Persian Lime Pie

I LOVE THIS PIE. It’s similar to a Key Lime Pie, with this exception: It’s made with the juice and zest of common, supermarket “Persian” limes. And oh, is it delicious.  Think of Florida sunshine, sandwiched between a tender, buttery crust, and a mountain of sweetly-whipped cream. Can I offer you a bite?

For the best possible presentation, make a Pate Brisee Sucree crust, and pre-bake it on a 9-inch diameter, removable-bottom tart pan. You’ll find easy, detailed directions for making and blind-baking this classic French pastry in my recipe for Chocolate Ganache Tart.

Note #1: No removable-bottom tart pan for you? Bake the crust in an ordinary 9-inch pie plate.

Note #2: On a gluten-free diet? Make a crust from gluten-free graham cracker crumbs.

Note #3: Let’s make this pie already!

Grab 3 Persian limes…

And zest them.

Then cut the limes in half, and juice them.You’ll need one 1/2 cup of juice for this pie.

Now separate 3 large eggs, and let the yolks come to room temperature. Freeze the whites — they’ll come in handy the next time you crave a Strawberry Souffle.

Using a hand-held mixer, or a standing mixer outfitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until they become pale and thick — about 2 minutes.

While the mixer is running, beat in each of the following:

One 14-ounce can of sweetened, condensed milk…

The 1/2 cup of lime juice…

And the beautiful lime zest.

Now turn the machine off, and inhale deeply. The perfume of this batter is something to sing about.

Place the pre-baked crust on a cookie sheet, and then pour on the batter, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Bake on the middle rack of a pre-heated 350° oven until the filling is set — about 15 minutes.

But Kevin, how can I tell if the filling has set? Sincerely, Miley Cyrus

Dear Miley: If you bump the pan, and the filling doesn’t jiggle like you do, then it is perfectly set.


Transfer the pie to a wire rack. When completely cool, chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Or, wrap the pie in plastic, and chill it for a day or two.

To unmold the pie, grab a well-faded I Love Lucy drinking glass…

Place the tart pan atop Lucy’s henna-hued hair…

And let the outside ring crash to the floor.

Set the pie on a cake-stand or serving platter, and then brace yourself. We have to decorate this thing!

By hand or by machine, beat 1 cup of heavy cream and 2 generous tablespoons of super-fine sugar until the cream turns thick and wonderful.

If you are a practical cook, you can simply pile the cream atop the pie.

If you are an adventurous cook, you might like to do what I did, and drop a slice a lime in the center of the pie…

And then scoop the whipped cream into a pastry bag outfitted with a star tip…

And then, starting from the outside, pipe sweet starlets of cream all over the surface of the pie.

This pie is light, fragrant, and elegant. I wouldn’t hesitate to serve it for Afternoon Tea, or as the grand finale at a dinner party.

Well. I hope you’re drooling right now.

Here’s a printer-friendly,copy and paste version of the above:

Persian Lime Pie
Kevin Lee Jacobs/A Garden for the House
Ingredients for one 9-inch pie
3 eggs yolks, at room-temperature
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
The zest and juice of 3 Persian limes (Persian limes are the common supermarket-variety)
1 Pate Brisee Sucree crust, pre-baked in a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan (directions here)*
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

*If you don’t have a proper tart pan, you can bake the crust in an ordinary 9-inch pie tin.

Preheat oven to 350°F, with the rack at the center position

Using an electric hand-held mixer or a standing mixer outfitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks at medium speed until pale and thick — about 2 minutes. Then, with the mixer running, beat in the condensed milk, followed by the lime juice and zest. Pour the custard into the pre-baked pastry shell.

Bake until the filling is set (it shouldn’t jiggle if bumped) — about 15 minutes.

Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (The pie can be wrapped in plastic, and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

To decorate, beat the cream and sugar until thick and firm. Scoop the cream into a pastry bag outfitted with a star tip.

Place a slice of lime in the center of the pie, piping little stars between the round of lime and the crust.

Think you’ll place this pie on your “must make” list? You can let me know by leaving a comment.

Don’t miss anything at A Garden for the House…sign up for Kevin’s weekly updates.

Related Posts:
Make-ahead Spinach & Cheese Strata
Butternut Squash Pancakes
Sugar Cookie Tartlets with Real Lemon Curd Filling


  1. Yum, yum, yum. I can’t wait to try this!

  2. I can almost smell this pie! Love the way you topped the pie with little peaks of whipped cream. So luscious.

  3. Screw the calories. I’m loading up on limes and making this pie this weekend.

  4. This recipe is similar to the one I use – a ‘faux’ key lime pie that was a Martha Stewart recipe, with one more egg yolk and less lime zest, but some lemon zest to ‘mimic’ the key lime taste. I also use a graham cracker/butter crust (I live in the South), which is always what everyone loves the most. I’ ve lived in Florida for most of my six decades, and trust me, no one can tell the difference. Also, it’s a bitch to try to get that much juice out of real key limes, which are available to me.
    I’ve served these pies for years at our family’s Thanksgiving gathering until two years ago when I made Southern Living’s cover dessert – Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Crust and Praline topping, which I modified. It is absolutely sensational, and I highly recommend you try it. If you have trouble finding it, email me and I’ll share the recipe and the changes I’ve made. (Primarily, I don’t put the additional cream cheese topping on, instead just sugared pecans and served with whipped cream! What else!)
    Love your writings, garden advise, photos, and, especially the recipes!

  5. joanneinjax – Glad to know that even your Southern friends couldn’t tell the difference between key limes and Persian limes when extra zest was used for a pie. I’ll never forget the year I squeezed 25 limes in order to produce a teensy amount of juice. What a job! I know about the Southern Living recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake — sounds amazing.

  6. Brenda Johnson says:

    Oh Persian Lime Pie how I love thee…. I’ve eaten a LOT of “Key Lime Pie”- I’d go so far as to say it’s one of my favorites, and this is SO much better than any I’ve had! The buttery pate brisse really adds a nice rich element to this. The lime filling is light in texture, almost fluffy! Sweet like a proper dessert should be, but tart and fresh with the lime zest and juice.Whipped cream (in such a pretty decorative pattern no less) is always a welcome addition to anything!! This is delicious Kevin- thanks for sharing!!!!

  7. myrtle miller says:

    I love key lime pie but usually buy it already made but awhile back I was kind of inspired to make one from scratch so I bought some lime pie filling. The chances of me actually making a lime pie are very slim but I might try to make this one for Thanksgiving. Thanks for all the good food ideas.

  8. Brenda Johnson – So glad you liked the pie. Thanks for taste-testing!

    Myrtle Miller – Perfect for Thanksgiving!

  9. Oh I can’t wait to try this one, but will probably stick with the graham cracker crust. I still have yet to master a good flour crust. I tried the Pate Brisee recipe you have for the lemon meringue pie and still can’t get it right. Gotta practice some more, but on something less decedent!

  10. This looks amazing! It’ll be a nice change of dessert for the holiday season! Refreshing!!

  11. I was wondering last night…… what kind of pie I would make for Thanksgiving. I found my answer this morning! Thank you Kevin!

  12. Arthur Hadley says:

    Kevin, try to reduce the fat: use two cups of Greek yogurt (one carton) mix in one measure of no sugar lemonade mix for 16 ounces of water (one straw for a bottle of water) add lime zest. Serve in a bowl topped with a slice of lime. No sugar, no fat, no guilt. Enjoy.

  13. your instructions are always hilarious. I don’t care if you’re serving up roadkill on brioche, I’m in it for the fab entertainment; the recipes are icing. thank you.

  14. Very ………………yum. thanks for Persian lime pay recipe.

  15. My, my, my – I will “never” fit into my skinny clothes Kevin if you keep offering up delights such as this! I will definitely make this one for an upcoming tea party over the holidays. Can hardly wait to see what other delights you have in store for us! So glad I stumbled upon your posts!

  16. Carol in MT says:

    Oh seriously, could you share the recipe with out all the photos! My mouth is watering uncontrollably… I guess i am just going to have to plan on making this, soon.

  17. Rose Connors says:

    Don’t leave out the photos, I love it that way. I just love your sight. .Keep it going….

  18. I’m drooling, this looks delish! Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Kevin!

  19. Yes, Kathleen is right- you are fabulous Kevin- thanks for another great column!

  20. Pie looks delish!! Will give it a try for sure…….
    I have two favorite Key Lime Pie recipes, and really like the ones that use eggs and sugar, lemon or lime juice and not condensed milk!!!
    Should share my two with you, both are great! One, my very fav!!, is a little more labor intensive, and the second one is easy peasy!!!
    Thank you for another Sunday email full of fun and recipes, etc, and peeks at your gorgeouse home and kitchen!!

  21. What a terrific looking recipe. Mine is famous for being so tart. I use 6 oz. of fresh persian lime juice but no zest. I’ll have to try it your way and see if the zest makes this pie as tart as I like.
    Your’s sure is pretty with all that zest in it!

  22. j. jackson says:

    I’m trying to comment on the 11/13 drawing for the cuisinart but am like those who call their IT support and ask “Where’s the ‘any key button’?” How does one post comments when over 700 have already commented? Family will be home for Thanksgiving and those here for breakfast will be served your Butternut Squash Pancakes. Those are really good and healthy too!

  23. This is absolutely a “must make”!!! Headed to market to purchase limes in the morning. Will report back with results.

  24. This is a must try! I’m drooling just thinking about it! I’ll try it this week. Thanks, Kevin.

  25. Hi Kevin, One “Thanksgiving “will be on the Saturday
    after Thanksgiving this year, not sure yet
    about the Day itself!

  26. Oops, thought I was posting for the food processor! Wrong place-
    Do I need to read all 800 comments to be able to post my comment?( even
    ‘tho it’s great fun to read them!)
    Now… about the pie- it sounds Deelish, I can’t
    wait to try it. Maybe for thanksgiving!

  27. Hi Kevin. Looks delicious. Have you ever made crust with the gluten-free graham cracker crumbs? If yes, what was it like? (I have a gluten-free friend.)
    Also, where’s your sous-chef? I always look for her when I read your recipes.

  28. Hi Anita – Thanks for asking about my sous-chef. She was napping upstairs while I made this pie. As for the GF graham cracker crust, I, personally, have not tried it. But some of my GF friends have, and they said it’s terrific.

  29. Kevin..could one make a classic meringue for this pie with the egg whites?

  30. Hi Wendy – You could definitely use the egg whites (sweetened just a little) to make a meringue topping for the pie. I used whipped cream simply because it photographs so well!

  31. badger gardener says:

    Kevin I think you’ve cured me! About 20 years ago Milwaukee had this huge epidemic outbreak of cryptosporidium. The last thing I ate before it hit me was key lime pie. Whatever evolutionary safeguards have developed in our brain to avoid foods that make us ill has always seemed to be on hyper-drive in me. Even though I know it was not the pie, I don’t even like looking at key lime pie ever since that time. I originally didn’t open this blog entry when I saw it, but now that I did I find myself craving a piece of that pie. Maybe it is the use of the more common limes that I use all the time that have allowed my brain to make the switch, or maybe it is the special magic from your kitchen : ) I’m going to give this a try.

  32. Judy Beauchaine says:

    Did anyone else catch that you put lemon instead of lime in the directions. It didn’t bother me but I have a friend who follows a recipe EXACTLY and that would throw her. Heading out to shop for my limes. Love the newsletter!!

  33. Judy – thanks for catching that. Yes, in the copy-and-paste version, “lemon juice” should read “lime juice.” I’ve made the correction.

  34. My favorite pie ever…I can’t wait to try it! I, too, am drooling…and I’m glad to hear Ms. Lily was napping, as I was also looking for her in the pictures! Thanks for all the great recipes and the wonderful way you present them! I don’t have a faded I Love Lucy glass, but I do have a Cleveland Rockers glass…the Rockers no longer exist, so it should work almost as good as a faded glass, right?! 🙂

  35. Kevin, I made the pie today…oh, my!! It is to die for! I was super lazy and bought a graham crust at the store, and I was “practical” and spread all the whipped cream over the top. I was also a bit piggy and ate 2 slices! My hubby did, too, and he’s not a huge Key Lime Pie fan like I am. If you have a fabulous raspberry sauce recipe, I’d love to see that posted so I could try skipping the whip and adding the sauce! Thanks for all your fabulous recipes and gardening tips…I love your blog!!

  36. I have always made my key lime pies with a meringue, a recipe I got from the daughter of a former governor of Florida. It is delicious and much lighter than the whipped cream. LOVE your website! A friend visited your gardens last summer and sent me your recipe for ile flottante as a trade for two of my dessert recipes. I have been having a wonderful time “with you” and have discovered many delicious new recipes! Many thanks to you for sharing and please don’t stop!!

  37. Lisa G – So glad you liked the pie!

    Libby – Thanks for stopping by — hope to “see” you again!

  38. Definitely going to try this Persion lime pie. Made my mouth water just reading the recipe. Thanks for sharing. Even though its green and not red, may make it for Valentines day. Green is one of my favorite colors, and St. Patrick’s day one of my favorite holidays. Despite all the snow, thinking spring.

  39. Kevin, you are a dessert devil. Am making your pastry right now (matter of fact, have one in the freezer for the next tart – almond/cranberry). I can’t wait to try this and I have several friends who I’m sure will love you for it (and me, for making it)

  40. Hi
    This pie looks sooooooo delicious.
    I live in Iceland. There is either lime or no lime. Does it matter what kind of lime I use?

  41. Hi Iris – This pie is delicious indeed. Any limes will work — use whatever variety you can find!

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