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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Key Lime Pie with Macadamia Nut Crust (LC, SF)

Yesterday it was time to use up our abundance of limes and lemons and what better way than in the form of a pie.  Or several!

So I made my usual high carb key lime pie for the family and this low carb key lime pie for myself and for freezing.

So we had a unique opportunity to compare side by side. The real thing versus the low-carb pie! Since it has been a long time since I had key lime pie, I was hoping for “close enough”.

What we found out was that we actually preferred the low-carb pie. The texture of the low-carb pie filling was as good as the “real” one made with the low-carb condensed milk ... and then some! The additional silkiness and depth of flavor took it up even another notch! Who would have thought!  I suspect that in large  part the real cream in the low-carb sweetened condensed milk together with the absence of the “canned milk” aftertaste, that I don’t like very much, did it’s thing for me!

I knew the low-carb pie was good, but I didn’t think it would trump the “real thing” for me once we put them side by side!


for the crust

1 1/4 cup roasted macadamia nut pieces
½ cup low-carb graham cracker crumbs (could also use low-carb bread crumbs in a pinch)

¼ c. erythritol

1 tbsp. vanilla whey protein powder

1 tbsp. egg white powder (can also use vital wheat gluten, but makes for a more crumbly crust)

pinch of salt
1 tbsp. melted butter (see instructions)


for the filling

1/2 cup key lime juice

1 tbsp. lime zest
4 egg yolks
1  3/4 cups low-carb sweetened condensed milk


for the topping

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 tsp stevia extract

1 tsp buttery vanilla bakery emulsion or  vanilla extract

1/8 tsp glucomanan powder



Preheat oven to 375º.

Place the macadamias in a food processor and pulse until they're a fine powder. Add graham cracker crumbs, erythritol, whey protein powder, and salt - give it a few pulses until combined. Since Macadamia nuts are quite rich in oil naturally, you may not need any additional butter. Take a little in your hand and push it together. If it holds together a little already, you won’t need butter. If it doesn’t, pour the melted butter over the mixture and mix thoroughly.

Dump in a pie dish. Press the mixture into an even layer that comes up the side of the dish.  Prebake for 10 minutes. The crust might slide down a little as it becomes hot, but that’s ok.

One the crust is pre-baked, set aside and reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.

While the tart is baking, you can assemble your filling. Use a rasp to grate the zest into a bowl, then squeeze the limes until you have 1/2 cup of juice.  In a medium bowl, whisk low-carb condensed milk and egg yolks together. Then add zest and lime juice and whisk until smooth and incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the baked crust and bake for an 20 minutes until the custard is set. It's done when the filling is more firm than you started out, but still jiggles a little.  If you are used to making regular key lime pies, this may seem underdone to you. Go with it! It will set up just fine once it cools down!

Let cool for an hour and then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours. You can make this the day before and add the whipped cream  right before serving.

For the whipped topping, place heavy cream in a bowl and beat on high until soft peaks form. Add stevia and vanilla extract, and while whipping, slowly drizzle in the glucomanan powder. Continue whipping until firm peaks form. 

Either pipe around the edge of the pie or pile the cream onto the pie before serving.

The entire pie has 166 g carbs and  113 g fiber, so 53 g of net carbs. Divided into 12 slices, this comes out at 13.8 g of carbs, minus 9.4 of fiber, equals 4.4 g of net carbs per slice!

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Birgit Kerr