When someone visits our area, it’s likely they’ll order Key lime pie as the perfect ending to his or her meal (usually consisting of fresh fish). Key limes are Florida’s star fruit — they originated in the nearby Florida Keys. The Key lime is smaller and more pungent than what most think of as a lime, the Persian lime.
Usually associated with the chilled citrus dessert that’s creamy, light, tart and sweet, Key lime pie has become synonymous with Florida. Even though Key lime season runs from June through August, it’s a year-round staple that locals and tourists expect to find on the menu.
And some places have produced unique twists on the summer citrus. Here’s a look at some local finds.
HAVE YOUR CAKE: Key lime truffle, cake pop and cupcake
6538 Gateway Ave., Sarasota; 5212 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday
Price: $2.50 per cake pop; $2.75 per truffle; and $2.85 per cupcake
Info: Call 346-0024 or visit MyHeavenlyCupcakes.com
When owner of Heavenly Cupcakes, Becky Schultes, opted to create a Key lime pie-flavored cake as the weekly special, it flew off the shelves. Her green dough, and even the icing, is lime flavored, and the combo has the best kind of lip-puckering effect. The cake pop is the simplest form; the truffle is served on a graham-cracker base; and the cupcake has lime-flavored cream cheese frosting.
“We live in Florida!” Schultes says, “You gotta have Key lime, right?” If they aren’t already in-store, these Key lime cakes can be specially ordered.
DESSERT FOR BREAKFAST: Key lime waffles
Currents Restaurant at Hyatt Regency Sarasota
1000 Blvd. of the Arts, Sarasota
Hours: 6:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday (Breakfast served from 6:30 to 11 a.m.) | Price: $13
Info: Call 953-1234, Ext. 1260
This fluffy breakfast-menu item at Currents restaurant puts a Floridian twist on a traditional favorite. The large single waffle offers a subtle lime flavor in airy, crisp and savory dough featuring Key lime zest and vanilla mascarpone. Accoutrements of juicy, roasted pineapple compote and toasted coconut sit atop a mound of melting butter right in the center. One bite gives the perfect semblance of dessert for breakfast — talk about waking up on the right side of the bed.
Chef Leo Gianulis created these Key lime waffles because of the demand.
“Just like if you go to Kansas City, you want to get barbecue,” he says.
IN HIGH SPIRITS: Key lime martini
300 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands Circle
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Happy hour is from 4 to 6 p.m. daily. | Price: $10
Info: Call 388-2888 or visit tommybahama.com
A few years ago, the management of Tommy Bahama attempted to take the Key lime martini off the menu, but so many people kept ordering it, they realized just how much of a fixture it had become. The local lime used in the martini comes from Sarasota’s Central Market Quality Wholesale Produce and Dairy. The martini is creamy but light and extremely tangy. The graham cracker-crust rim gives the idea one is indulging in an actual pie.
General Manager Thai Branton suggests substituting dessert for one of these cocktails, but for those who can’t go without the pie — Tommy Bahama offers the real thing, too.
JUST LIKE MOM’S: Key lime pie
Morton’s Gourmet Market
1924 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (bakery opens at 7 a.m.) Monday through Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (bakery opens at 8 a.m.) Sunday
Price: $15 a pie; $3.50 a slice
Info: Call 955-9856 or visit mortonsmarket.com
When one just wants to order pie, Morton’s is arguably one of the best stops to make in Sarasota. The store receives many requests daily for its Key lime pie, not because it’s unusual, but because it is familiar — just the way mom made it — crumbly and buttery graham cracker crust, tangy lime filling, and the perfect amount of whipped cream.
Executive Pastry Chef Jami Holton says the key to having a great Key lime pie is the perfect amount of Key lime juice. It’s a skill she’s perfected by making Morton’s Key lime pies in-house daily.
Key Lime Martini
Recipe Courtesy Tommy Bahama
2 oz Stoli Vanil
2 oz. Keke Liquer
.5 oz fresh lime juice
Shake until chilled and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a graham-cracker rim and a lime wheel.
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