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Carla Hall Watermelon Pie

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ingredients
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
2 cups graham crackers (ground)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
WATERMELON CREAM FILLING :
4 1/2 cups strained watermelon juice (divided)
1 packet unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 lime (zested and juiced)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (chilled)
SWISS MERINGUE TOPPING:
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 pinch cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lime (zested, juiced)

directions
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter and salt. Mix to combine. Press evenly into the bottom and up the side of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes until set. Cool completely.
For the Watermelon Cream Filling:
To a medium bowl, add 1/2 cup strained watermelon juice, sprinkle with gelatin and allow to dissolve and bloom, about 2-4 minutes. In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 4 cups of watermelon juice with sugar over medium heat until sugar has dissolved and the liquid has reduced by half. Pour into the bloomed gelatin juice and whisk to combine. Add lime zest and juice and whisk to combine.
Meanwhile, into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or into a large bowl, add the heavy cream. Whip until soft peaks form. Whisk the whipped cream into the watermelon mixture. Pour the mixture into graham cracker crust, smooth the top, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight until set. Top with Swiss meringue and zest of lime.
For the Swiss Meringue:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar. Set the bowl on top of a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk the egg white mixture constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture feels warm, about 3-4 minutes.
Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Add lime juice and vanilla extract during the last 1-2 minutes of whisking and allow to combine.
Tip: Puree your favorite fruits into juice and strain to make a delicious fruit cream pie.

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