The Barefoot Contessa’s Frozen Key Lime Pie, Gluten-Free

I subscribe to at least as many design and lifestyle blogs as I do food blogs.  One of my favorites?  Steph Modo.  Steph recently sung the praises of the Barefoot Contessa’s frozen key lime pie, saying it was her favorite non-chocolate dessert and that it pretty much changed her life.

Other reviews were equally enthusiastic, with one reviewer saying this was their “death row dessert” (hopefully not literally).  Was I intrigued?  You bet.

A sweet, tart and creamy key lime filling inside a crunchy graham cracker crust?  Sign me up.  And as we head into summer, I think we could probably all use some make-ahead desserts for those hot and brutal days to come.

The only roadblock for those of us who are gluten-free?  The graham cracker crust.  Gluten-free graham crackers are just too expensive and I don’t want to have to bother making graham crackers from scratch just to make a pie crust.

My solution?  Adapt my favorite tart shell crust by adding some amaranth flour, honey and cinnamon.  You end up with a crunchy, sturdy and graham-tasting crust that holds up perfectly- even the first slice came out perfectly clean.


Ina Garten's Gluten-Free Frozen Key Lime Pie


* 1/4 cup superfine rice flour, plus extra for dusting pan
* 1/4 cup sorghum flour
* 1/4 cup potato starch
* 1/4 cup amaranth flour (I just grind amaranth seeds in my coffee grinder or Vitamix)
* 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
* 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3 Tablespoons sugar
* 1 Tablespoon honey
* 5 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

Pie Filling:
* 6 extra large egg yolks (or 7 large egg yolks), at room temperature
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
* 3/4 cup key lime juice
* 3 Tablespoons key lime zest

* 1 cup cold whipping or heavy cream
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
* thin slices of key lime, for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray and dust generously with rice flour.

In a large bowl combine the rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, amaranth flour, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and sugar and stir to mix. Add the honey and butter and use a pastry cutter to blend until the mixture is crumbly. Press into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie pan. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the crust begins to turn golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl beat the eggs and sugar using an electric mixer on high speed for at least five minutes... it should be nice and thick. While the mixer is on, pour in the condensed milk, key lime juice and key lime zest. Pour into the cooled pie shell. Freeze for at least an hour.

Prepare the topping by beating the whipping or heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat until firm. Either spread the topping on using a spoon or silicone splatula, or pipe the topping on using a pastry bag. Freeze 8 hours or overnight.

Remove from freezer immediately before serving. Top with slices of key lime, if desired.

Note: this recipe uses raw eggs. Please note that there is a small risk of salmonella and other food-borne illness. You can reduce this risk by using fresh, clean and properly refrigerated eggs.

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa with Extra Tips from Steph Modo

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7 Responses to “The Barefoot Contessa’s Frozen Key Lime Pie, Gluten-Free”

  1. #
    Mom — June 11, 2012 at 1:17 am

    This looks delicious! It's on my list of “make while you're home recipes” the next time you make it back East! I'll make sure we have all the ingredients!!


    • CATE — June 11th, 2012 @ 1:48 am

      Okey-dokey :) And there's another recipe coming up later in the week that I think might the list as well!


  2. #
    Michelle — June 11, 2012 at 2:15 am

    I'm going to have to try that crust! Sounds yummy!!! :)

    Michelle @ The Gluten Free Wife


    • CATE — June 11th, 2012 @ 3:17 am

      Thanks Michelle! Next time I might play around with the amount of honey (and reduce some of the sugar), but it turned out really well. And if you're looking for a chocolate pie crust, I've got one I'll be posting later this week or next :)


  3. #
    Nessie — June 11, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Gah your pictures are gorgeous!! So colorful and whimsical! Love love love. Limes are super expensive over here in NZ but I reckon I'd splash out for a trusty old Ina recipe. Thanks for the yummy gluten-free crust recipe too! Do you reckon you could make the pastry ahead of time and freeze and then defrost before using? :)


    • CATE — June 11th, 2012 @ 7:40 am

      Thank you thank you! I've actually never been very good about making pie crusts ahead of time (probably because of a general lack of freezer space!). But this one is nice and sturdy so I think it would freeze really well after pre-baking. And you wouldn't even have to defrost it since you're making a frozen pie :)

      I think the general rule of thumb is to wrap with plastic wrap and then a layer or two of foil.


  4. #
    thyme (Sarah) — June 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I have been craving key lime pie. For Father's Day, I have been going back and forth between that dessert and blackberry cobbler! Your pie looks so luscious and delicious. There is always Fourth of July…two desserts to be made!


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