I Made These Mini Key Lime Pies for Mother's Day, and Everyone Wanted the Recipe

The true sign of a dish’s success.

After being unable to gather for more than a year, Mother's Day 2021 was a very special day for my family. I was thrilled when my aunt asked if my husband and I could bring dessert to the brunch she was hosting for the occasion. I know my grandmother isn't picky and would eat anything I showed up with, but I wanted to really nail this one. I went straight to my parents to see what my grandmother's absolute favorite dessert is and was determined to make it myself, though I'm a novice (at best) baker.

Key lime pie. I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I'd never attempted a creamy citrus dessert—my baking experience didn't really go beyond bunny cakes at Easter, Italian cream cakes at Christmas, and the occasional batch of cookies for friends. It's not that I don't enjoy baking, I simply don't get the opportunity to do it often. And our house of two doesn't need layer cakes or dishes of brownies sitting around—we don't have enough self-control for that. Being assigned dessert for Mother's Day was the perfect opportunity to launch me into my possible future as the family baker.

Of course, I went straight to SouthernLiving.com to find a Key lime pie recipe. I found the recipe for Mini Coconut-Key Lime Pies and knew that's what I'd make. Not only is the presentation of these mini desserts adorable (I couldn't resist them on those pretty china plates!), but personal portions are also more hygienic and easier for the host to serve.

Mini Coconut-Key Lime Pies
Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

I only had to buy a few ingredients that I didn't have in the pantry already. I grabbed a bottle of Southern Living Test Kitchen-recommended Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Juice, since I couldn't find real Key limes, but used regular limes for zest and garnishes.

Our brunch was on Sunday morning, and I'm always wary of serving a first-time recipe to family or friends, so my husband and I made the mini Key lime pies Saturday night. There would still be time to make an emergency run for a Publix Key lime pie replacement if we messed the recipe up.

Luckily, this Mini Coconut-Key Lime Pie Recipe was incredibly easy to follow and so delicious (husband was happy to taste test multiple pies, just in case). We saved the whipped cream and decorating for Sunday morning to ensure they wouldn't get soggy.

I don't have my own piping bag tools, and the zip-top bag trick wasn't producing as photo-worthy results as the Southern Living photo, so we decided to spread the whipped cream across the top of the pies. Then, we sprinkled each pie with a little lime zest and some toasted coconut. Not only did these garnishes add a beautiful touch of texture and color, but they hinted to family what they were getting under the whipped cream.

I brought my prettiest cake plate to showcase our creation and waited for the fateful moment that everyone would try our Mini Coconut-Key Lime Pies. Of course, the opinion that mattered most was my grandmother's, the matriarch and inspiration behind the dessert choice.

Let me tell you—not only did everyone rave over the pies, but they all asked for the recipe, which you know is the true sign of a dish's success. After telling my husband's family a few states away about these Mini Coconut-Key Lime Pies, they have now requested that we make them the next time we visit. This recipe was easy enough for me to look like I know what I'm doing, and I just might get asked to bring dessert to the next holiday.

Get the Recipe: Mini Coconut-Key Lime Pies

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