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Spice up your dinner table tonight with Kay Plunkett-Hogge’s Chilli Key Lime Pie

Here, the classic key lime pie is given a little heat thanks to the jalapeño chillies. Key limes are small green limes with a sharp citrus bite. They come from Florida where, unfortunately for the rest of us, they have a very short season – so if you can find them, lucky you! The rest of us will have to make do with regular limes. For an extra rich custard, try replacing the egg yolks with duck egg yolks, and if you really want to give this a kick, use seeded green bird’s-eye chillies in place of the jalapeños.

150g (5½oz) butter, melted, plus
extra for greasing
350g (12½oz) digestive biscuits
1 heaped tsp cayenne pepper
3 egg yolks
grated zest of 2 limes
400ml tin of sweetened
condensed milk
juice of 6 limes (about 150ml (5fl oz))
2 green jalapeño chillies, seeded
and very finely chopped
to serve
300ml (10½fl oz) double cream,
extra grated lime zest
sprinkling of cayenne pepper or
chilli powder

Chilli Key Lime Pie

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, 340°F, gas mark 3½. Lightly grease a 23cm (9in) tart tin with a removable base.
  2. Place the biscuits and cayenne or chilli powder in a food processor and blitz into crumbs.
  3. Add the melted butter, and pulse until everything is well combined. Tip the crumbs into the tart tin and gently press across the base and up the sides (to a height of about 3cm (1½in)) to mould them into a pie crust. Bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes, or until lightly brown and crisp. Set aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large, clean bowl, beat the egg yolks with the lime zest until pale cream in colour and well combined. It should only take a minute or so. Add the condensed milk and the lime juice, and beat again. Then stir in the chillies.
  5. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the filling is just set, but still has a bit of wobble in the middle.
  6. Remove and set aside to cool. Once it’s cold, put in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or overnight, covered with cling film.
  7. Before serving, remove the pie from the fridge and top with the whipped cream. Sprinkle with the extra lime zest and a dusting of the cayenne or chilli powder. Serve immediately.


Kay Plunkett-Hogge is a respected food and drink writer with a wide culinary repertoire and in-depth knowledge of the drinks industry. She grew up in 70s Bangkok, where her childhood was spent between two kitchens: inside for Western food, outside for Thai. Thai cuisine continues to be a part of Kay’s everyday cooking.

The founder of a bespoke catering service for the fashion industry (informed by her previous career as a model agent and movie co-ordinator), Kay also works as a food consultant, most notably with the team behind the successful Leon restaurants, with whom she co-authored Leon Family & Friends.

HEAT is her latest cookbook and it’s available to buy now so you can spice up your kitchen with over 120 vibrant chilli recipes from around the world!

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