Pie for breakfast!

In honor of my visit to Oakland, reader Sarah Crews (an arachnologist and one of the staff for NINE cats) made a Key lime pie, out of genuine Key limes (the small limes visible in the bag). Most “Key lime pies” sold in the U.S. are bogus—made out of the large Persian limes that we commonly put in our gin-and-tonics. Real Key limes originally came from the Florida Keys, which is where I first had the pie in Islamorada. Now they’re grown commercially in Mexico and are more widely available. They are too bitter to squeeze for lime juice, but the stronger flavor makes them ideal for pies.

At any rate, I had a piece of the pie for breakfast with a cup of coffee, and it was splendid. I can think of no better breakfast than pie and coffee. The classic Key lime pie, like this one, has a graham cracker crust, whose crumbliness perfectly complements the silky-smooth filling. And, of course, there’s whipped cream on top.

PieIf you have access to Key limes, a good recipe (made with sour cream and condensed milk) is here.


  1. Barry Lyons
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Yummy! But I’ll take a cup of dark-brewed, quality black tea (none of this Lipton or Tetley crap) over coffee, if that’s okay by you.

    • mordacious1
      Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Tea goes well with many things, but with pie it should be coffee (but you’re welcome to keep doing it wrong).

    • Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, pie with tea is as bad as having the toilet paper roll put on backwards.

  2. BobTerrace
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I can think of no better breakfast than pie and coffee.

    Not even pie and coffee and bacon?

    • Posted July 10, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      That’s what a friend of mine calls the bacon corollary. You can’t use bacon as an example of an ingredient that makes a meal or a dish better because bacon makes EVERYTHNG better.

    • Posted July 10, 2015 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      As my son would say, ‘might as well have pizza instead’, if you’re gonna put bacon on it. A pizza pie.

      I wonder then if pie is never served at British-style tea parties or high tea.

  3. Pieter de Haan
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Wow, Sarah you rock and Jerry you are lucky!

  4. Paul S.
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Pie, yes. Arachnids, no. My irrational fear of spiders isn’t as high as jellyfish, but it’s still up there.

    • tubby
      Posted July 10, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      If you wanted to try to dial down your fear of spiders you could start with peacock spiders. They’re tiny, brightly colored jumping spiders that have peacock like courtship displays. Jurgen Otto has a Flickr account of photos of them and some Youtube videos. They’re about as adorable as spiders can get.

      • Paul S.
        Posted July 10, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Spiders that jump… no thank you.

  5. quiscalus
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    beats my breakfast of frozen vegetable biryani and a beer.

  6. mordacious1
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Nine cats? I bet you can’t get them all in one picture.

    • Posted July 10, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Well, see tomorrow’s “Oakland” post: there are eight on the bed at the same time.

  7. Randy Schenck
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Always will love the Bay area of California. Usually the best year round weather you can get anywhere. Just don’t go too far away from the bay because the weather changes fast, especially this time of year.

  8. rose
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Hey your in Oak town alright, used to live there years ago.

    • Diane G.
      Posted July 11, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      I was born there.

      There’s probably a plaque…

      • John Frum
        Posted July 11, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        I initially thought that read as ‘probably a plague’ and I was wondering what kind of plague.
        Maybe a plague of pies?
        That would be nice.

  9. Posted July 10, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Key Lime Pie is wonderfully delicious. If you’ve never had a slice or two (take care to make sure it’s made with actual key limes) you should repair immediately to your nearest purveyor of pies and indulge. If you can pair it with a genuine Cuban cafe con leche, you’re really in for a treat. (and possible diabetes from all of the sugar)

  10. tubby
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh, interesting that the recipe isn’t custard based. And that’s one thing at least that the gourmet/organic stores are good for- getting unusual produce like key limes.

  11. revelator60
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Prof. Ceiling Cat, if you’re traveling from the Bay Area to Davis, might I recommend driving along Highway 160, instead of the boring old I-80?

    160 runs along the Sacramento River Delta is a textbook example of a scenic route. Additionally, the road is not far from Giusti’s, one California’s oldest restaurants (www.giustis.com), which has been in the delta for over 100 years and sits right on the river. It’s solid diner food with free salad and soup–I’ve eaten there twice. But I should warn you that it doesn’t serve dessert!

  12. Posted July 10, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    This looks just like the key lime pie my Dad used to make. He got a recipe from Gourmet Magazine years ago, and doctored it up with twice the amount of lime juice. I am 77, but his key lime pie remains one of my fondest college memories. Long Live Real Key Lime Pie !

  13. teacupoftheapocalypse
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Lime in a G&T? Heresy! 🙂

    Lemon, every time.

    • BobTerrace
      Posted July 10, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Where to put lime

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted July 10, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Once during college I drove from Vancouver to Walla Walla with only one cassette – Nilsson Schmilsson – in the car. Heard that song SO many times.

      • merilee
        Posted July 10, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        damn…another earworm;-)

  14. merilee
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink


  15. voiceofreason
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Wow, you hit the trifecta with that post! I work in Oaktown, I have loved arachnids and have kept them on and off since I was a kid (black widows and scorpions mostly), and pie for breakfast!

    Remember: Pie is pastry and pastry is for breakfast

  16. Ken Phelps
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Islamorada? Is that where they hold Islamopalooza, the least fun music festival ever?

    • Blue
      Posted July 10, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      O funny, funny, Mr Phelps.

      I am when first I read your comment? Right here in the midst of M’Main Man Waylon’s .Amanda. (“ … … at the hair on my shoulders and the age in my eyes.”) off of disc #2 of his smashingly darling four – disc Nashville Rebel album = my own wee personal music festival here at my workstation on a mid – July Friday pm) — and yours just made me burst out guffawing. Indeed: could not be truer.

      Cuz of i) it, ii) my own festival and iii) this rot from NPR’s woo – pandering of just this morning not at all unlike how ISIS, too, recruits, that is, America’s own such state of affairs: http://www.npr.org/2015/07/10/421684410/evangelical-pastors-gather-to-learn-another-calling-politics


    • Diane G.
      Posted July 11, 2015 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      LOL + 2

  17. Posted July 10, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    There’s a restaurant on Key Largo that has key limes growing right outside, and their pie is fantastic. I’m still a rhubarb purist, though.

    • merilee
      Posted July 10, 2015 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Drop by – I have a TON of rhubarb growing out back. There’s only so much I can use without turning into a blimp. I just threw out some of last year’s crop from my freezer.

  18. Marella
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I’d love to make a Key Lime pie but being both lactose intolerant and Australian I’m pretty much screwed. I can get limes but not Key Limes, and condensed milk is just poison as far I’m concerned, so I need a recipe that doesn’t use it. That doesn’t appear to be possible.

    • Posted July 10, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      I’ll bet you could make a lime curd with egg yolks and make a meringue on top. Not totally kosher, but deelish. I’m not crazy for condensed milk in anything.

      • BobTerrace
        Posted July 10, 2015 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        My father used to use condensed milk as the creamer in his coffee daily. He also loved cold borsch too, so he was not a great example.

        • Posted July 10, 2015 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

          Lots of people love condensed milk, but not I. I do like borscht. Love roasted beets.

      • Marella
        Posted July 11, 2015 at 2:00 am | Permalink

        I’m sure you’re right, but is that “authentic”?

    • Posted July 10, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t tested this recipe but it’s dairy free! I find you can usually swap out the dairy milk for almond or coconut milk in most recipes.

      • BobTerrace
        Posted July 10, 2015 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        See! Another example of putting the lime in the coconut…

        • merilee
          Posted July 10, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          that damned song again;-(

      • Posted July 10, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Coconut milk had occurred to me, too, but almond milk might be milder. Lime and coconut milk are certainly good in Thai food.

        • John Frum
          Posted July 11, 2015 at 12:36 am | Permalink

          Don’t forget the chilli and fish sauce. 🙂

          • Posted July 11, 2015 at 12:57 am | Permalink

            Yup, but not in key lime pie:-). Fish sauce smells disgusting, but tastes really good.

      • Marella
        Posted July 11, 2015 at 1:59 am | Permalink

        Thanks for that.

  19. John Frum
    Posted July 11, 2015 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    According to Wikipedia the traditional Key Lime Pie has a topping of egg whites like Lemon Meringue Pie. I think I would like that more than cream although it would be nice to have cream with it of course.
    Now I think I have to make Lemon Meringue Pie.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted July 11, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Everything is better with cream!

  20. Vaal
    Posted July 11, 2015 at 10:30 am | Permalink


    And I’ve learned something about key lime pie.

    I support The Right To Pie For Breakfast!
    It’s one of my favorites. In fact I’m off with my son to grab a pie from the local farmer’s market.

    Pie, pie, pie,pie,pie……

  21. Dominic
    Posted July 13, 2015 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    … tea and pie?!

  22. Posted July 13, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I remember an old online correspondent of mine insisting on key limes for proper key lime pie. He travelled a lot on business, so he was (at the time – 10 years ago or so) very familiar with many places that served *fake* key lime pie.

    Personally I’ve one or the other, but it was so long ago I don’t know which it was! Is there a good way to tell? Is the bitterness the difference? If so, I’m not sure I’d want one – I’m not fond of bitter too much. Then again it has been years since I’ve seen it on a menu.

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