Baker planning 7-foot pastry

KEY WEST, Florida (AP) -- Georgia baker Kenny Burts doesn't plan on following the traditional recipe for baking his gargantuan key lime pie this week, but the pan he'll be using is certainly authentic to the Florida Keys.

Burts, who sells conventional-sized key lime pies to restaurants, made a 15-hour drive to Key West on Tuesday in order to borrow a seven-foot-wide pastry pan that will hold his mammoth creation.

Burts was to prepare the giant pie in time for Saturday's grand opening of the Market Village, a development in the downtown district of Smyrna, Georgia.

Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon made the request of Burts, a Smyrna native who began making key lime pies in the mid-1980s.

"I knew we could make it, but we just didn't have a pie pan that big," Burts said.

Burts used the Internet to find Karen Horan and Sandy Higgs, residents of Key West who possessed the giant pie pan. Horan and Higgs have prepared huge key lime pies at many events, including one in London for the Queen of England.

Horan and Higgs use juice from 1,080 key limes, 90 cans of sweetened condensed milk, 20 pounds of flour and 25 pounds of sugar in their giant pies. When completed, chefs scamper around the mammoth pastry with a blow torch to brown the meringue.

But Burts' recipe will not have the traditional meringue, said Higgs, who called it "the Georgia version."

"He's using a graham cracker crust and whipped cream topping," Higgs said. "That's not a real Florida Keys key lime pie."

Smyrna is 12 miles northwest of Atlanta.

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. October 27, 2002