courtesy of Sweet Delights
Martha Stewart's recipe for key lime pie calls for condensed milk, egg yolks, key lime juice, and a touch of zest to be whisked together. For Paula Deen, it's those same ingredients, plus a touch of cream. But if you want to get South Florida's most famous pie right, you should probably start with advice from Miami's own phenom baker, Debra Allen, owner of Sweet Delights, housed in a tiny but whimsically spray-painted building that would be more at home in the artsy Wynwood than it is in the Goulds neighborhood of South Miami-Dade. (The bakery will move July 1 to 28838 S. Dixie Hwy. in Homestead.) Her customers know her as the vivacious and smiling Miss Debbie, but you can also call her the pie queen. For Allen, the ultimate key lime pie filling ingredients are a well-kept secret, one she's guarded since she began making the pies in 2010. The only ingredient the self-taught baker will divulge: fresh, hand-squeezed key lime juice. Her treats cost $5.50 for a slice, $12 for a half-pie, and $23 for a whole. They are available in a rainbow of flavors, from tamarind, guava, and ginger to mamey and mango. She's even made an eggnog key lime variety for the holidays. These additions are just enough to lend a hint of color and tinge of flavor but not overwhelm the delicate key lime. Allen's traditional, meringue-topped key lime pie remains the most popular: A hefty slice of creamy, pudding-like custard is cradled in a paper-thin butter-and-graham-cracker crust and crowned with pearly meringue whose fluffy peaks glimmer a golden brown. You can opt for a slice with or without the meringue. It's the stuff dreams are made of.