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Kalamazoo Dessert Recipe Contest Winner

When the people at MacKenzies’ Café and Bakery decided to run a baking contest, they were hoping to find inspiration buried in the hearts and recipes boxes of Kalamazoo baking enthusiasts. They were not disappointed.

The most exceptional thing about the contest, they discovered, is not the recipes themselves, but the history and sense of nostalgia that accompanied many of the submissions. Whether it was the favorite cookie recipe passed down from a woman’s late father or a recipe that had to be recreated based on observations because the instructions lived only in a dear grandmother’s memory, the fact that so many were willing to share their beloved treats with MacKenzies’ was deeply appreciated.

When the staff of Women’s LifeStyle Magazine was asked to judge between the five final recipes, we figured that, though the job was tough, someone had to do it. With a sense of deep civic honor, we agreed to spend a morning sampling the delicious treats the staff at MacKenzies’ had prepared.

The variety was impressive. Upon taking our seats we were presented with the following five desserts:


All of the sweets we were offered were delicious, and to be frank, we found it hard to choose a winner. THE ITALIAN CREAM CAKE had frosting that wasn’t too sweet, cake that was moist without being dense and had pecans to add texture. THE HUNGARIAN WALNUT STRUDEL had a great balance between the flaky crust and the moist, cinnamon-infused interior. THE ITALIAN COOKIES were slightly chewy with almond undertones and pine nuts on top. THE COFFEE TOFFEE BARS were chewy, with a rich taste that was the perfect blend of coffee and toffee flavors. The recipes were all so good that Mary MacKenzie said people should keep an eye out for many of them in the bakery cases in months to come.

In the end, unable to choose them all, we came to a consensus that Jeanne De Liefde’s “AMAZING KEY LIME PIE WITH COCONUT MACADAMIA CRUST, MANGO MOUSSE AND RASPBERRIES” was our winner. We all agreed that the pie was delicious, refreshing and sweet without being cloying or overwhelming. One of our staff is a native Floridian and she was enthusiastic about this pie, noting that the flavor was authentic and the pairing of the key lime with the mango mousse was perfect. The coconut macadamia crust only added to the feeling that you might find this dessert on the menu at any high-end restaurant in the South.

This pie was a labor of love for Jeanne. She noted, “I went through many experiments before I came up with my version of the perfect key lime pie. I wanted a dessert that would be elegant, delicious and refreshing – and not too difficult to make. In this recipe, the richness and tartness of the key lime filling is perfectly balanced by a light, creamy mango mousse. Raspberries provide bursts of flavor, and the nutty crust adds depth and gives every bite a delicious crunch. This is my “go to” dessert for very special occasions.”

As the winner of the contest, Jeanne De Liefde will receive a year of free desserts from MacKenzies’ Café & Bakery as well as having the honor of seeing her very own creation gracing the menu at the bakery soon. If you find that you simply cannot wait for MacKenzies’ to stock this delicious pie, we’ve included the recipe here so you can give it a try yourself.

Amazing Key Lime Pie with Coconut Macadamia Crust, Mango Mousse & Raspberries
Serves 10

Combine in a bowl:

  • 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • 3-4 T. sugar
  • ½ cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix graham cracker crumbs, coconut, sugar and macadamia nuts. Mix in melted butter and firmly pat into bottom of a 9” or 10” spring form pan; Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Key Lime Filling
Line the sides of the spring form pan (above the graham cracker crust) with a 2” strip of wax paper, using scotch tape to tape the two ends together. Make sure that the tape is on the side facing the pan NOT the pie filling.

Combine in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer on low to medium speed:

  • 7 egg yolks
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup key lime juice
  • 2-3 drops green food coloring (optional – be careful not to use too much!)

Pour on top of prepared crust and place on the 2nd from the top shelf in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until filling bubbles slightly in center.

Remove from oven and cool in refrigerator until completely cooled (1 ½ – 2 hours). Remove from spring form pan and, using a spatula under the crust, carefully slide the pie onto a serving dish. Remove the wax paper from the edge and keep refrigerated while you make the mango mousse.

Mango Mousse

  • 2 ripe mangos
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tsp gelatin
  • 1 ½ cups whipping cream

Peel mango and cut into chunks. Puree in blender along with sugar until completely smooth.

Measure ¾ cup of the mango puree. Store remaining puree in refrigerator to use as garnish.

Put ¼ cup of the mango puree into a small saucepan and stir in the gelatin. Heat over med-low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Just before the puree boils, remove from heat and stir in the remaining mango puree. Cool to room temperature.

Once the mango puree has cooled, whip the cream until peaks form.

Gently fold the mango puree into the whipped cream.* With a spatula, spread the mango mousse evenly on top of the cooled key lime or spoon it into a pastry bag and create a decorative design on top of the key lime filling (as pictured below).

Decorate with fresh raspberries and chill in the refrigerator for several hours, or until set (approx. 2 hours).

If you have leftover mango puree, drizzle it on top of the mango mousse as shown (It’s easiest to use a pastry bag to do this). * If desired, you can add a few drops of orange food coloring (or combination of yellow and red) to the mango mousse.

For an even more amazing combination of flavors, serve pie slices with fresh raspberry sauce (recipe below). To serve, place a ladle of chilled raspberry sauce on each plate and top with slice of key lime pie. If you want to go all out, add a small scoop of mango sorbet and decorate with a mint leaf or two!

Raspberry Sauce
1 pint (16 oz.) frozen raspberries with sugar added Puree raspberries (with liquid) in blender until smooth; Strain to remove seeds.

Erica Shier is a married mother of four who loves reading, scrapbooking & thrift stores. When she’s not driving her small pack of children around, she spends her time volunteering, writing & trying to keep on top of the laundry.

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