Soothing, tart and smooth in taste, Key Lime Pie has created so many warm family memories that are worth re-visiting as we approach the holiday season.
The wonderful thing about living in or near the San Francisco Bay Area is that amazing new memories are just around the corner, baking in the oven and ready to savor, especially if you love Key Lime pie.
One place you should saunter over to when you are in the mood is Three Babes Bakeshop.
Do we smell something baking in the oven? We do. It smells just like the pie mom used to make only now it appears her daughters are making them.
We love the smell of their baked goods and the company name. Just FYI, there are actually only two babes but their story is still as tasty as sitting down at a sidewalk San Francisco eatery, savoring their key lime pie with a hot cup of coffee.
Let’s knock on the doors of these two babes at threebabesbakeshop.com. With their aprons on they smile, “We are Anna and Lenore, proud daughters of California’s Central Valley and friends since 3rd grade. Our parents work together on the same social-justice-y causes in our hometown, we know each other’s original phone numbers by heart, and we’ve been baking together for over 20 years. Also, we’re roommates. Feel the love!
We’re committed to bringing people together and creating positive change in our community through food. We are proud to source many of our ingredients from farmers who have known our families for years, and to bring attention to the hardworking individuals who cultivate the delicious produce for which California is known. We use ONLY organically grown ingredients.”
That is very good to know.
So, we are anxiously anticipating that key lime pie coming our way. So how do they make it? The two girls offer, “We bake our own graham crackers, then grind them up to make our graham cracker crust. We use tangy organic lime juice and fresh organic eggs. This pie is topped with freshly whipped organic cream from Straus. As an added bonus, it’s naturally gluten-free!”
Alright ladies. Enough already. You’re whipping us up in a key lime frenzy. We are turning green with envy.
Here are what two customers had to say about them at Yelp Reviews:
“We tried Three Babes three years ago on a trip to SF. And for the past three years my husband hasn’t stopped talking about their key lime pie. Sweet, tart, buttery crust. So in our trip back to SF last week, we went to the Ferry Building farmers market on Saturday and immediately went to their stand. Luckily, he got the last slice of key lime. If he hadn’t, I’m sure he would’ve cried.”
Hey, glad the gentleman got his pie. We would hate to see a grown man cry. Here is another review.
“I’m pretty sure this is the best pie I’ve ever had in my life. I got a slice of key lime, and even an hour before they closed up shop at the Ferry Building Farmers’ Market, it was still well-chilled and in good shape. Their key lime pie is dense and set more like a cheesecake, which was surprisingly creamy.”
Wow. We loved their story and the story that people share about Three Babes Bakeshop.
In our love of Key Lime Pie, we have plenty of company. We have a visiting female writer who would like to add to the key lime pie party. She adds a Floridian perspective and we love her work. Please enjoy.
Key Into Lime Pie
By Dale Phillip Submitted On July 12, 2018
Key West Florida is famous for two things: the Ernest Hemingway house (with its 6 toed cats) and Key lime pie, named after limes which grow in the Florida Keys. A favorite American dessert made with Key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks, the traditional “Conch version” uses the egg whites to make a meringue topping. Key limes are smaller, more tart and aromatic than the common limes we buy year-round in grocery stores and grown abundantly in other regions of Florida and California. Key lime juice, unlike regular lime juice, is pale yellow, which, along with the egg yolks, produces the filling’s pale color.
Appearing in the early 20th century the exact origins are unknown, but the first recorded mention of Key lime pie may have been made by William Curry, a ship salvager and Key West’s first millionaire. Supposedly his cook, “Aunt Sally”, created the pie for him. It seems his crews of sponge fishermen at sea did not have access to ovens but the original version allowed the creamy pie to be prepared without baking. Early writings state that Aunt Sally’s version called for a graham cracker crust and softly whipped cream.
Many cooks and bakers in Florida claim their recipe is the only authentic version. Be that as it may, the filling is rarely disputed: rather, most debates revolve around the crust and topping. Everyone does agree, however, that green food coloring is for amateurs, and a proper version should be pale yellow. Key limes (also called Mexican or West Indian limes) are the most common lime found throughout the world; the U.S. is the exception in preferring the larger Persian lime.
The two contentious versions center around crust and topping. Early pies probably didn’t even have a crust, but now locals vacillate between traditional pie crust and graham cracker. And then there is the topping. The two camps argue meringue vs. whipped cream. (Apparently these folks have a lot of time on their hands.) Contrary to popular belief, what makes the filling creamy is not cream at all but sweetened condensed milk which is thicker than evaporated milk and comes in a can, first introduced by the Borden Dairy company in the late 1800s. It’s possible that if the sponge divers had anything to do with the pie, they indeed had plenty of canned milk, eggs and Key limes on board (and plenty of sponges for clean-up).
In other countries where Key limes grow, they are used more commonly in many dishes and as a popular flavoring. Although grown for centuries in Asian and South America, they didn’t make an appearance in the U.S. until the late 1800s, which means foodie president Thomas Jefferson missed out entirely. (How he would have loved those pies!)
If you visit Key West, pie factories and bakeries abound, and you can literally eat your way from one end to the other, reveling in the different offerings and deciding for yourself which one you like best. There are also shops which sell dozens of products enhanced with Key lime, such as moisturizers, potpourri, candles, soaps, candies and cookies. Unfortunately for much of America, procuring authentic Key limes is not always easy, and using regular limes just won’t do. Oh sure, you can buy bottled juice which the locals would frown on, but for some it’s better than nothing.
Starting in 2013, the annual Key Lime Festival is held over the July 4th weekend as a celebration of their favorite citrus not only as pie but in other foods, drinks, and an important part of their. Clearly these aficionados take their pie very seriously and expect no less from anyone else. And by the way, don’t even think about using frozen topping. The whipped cream police will find you and have you arrested.
Author Dale Phillip never met a lime she didn’t like. Although not a Florida native, she has enjoyed Key lime Pie on her visits to the Sunshine State, and assures you is well worth trying. As a Southern California resident, she loves the larger bright green limes and squeezes them on anything from avocados to Mexican food, but the Key west variety is not common and rarely seen. She invites you to view her many articles in the Food and Drink category, and visit her blog: http://www.thefoodieuniverse.com.
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Opening Photo threebabesbakeshop.com photo via Ten Thousand Hours