© 2021 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

World's Largest Key Lime Pie Travels To Its Northernmost Point

Andy Newman
Florida Keys News Service

  Commuters in Boston’s South Station, coping with temperatures in the 20s and light snow, on Thursday got a taste of the Florida Keys.
The Monroe County Tourist Development Council this week took over the station with ads and promotions for the Florida Keys. On Thursday, they provided samples of the islands’ signature dessert: Key lime pie.

And not just any Key lime pie. This is billed as “the world’s largest Key lime pie.” It’s 9 feet in diameter.

“It really does kind of cement the idea that, 'hey, there’s a warm place right now.' We’re here, freezing,” said David Sloan, one of the pie-makers. “Key lime pie takes you away in your mind. You get that taste, you get that flavor, it’s unlike anything else and you say, ‘God, I feel like I’m in the Florida Keys.'”

Sloan is the author of the Key West Key Lime Pie Cookbook.

“The Key lime pie recipe wasn’t published for a long time because it was so easy,” Sloan said. “But I’ve kind of brought it to modern times. Twenty crust recipes, 20 filling recipes, 20 topping recipes and 20 sauce recipes. And you can mix and match them to make 150,000 varieties of Key lime pie.”

The recipe for the Boston pie does not require baking, because finding an oven to fit the 9-foot pan could be a challenge.

“It has about 55 gallons of sweetened condensed milk. There’s close to 6,000 Key limes that were squeezed just for the juice. There’s enough brown sugar in there to give a pound to each of the 40 Hemingway cats. And we’re expecting to serve about 2,000 people,” Sloan said.

This recipe doesn’t have eggs and uses the “souring method,” Sloan said.

“It’s actually one of the earliest Key lime pie recipes there is. But the thing about the Key limes... the acid in them, it sours the sweetened the condensed milk. That’s what thickens it up,” he said. “Though I’m guessing with the temperatures up there we won’t need much help with the thickening.”

In 2006, Key lime pie was named the official pie of the state of Florida. The world’s largest Key lime pie is assembled during the annual Key Lime Festival in Key West and has been made in Tallahassee. So far Boston is its northernmost traveling point, “but I hear Canada is just dying for a taste,” Sloan said.

And there is one doctrine he also wants to export.

“Key lime pie is so simple to make,” he said. “But you have to use real Key limes.”