Birchwood Cafe's Key Lime Pie: 50 Favorite Dishes, no. 14

A tip-top version of a tart and sunny pie at Birchwood Cafe

A tip-top version of a tart and sunny pie at Birchwood Cafe

It may be the official state pie of Florida, but here in Minnesota there is one iconic restaurant that has managed to produce a perfect Key lime pie. It's simultaneously so splendidly sour and subtly sweet that it inspired Izzy's to make a new ice cream flavor based on it, which is pretty incredible in its own right.

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The ingredients in the classic pie are humble and few, but like everything else at the Birchwood the focus is on the high quality of those ingredients. The true success of this slice, though, is all about the ratio. Thick, buttery, crumbly graham cracker crust cradles a layer of tart citrus curd that's about three times as thick as the crust - crucial to an ideal pie experience - and somehow the crust never gets sodden or bland. Although there is some sweetened condensed milk in Birchwood's recipe, the filling isn't overly sugary and is further balanced by the topping of unsweetened, softly whipped cream.

Served smooth and chilled, this dessert is best enjoyed while waiting for the rest of your meal to arrive at your table. Pair it with a cup of Peace Coffee and one of Birchwood's savory waffles and you have a breakfast worthy of waking up for.

No. 24: Mona's marrow on toast
No. 23: Smack Shack's lobster guacamole
No. 18: Parka's ham and pickle tots                                                                                                     No. 17: Blue Door Longfellow's baked and loaded blucy
No. 16: Ipotli's spicy dosa                                                                                                                       No. 15: Grand Szechuan's Chengdu dumplings