Desserts · Pies

Key Lime Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crust

 Seeing this recipe brought back a great memory.  I used to buy Key Limes by the bag full for my step-daughter.  It was their small size that first caught her eye, and from her very first taste, she loved these tart little limes so much that she would demand them in her lunch every day.  I quartered them and she ate them like tiny oranges. 

As adults, our best use for limes seems to be using them to top off a bottle of Corona.  While that is a good use, limes do have more to offer the culinary world than that.  Like this pie, for example.  If you don’t have key limes, regular ones will do just fine. 

The original recipe is for mini pies and can be found here.  I modified it to make 1 large pie instead. 

My one complaint about this recipe is that we are left with about 1/2 cup of Sweetened Condensed Milk at the end of the recipe.   I really hate when that happens.  What to do with the extra?  Add a spoonful to your morning coffee for a sweet treat, mix into hot chocolate or spoon it over fresh fruit for a quick dessert.

Key Lime Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crust


3 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal

5 Tablespoons melted butter

1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar


3 cups sweetened condensed milk (from 3 14 oz cans)

1/2 cup sour cream (not low fat)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice


1 cup whipping cream

2 teaspoons white sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons grated lime zest (see cooks notes)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Put cereal in food processor and pulse until ground into fine crumbs.  Add melted butter and  sugar, pulsing a few times until fully incorporated and mixture looks crumbly. Pack well into 10″ pie plate and bake in oven until lightly browned.  About 10 minutes.  

While crust is baking whisk together the lime juice, zest, sweetened milk and sour cream, making sure mixture is well blended and there are no lumps.

Pour into filling into the hot pie crust and put back in oven and bake for about 30 minutes.  Just until filling starts to set (See Cooks Notes below).

Remove from oven, place on rack to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold.  (At least 2 hours, overnight is better)

Just before serving, make the whipped cream.   Whisk cream until soft peaks form.  Add sugar, vanilla and lime zest and continue whisking until peaks are stiff.  Careful not to overdo it or you will end up with butter!

Slice pie into servings, put on plates, top with whipped cream and serve.

Grated Lime Zest – best removed from the limes before you juice them.  Grate whole limes over the small holes on a box grater to remove just the green part of the peels. 

Baking time – I always have trouble deciding if the filling has started to ‘set’ or not.  For this one, I baked until the edges of the filling started to bubble just a little bit.  It was slightly over cooked, but I knew it was set when it came out of the oven. 

Desserts · Sides


Plantains…we have all seen them in the stores, sometimes green, but more often yellow with black spots so large I used to think they were past their life expectancy.  The truth is, have paid little attention to them, mostly because their appearance put me off.


But then, one evening, watching The Amazing Race, the contestants were in Ecuador, which piqued my attention because we have friend from that country.  Wouldn’t you know it, one of the challenges was to cook plantains!!  They were making twice-fried  plantains, called Tostones.  Finally, a clue, and basically, a how to video right there, on prime time television!

I was very happy to surprise our Ecuadorian friends with a batch of these the next time they came over.

The technique is the same regardless of the colour of the plantain.  Greener ones will be savoury and can be served as part of a meal.  Salt them and dip them in ketchup, like French fries.  The yellow and black ones are riper, and therefore sweeter.  They are great for breakfast or dessert.   I like these sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

Unfortunately there are no photos of my finished product because I was lame and forgot, but if you google Tostones, you will find many examples.

This makes 4 servings, about 120 calories per serving (without toppings, of course).



2 plantains

oil for frying

Heat oil in large skillet.  You can either deep fry or just pan fry in a bit of oil.  (I chose to deep-fry mine)

Peel plantains and cut into 2″ pieces.

Add plantain pieces to hot oil and fry until they soften and are golden on both sides.  About 5 minutes.

Place fried plantains on paper towel covered work surface and gently press with bottom of a heavy glass or aa frying pan , squishing them until they are about 1/2″ thick.

Return flattened pieces to hot oil and fry until crispy.  About 3 minutes per side.

Drain on paper towels, season with salt and pepper.  Serve.



Chocolate Lava Cakes

My brother in law visits us often and we tend to dine out more than usual when he is here.  A couple of years ago, he discovered the Molten Chocolate Cakes at La Traviata, in PV, and he is still talking about them!

We try to get to the restaurant at least once during his stays, but time ran out on us during his last  visit so he has suggested I try making them at home.   Why not, I thought.  It is really just an under-baked cake.  Turns out, the exact amount of under-baking is critical!

This one took a bit of practice for me to perfect, (OK, a lot of practice), but the disappointment of the imperfect versions was tempered by a tasty chocolate cake; or pudding, so it was sort of a win either way.

I have changed the original recipe just a bit, the most obvious is making 6 x 4 oz ramekins instead of 4 x 6 oz ones.   With so many practice versions, my waistline appreciates the smaller versions.  Plus, with 3 of us in the house, I could bake 3 one day and 3 the next so prep time (for the second night, anyway)  was cut way back.

The ingredients are decadent and somewhat expensive, but the effective cost of each of the 6 little desserts is about 14 pesos, or about $1 Canadian.  Another plus is that this batter can be made up to 2 days in advance!   Just pour it into the prepared ramekins, cover and refrigerate.  Take them out of the fridge about an hour before you are ready to bake them so they come to room temperature before baking, and be sure your oven is properly pre-heated.


Chocolate Lava Cakes

Unsweetened cocoa powder (for dusting ramekins)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins

6 ounces semi or bitter sweet chocolate

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch salt

2 Tablespoons flour

Vanilla ice cream for serving

Preheat oven to 450F.  Generously butter each of 6 ramekins.  Dust inside with cocoa powder and tap out excess.  Arrange on baking sheet and set aside.

Melt 1/2 cup butter and chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water, stirring often.  Be sure the water in the bottom pot is not touching the bottom of the pot on top.

Meanwhile, beat eggs, yolks sugar, cinnamon and salt together at high speed until mixture is pale, thick and very fluffy.

Stir the chocolate until smooth and any lumps have melted.  (NOTE:  Chocolate should be warm, not hot!  If it feels hot to the touch, allow to cool to room temperature before proceeding or you will end up with scrambled eggs.)  Pour into the egg mixture and sift the flour over top.  Working quickly and gently,  fold the chocolate into the egg mixture until flour and chocolate are fully incorporated and mixture is a uniform colour.

Pour into prepared ramekins (see Cooks Notes)  and bake for 9 minutes until cakes are slightly puffed and centre appears mostly (but not completely)  dry.


Remove from oven and let sit for a minute or 2.  Gently run a thin knife around each ramekin, then cover each with an inverted dessert plate.  Flip over and let stand until the cake falls onto the plate.  You may have to help this along by gently shaking the ramekin.

Add ice cream to the plates and serve immediately.  IMG_2791


  1. once the mixture is in the ramekins, they can be refrigerated until ready to use, up to 2 days.  Bring to room temperature before baking.
  2. if you use 6 oz ramekins, increase baking time to 12 minutes.



Fresh Mango ‘Pie’

It cant get easier than this.   It is messy, but you get fruit and graham crust all on the same plate.  Maybe I should call it a Mango Mess instead.


1 graham pie crust (pre-baked)

3 – 4 ripe mangoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 cup water or apple juice

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

zest and juice from one small lime

In large saucepan over medium high heat, combine juice (or water), cornstarch, lime juice and sugar.  Stir to dissolve and continue stirring constantly to prevent sticking until mixture comes to a boil and thickens.  Remove from heat, stir in mangoes then transfer mixture to pre-baked graham pie crust.  Sprinkle lime zest over top.  Chill in fridge at least 2 hours.  Spoon onto plates and enjoy.

COOKS NOTE:  This does not set up like a regular pie.   You wont get neat  slices from it so you probably shouldn’t make it if you re trying to impress the in-laws, but it is pretty tasty all the same.



Desserts · How To... · Pies

(Almost) Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Mango Pie with Graham Crust

We can buy Graham Crackers here but we must go to an import store where we pay more for that little box of crackers than it would cost to buy a whole pie from a speciality bakery.    We can get pre-made “graham” crusts for a very reasonable cost, but they tend to be flavourless.  So, I started experimenting with different types of cookies that  are readily available here and, discovered what most of you probably already know… most any unfilled cookie can sub in for Graham Crackers.

Crush the cookies in a plastic bag using a rolling pin or pop them in your food processor.  The important part is to be sure to add enough butter and sugar so it stays together when you press it into the pie pan.

It isn’t rocket science and some of you are probably wondering why on earth something so common needs to be written down.   The answer?  Because even though this is a no brainer for many of you, I  don’t make pies often enough to have this simple formula memorized.  And, now that it is written it down, I don’t have to memorize it.

(Almost) Graham Cracker Pie Crust


1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs

6 tablespoons  butter, melted

1/3 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl until well combined.   Press mixture into a 9″ pie pan, making sure it is tight and compact.   Using the bottom of a flat measuring cup to help with this.

If you are making a no-bake pie, chill the crust for at least 2 hours before adding the filling.

If making a baked pie, pre-bake the crust at 350F for 7 – 10 minutes, then continue with whatever directions you have for the filling.