Lemon pie, key lime pie, icebox pie, lemon meringue pie; there are so many variations of this pie and I love each and every one of them. Apologies to all you chocoholics but a citrus pie is hands down my favorite dessert and I usually find it very hard to pass-up. The tartness of fresh lemon or lime juice paired with the creamy filling and sweet, cookie crust make this a winning pie and, in my house, a family favorite. Not only is it delicious but it is super easy to make. The filling has only three ingredients (egg yolks, lemon/lime juice and sweetened condensed milk) and the refrigerator does most of the work. I had a bunch of limes that needed to be used in something and while I could have made a big batch of margaritas (which I would have had to drink by myself) I opted for this Lime Icebox Pie. If I had lots of lemons, it would have been a Lemon Icebox Pie!
I first had Lemon Icebox pie at The Bright Star restaurant in Bessemer, Alabama while I was traveling between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa (home of the University of Alabama). The restaurant is a landmark and the Greek style seafood and steaks were a favorite of legendary football coach Bear Bryant. My pie is a slight variation of the one that is on the menu. People were so crazy for the pie they frequently ordered full pies to take home so I knew it was a good before I even tasted it. It did not disappoint.
I like to make my own crust with graham crackers and butter but you can certainly buy pre-made to simplify this even further. In full disclosure, when I went to make the crust, I didn’t have any graham cracker crumbs. My solution was a cereal that is always in our house – Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Same flavor profile and when I calculated the sugar amount, it was actually lower per gram than the sugar I would have used. I put a bunch of cereal in the food processor and pulsed it till I had crumbs. If I put it in front of you along side plain graham crackers, I guarantee you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. And the taste? Delicious! I might just go with Cinnamon Toast Crunch moving forward and skip the graham crackers.
This pie is super easy to make but you do need to plan ahead. It really should set-up in the refrigerator overnight but if you don’t have that much time, at least four hours. This makes one large pie or five smaller ones. You can use a tart pan as well.
2 ½ cups Graham cracker crumbs or Cinnamon Toast Crunch crumbs (if you use cereal, omit the sugar)
3 tbs Sugar
7 tbs Butter, melted and cooled
2 14oz cans Sweetened Condensed Milk, chilled
4 Egg yolks
1 ½ cups Lime juice (or lemon juice), freshly squeezed
Pre-heat your oven to 300.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs/cereal crumbs with the butter and press into a pie tin or tart pan. I put the crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set it.
In a bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. Once combined, whisk in the lime (or lemon) juice till smooth.
Fill the pie(s) and place in the oven for about 10 minutes till the edges are firm.
Let the pie(s) cool for 15 minutes and then pop them into the refrigerator for at least four hours but preferably overnight.
I serve with fresh whipped cream and a little lime zest grated on top.
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