One of the most easily recognizable fare from the Keys is Key Lime Pie. Yum. The history of the pie has been lost to the ages. While some claim to have invented the dessert, most believe it originated in the late 1800s (after Angels Sinners and Madmen takes place, so I make no mention of it). Hard to say, though, since most people didn't begin to write down recipes until the early 1900s, according to the following web site. I'm fairly certain they didn't have prepared crusts then either. :)
Key Lime Pie
1 (9-inch) prepared Graham Cracker Pie Crust
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup key lime juice**
2 teaspoons finely grated zest from key limes
2 eggs, separated
1 egg, room temperature
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
** The recipe says if you can't find fresh key limes, Tahiti or Persian limes may be substituted as they are very similar in taste. You can also substitute the bottled key lime juice. The online recipe also includes instructions to prepare a graham cracker crust, which you should refrigerate until well chilled.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, key lime zest, and key lime juice. Add egg yolks and egg; stir until well blended. Pour into chilled graham cracker crust. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; gradually fold in sugar. Spread meringue over key lime mixture, being careful to spread to edge of pastry to prevent shrinkage during baking. Check out my hints and tips on making a Perfect Meringue.
Bake 20 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Makes 6 servings.
I thought Mojitos a modern drink until I came across the following web site, which includes another interesting history. Because of Key West's proximity to Cuba, wreckers often sailed there for supplies. Cubans not only perfected the cigar (like the antique logo above, which I thought was pretty cool), but supposedly also the mojito. Unless you believe another story that English pirate Sir Richard Drake first mixed the drink and later introduced it to Cubans. Either way, it makes a refreshing summertime cocktail, but also packs a punch. A favorite of Hemingway's, I'm sure if the walls of the bars in Key West could talk, they'd have quite a few tales to tell.
The Magnificent Mojito: History and Recipe
2 oz. light rum
1-2 oz. lime juice (depending on your taste)
2 tsp. superfine sugar (you can also use confectioner's sugar)
2-3 mint leaves
club soda or seltzer water
lime slice and mint sprigs for garnish
Lightly muddle (that is, gently smash up) the mint and sugar with a splash of soda water in a mixing glass until the sugar is dissolved and you can smell the mint. Pour the lime juice into the glass, add the rum and pour into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Give it a few shakes and then strain into a collins glass. Top with soda water or seltzer water, garnish with a lime slice and a mint sprig. Serve.