The Crucial Step You're Missing For Ultra Creamy Key Lime Pie

When it comes to whipping up the perfect key lime pie filling, there may be one extra step you can take to elevate the dessert even more. The mixture is typically made from egg whites, lime juice, and condensed milk, and while many recipes might encourage you to add the finished filling directly into your pie crust, one chef actually recommends holding off for a while.

Pastry chef Sebastien Thieffine told Food & Wine that he prefers to allow the pie filling to rest overnight in the fridge. "Sometimes you can incorporate air, and you want it to dissipate," he said. While Thieffine says it's best to make the filling the day before you serve the pie, you can also allow the filling to rest for at least three hours to get a little bit of the extra air out.

The additional resting time allows the extra air to escape from the filling, making for a denser, creamier dessert. Once your key lime pie filling has chilled for a while, you can add it to the pie crust — which is often made from sweet, ground-up graham crackers.

Floridians love the sweet, citrus pie

When it comes to whipping up the pie, the chef certainly knows what he's talking about. Sebastien Thieffine is the executive pastry chef for Naples, Florida's Ritz-Carlton hotel, and serves up "thousands" of key lime pie slices every week to diners. The hotel even sells its desserts to other local restaurants that don't make their own.

While the light, refreshing pie may be a popular summertime dessert all across the U.S., Florida has a particular proclivity for the pie. Back in 2006, Florida even designated the dessert the official state pie.

Florida grows plenty of citrus fruits, including the limes required to make the treat. Key limes are a smaller, sweeter variety of the fruit, often grown in the Florida Keys (which is where the citrus gets its name from). The fruits play a prominent role in many Florida and Caribbean dishes, like salsas, chicken dishes, and of course, the key lime pie.

The pie's origin remains a mystery

Despite Florida's enthusiasm over the dessert, it may not be able to hold the full claim to the pie's invention. Southern Living reports that a recipe for the "Magic Lemon Cream Pie" made its debut in New York City in 1931. The dessert used all the ingredients of a key lime pie — just making a different citrus fruit the star of the show. The earliest key lime pie recipe, however, was published in 1949.

When the pie recipe was discovered by Florida bakers, they may have swapped in the state's more accessible fruit as a substitute for the tart lemons, creating the refreshing pie we know and love today. Still, others argue that the key lime pie came first, invented by an "Aunt Sally" as early as the late 1800s. Unfortunately, there has yet to be any actual evidence of Aunt Sally's key lime pie recipe, so the creation remains a mystery.

Although Florida may or may not be able to lay claim to key lime pie's origin story, the dessert is certainly beloved by Florida residents and visitors alike.