Graham Cracker Crust with Almonds
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
½ cup blanched almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, almonds, sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and toss with a fork to incorporate. Butter a 9” pie plate and press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides. (A small measuring cup is helpful for smoothing the crumbs evenly into the pie plate.) Refrigerate the crust and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Bake the crust for about 8 minutes, just until it turns golden. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool while you prepare the filling. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Key Lime Filling
4 large egg yolks
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons lime zest
¾ cup Key Lime juice (I use Nellie and Joe’s- available in most supermarkets)
Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg yolks for 5 minutes until thick. Add the sweetened condensed milk and the zest and beat until smooth, then gradually add the Key Lime juice, beating on low speed to combine.
Place the cooled pie shell on a baking sheet. Gradually pour the filling into the crust and bake the pie in the preheated 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. The pie will be set around the edges and the slightest bit jiggly in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for several hours until firm.
Make the strawberry puree by placing 4 oz. (about 4 large strawberries) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Process until completely pureed then strain through a fine mesh strainer. (You will only use 2 tablespoons of the puree in the cream. Reserve the rest to use as a sauce.) Refrigerate the puree while you prepare the cream.
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup mascarpone cheese (this helps to stabilize the cream)
3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh strawberry puree
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a chilled mixing bowl, combine mascarpone and sugar. Add a few tablespoons of the heavy cream and use a rubber spatula to incorporate the ingredients. Add the remaining heavy cream and the vanilla. Use a handheld electric mixer and beat the cream until thick and soft peaks form. (You don’t want to over mix this, which causes the cream to be grainy.) I finish beating the cream by hand, using a whisk. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the strawberry puree. Retrieve the pie from the freezer and serve with the whipped cream, additional strawberry puree and fresh berries.