The History of Key Lime Pie – From the Bay to the Boardwalk

Image of keylime pie

No one knows for sure where key lime pie came from, but there’s no doubt that the tart, sweet dessert has a long and varied history. In this blog post, we will explore the origins of key lime pie, from the Bay to the Boardwalk. We will also provide recipes for key lime pie from all over the world. So jump into the history of key lime pie with us, and let’s explore the delicious Tart Tastes of Tomorrow!

The history of key lime pie

Florida state representative Bernie Papy introduces the first key lime pie recipe to the Florida Legislature in 1958. The legislator from Key West, who was visiting Tallahassee that year, fell in love with the dessert and convinced state representative Bernie Papy to include a recipe for key lime pie in his legislative packet. Bernie popularized this particular key lime pie recipe, which is now known as “Bernie’s Key Lime Pie.”

Key lime pie is a dessert that is loved by all, and for good reason. Today, you can find key lime pies all over the country, even on boardwalks! The story of the first key lime pie begins in the Bay Area, where it is believed to have originated from. Theisman’s Bakery, which popularized key lime pie when they created it in the 19th century, is the most likely source of the recipe. The bakery closed its doors in the late 19th century but the recipe was passed down to a family member and eventually published online by Serious Eats in 2010. Regardless of the location, key lime pie is an iconic dessert that everyone should try at least once. Enjoy!

The history of this magic lemon cream pie begins with the cultivation and harvesting of limes in the Bay Area. The fruit is picked when it is bright, tangy, and fragrant. After being cleaned, the limes are boiled until they become thick and pulpy. This mixture is then spread into a greased pie dish or tart pan, where it sets (usually takes between two hours to four). Once set, whipped cream can be added to lighten up or cover any pudding-like ingredients that may have been included in the recipe.

New York city takes key lime pie to the next level The popularity of key lime pie spread to New York City, where bake shops began adding their own twists on the dessert. One popular variation is called a “lady’s tart” because it features ladyfingers as the pie crust instead of graham crackers. Other unique versions include cream cheese meringue pies and Key Lime Pie Popsicles!

David Sloan Wilson, an American biologist, and evolutionary theorist has written: “There is no mistaking the flavor of key lime pie. It is distinctly tart and tangy, with a faintly sweet aftertaste. The taste may be slightly artificial to some people because of the addition of sugar and canned fruit (usually pineapple) but in my opinion, this combination makes for one heck of a memorable dessert.”

The key lime pie was first published in the 1800s by Maria Parloa. The recipe calls for an entire can of sweetened condensed milk and three-quarters of a cup of dark brown sugar. In 1950, Betty Crocker’s cookbook included a simple version that used one package (21/2 ounces) of softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup of tart lime juice, and 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour instead of eggs. Egg yolks provide structure and richness, while vanilla extract adds a touch of fragrance and flavor.

Recipes for key lime pie from all over the world

There are many recipes for key lime pie out there, and each one is unique in its own way. Some of our favorites include the Key Lime Pineapple Pie from The Recipe Critic, the Classic Key Lime Pie from The Kitchn, and the easy Double Cream Polka Dot Coffee Cake with a Key Lime Glaze from Failed Bakers Everywhere (which we love!). Whether you’re looking for a sweet or tart option, there’s sure to be a recipe that suits your taste bud!

The key lime pie is one of the iconic American desserts that is loved by all. Whether you’re a fan of the tart, sweet, or somewhere in between, key lime pie is sure to hit the spot. 

Key lime festival in Florida, United States

The Citrus Bowl is an annual key lime festival held in Orlando, Florida. The event features a parade and various entertainment events, most notably the Miss Key Lime Pie Pageant which has been held annually since 1977.


Did you know that key lime pie is one of the most popular desserts in the world? From the Bay to the Boardwalk, key lime pie has been enjoyed by everyone! In this blog, we have covered the history of key lime pie, as well as some of the most popular recipes from all over the world. We hope you have enjoyed reading and that you will try out one of the recipes for yourself soon!

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