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Amazing Pie Recipe calls for uncooked eggs, how safe is this?

I found a great "Frozen Key Lime Pie" Recipe, just made it last night according to all directions. First off, the recipe called for 6 egg yolks at "room temperature"-- I had them out for about an hour without cracking them, then got nervous and put them back in the fridge until I was ready to use them. While beating the eggs and sugar I felt very uncomfortable knowing that in the end the pie would be assembled (without having cooked the eggs) and then becoming frozen after about 10 hours in the freezer.

It looks great but I'm afraid to even taste it. After reading other no-bake pie recipes it didn't seem to matter much. Other recipes such as frosting with uncooked egg whites are something that I never considered due to the salmonella risk.

Should I throw this one away and start over? Would it change the texture of the pie if I were to bake the pie for 15 minutes on 325-350 and then freeze for 8-10 hours? Would I need to let the pie completely cool before freezing? I know that certain recipes are tricky and I'd like to make sure I get it right.

I appreciate any advice:) and tips

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  1. From what i understand, the acid from the lime cooks the eggs. Kind of Like ceviche where the citrus cooks the fish.

    11 Replies
      1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

        Perhaps, but "cooking" the egg in that fashion is not necessarily the same as killing pathogens with heat. Here's a link to a recipe that claims to sterilize egg yolks:

        http://www.recipething.com/recipes/sh...

        1. re: GH1618

          So killing pathogens with acid is not the same as killing them with heat? really? Then, I am surprised any one in the world eats mayonnaise.

          1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

            The acid cannot be relied on to kill salmonella. Most people use commercial mayonnaise most of the time. This is made with pasteurized eggs, contains sufficient salt and vinegar to retard growth of bacteria, and is regularly tested.

            1. re: GH1618

              "The acid cannot be relied on to kill salmonella. Most people use commercial mayonnaise most of the time. This is made with pasteurized eggs, contains sufficient salt and vinegar to retard growth of bacteria, and is regularly tested."

              Ok, but what about the people who do make and consume homemade mayo and are fine? And the restaurants that make their own?

              1. re: ttoommyy

                Most eggs do not contain salmonella, and a healthy person can tolerate a little salmonella with little ill effect.

                It is a logical fallacy to generalize from the fact that most people do not get sick from eggs most of the time, to a conclusion that there is no health hazard from raw eggs. Obviously most people do not get sick, otherwise we we all would be eating our eggs hard. But some people do get sick from salmonellosis, up to about one million per year in the US according to one of documents I linked, and a few die from it. The risk is small, but people should no the risk and act accordingly, not just pretend there is none. If you want to eat raw eggs knowing the risk, that's fine. If you want to sterilize your eggs first, at least use a method that works. The recipe I posted which uses a microwave has been tested by microbiologists.

                1. re: GH1618

                  I like your concise reply, pretty much hitting on most bases.

                  But I worry that without perspective, some of your numbers may cause hysteria (Actually, I'm not very worried, I just want to debate the subject somewhat...).

                  Below, Steve thinks 1 in 10 000 is HIGH risk.

                  Now, people will read 1 MILLION cases of salmonella poisoning in the US.

                  OK, 1 million out of a population of 300 million is 1 in 300. Now theres some good odds, better than 1 in 10 000 (or 33 times greater chance)!

                  Its a godamned crisis...no! an EPIDEMIC of GRAND proportions! MY GOD, 1 MILLION!? We need Defcon4 and a serious lockdown - honey, throw out ALL our eggs!

                  However, we are talking specifically about eggs, yet salmonella poisoning can come from almost any source. Does anyone have stats on how the poisoning is broken down (how many from eggs, from beef/pork/chicken/vegetables, etc etc)? Anything to put the whole subject in perspective to allay the OP's fears?

                  Me, I'd be more worried about eating at a fast food place than eating a raw egg at home. Does this stop me from eating out? No, because the risk is still low. And like you say, If you want to eat raw eggs knowing the risk, thats fine.

                  1. re: porker

                    Just to get the numbers more in sync: the 1 in 300 statistic is "people per year." If each of them eats 33 eggs a year (and that sounds low to me), then the actual incidence was 1 in 10,000 eggs. Given your point about other sources, and assuming more eggs per person per year, the "1 in 20,000 eggs" mentioned below looks more in sync with 1M cases per year.

                    1. re: sweethooch

                      The 1M cases per year is from all sources.

                    2. re: porker

                      I don't have stats in front of me, but if I recall correctly most cases are from chicken and cross-contamination with things like greens that typically don't get cooked. That's from factory cross-contamination, not necessarily home cooking (although there's probably a bit of that too).

          2. the traditional recipe for Key Lime pie has always contained uncooked egg yolks, and it's still made and eaten across the state. In 25 years of living there, I don't recall having ever read about even 1 case of foodborne illness linked to Key Lime pie.

            (if you put meringue on it, you bake it for a few minutes, but not enough to cook the filling)

            1. How about Pumpkin Chiffon Pie? The yolks are put into a mixture which gets heated over boiling water, but I'm not sure how hot the mixture really gets. The whites are folded in later and do not get cooked at all.

              1. "First off, the recipe called for 6 egg yolks at "room temperature"-- I had them out for about an hour without cracking them, then got nervous and put them back in the fridge until I was ready to use them."

                Many countries (take Australia for example) do not refrigerate their eggs at all. They can be found in a regular aisle at the grocery store and on the counter in people's homes. Leaving an egg out for an hour or two is perfectly fine; I do it all the time.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ttoommyy

                  You are right. Eggs can be stored at room temp. Keep in mind that for every 24 hrs. at room temp the eggs age 1 week. So if you have purchased eggs to make deviled eggs or just hard cooked. Leave them out for a few days. It will make peeling them much easier.

                  1. re: Candy

                    I posted this above, but worth repeating (I think):

                    Refrigeration is an American thing, but please note that American producers also wash off a natural protective coating that other countries leave on. So it's a fundamentally different item that they are not refrigerating. In the US, I would advise keeping the eggs in the fridge (not that I see any problem with a few hours on the counter)..

                    That said, I also eat homemade mayo and raw cookie dough and other raw egg items (from a normal supermarket) with no concern or problems. The risk is low.

                2. A Christmas favorite in our family is Rum Cream Pie, which my great-aunt always makes. This year, I asked her if I could help her make them, so I could learn her secrets. A dozen raw egg yolks for three pies! From memory, the ingredients are egg yolks, sugar, heavy cream, gelatin, rum - nothing that would "cook" the egg yolks. The ingredients get combined, the filling is poured into pie crusts, and the pies are frozen. No cooking whatsoever. We've been eating them as long as I can remember, and no one has ever gotten sick. Can it happen? Sure, any food can spoil. And I might not feed it to anyone whose health is iffy. But you can believe that we will have Rum Cream Pies at Christmas as long as I live!