in the melted butter.

3.  Press into a pie pan and set aside.


3 tablespoons of arrowroot flour

3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue!)

2 cups of cream

1/2 – 3/4 cup honey (I use raw honey, but it gets cooked)

1/2 cup key lime juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  In a sauce pan, mix the arrowroot flour with the egg yolks and vanilla into a yellow paste.  Slowly add the cream, whisking while you do.  Stir in the honey and lime juice.

2.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk to avoid lumps.  Cook until the mixture boils.  Boil about 1 minute, or until thickened.

3.  Pour into coconut crust.


3 reserved egg whites

a pinch of salt

2 T of honey

1.  Put egg whites in a bowl with a pinch of salt.

2.  Beat egg whites until they make soft peaks.  Drizzle honey in slowly, while you still have the beaters running.

3.  Pour on top of pie, and using the back of a spoon, make peaks all over.

4.  Bake pie at 350F for 10-15 minutes, until the peaks of the meringue are golden.  Chill pie for a few hours before serving.

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