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Lorraine Pascale

Inspired by a sun-soaked trip to Florida in her modelling days, cook, author and baking guru Lorraine Pascale shares her zesty take on an all-American classic: key lime pie

Cook and author Lorraine Pascale shares her sweet take on an all-American classic: key lime pieLayered chocolate cake covered in meringueLorraine bakingLorraine with her dad

“I have a very healthy relationship with food. My dad always cooked big hearty meals when I was growing up and lots of Italian food and I still have an appreciation for good vegetables and fresh produce that I learned from him.

“I’ve always been all about balance. For me it’s about being as healthy as you can be most of the time and then indulging at weekends and for celebrations – that’s always been my philosophy for healthy, happy living.

This recipe, however, is all about indulgence! I was doing a bikini modelling shoot with a bunch of girls and we’d travelled all the way from New York in a cramped car. On the shoot we were given the most beautiful bright green pie for dessert. It looked so rich, creamy and fresh. I thought I’d have just one bite. One bite became two slices – it was so delicious! I love limes – they remind me of the hot weather and the cooling quality of fresh citrus. You can make this very successfully with regular limes, or you can use lemons if you want, but key limes are smaller and seedier and have a very distinctive flavour. I didn’t make this pie until years later, but when I’m writing my books I always start with memories to get inspiration and this one was too good to miss. I couldn’t have this in my house because I’d eat the whole thing, so I make it when I have friends coming over who I can share it with.”

Lorraine Pascale’s new book, Bake, is out now (Bluebird, £20).

The recipe

Serving suggestion

With a mojito, of course. Or a cup of tea.


Key lime meringue pie with ginger snaps

Serves 6-8

60g butter
250g ginger snap biscuits
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
1 egg white
1 quantity Swiss meringue (see recipe, below)

For the filling
4 egg yolks
397g tin condensed milk
170ml lime juice (from about five standard limes, or 14 key limes)
1 tbsp lime zest, plus extra for decoration

Melt the butter in a pan or microwave. Put the biscuits and sugar into a food processor and blitz, or put them in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin. Stir the butter and egg white into the biscuit mixture, then tip into a tart tin and press down to make an even crust on the bottom and up the sides. Chill in the fridge for at least 10 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes at 160°C (gas 3). Leave to cool in the tin.

To make the filling, put the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk them a little, then add the condensed milk and whisk again to combine. Add the lime juice and whisk for a couple of minutes. Taste the mixture – I like to add lime zest to give the flavour a bit more of a kick.

Put the crust-lined tin onto a baking sheet and pour in the filling. Bake for 10–15 minutes, until the filling is just set but hasn’t changed colour, then leave to cool in the tin.

Next, make the Swiss meringue. Put the mixture in the piping bag – half-fill it, to ensure the mixture doesn’t squidge out of the top when you’re piping – then hold the nozzle about five millimetres above the pie and squeeze the bag. When the meringue kiss is the right size, stop squeezing and lift the nozzle. Repeat until the mixture is used up, making sure there are no gaps between the kisses.

The meringue has already been cooked, so simply use a blowtorch to colour the kisses to a light golden brown or bake at 200°C (gas 6) for eight to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it as meringue can catch really quickly!

Serve decorated with a little lime zest.

Serving suggestion

With a mojito, of course. Or a cup of tea.


120g egg whites
240g caster sugar

Fill a medium pan with five centimetres of water and place it on the hob. Bring the water to the boil over a high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile, put the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl and whisk them until they become light and frothy.

Put the bowl over the now simmering water and keep whisking until the temperature reaches 70°C on a sugar thermometer. This will take five to seven minutes.

Once it has reached this temperature, remove the meringue from the heat and keep whisking until the mixture has cooled down and become very thick, glossy and marshmallow-like in texture. It will take 10–15 minutes to do this stage by hand, or once the mixture has reached 50°C (121°F) you can pop it into a stand mixer and whisk at high speed until stiff peaks have formed – this will take six to eight minutes.

To check that it is ready, take some of the meringue on the end of the whisk, then turn the whisk meringue-covered end up – the meringue should be super-stiff, not floppy. Some say to hold the bowl over your head – if none comes out then it’s ready!

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