Happy National Pie Day everyone! It's pretty rare that I'm aware of these food holidays and actually have something relevant to post, but luck was on my side this time. I saw a tweet from King Arthur Flour yesterday alerting me that January 23 was National Pie Day and coincidentally I'd already made this lemon icebox pie earlier in the week!
About a month ago, Jessica of A Singleton in the Kitchen hosted a giveaway on her blog for the book DamGoodSweet and I won! The book is a wonderful collection of traditional New Orleans desserts like beignets, bread pudding and king cake and is filled with beautiful color photographs. It's probably not a book that would have crossed my radar if not for Jessica's giveaway but now that I've had an opportunity to flip through and try one of the recipes, it's one I'm very excited to have in my collection. So, thanks Jessica!
Jessica owns a copy of DamGoodSweet too so we decided to bake something together this week and she suggested I pick the recipe. I wanted to go with something simple and this pie is the first thing that jumped out at me. It didn't require any special tools and the ingredient list was fairly short. Plus, it uses lemons which are a bit of an obsession for me currently. I love their bright yellow color and wonderfully fragrant scent. I actually used a combination of regular lemons and Meyer lemons to make this pie and scaled the recipe down to make just 1/4 since I was the only one eating it. One quarter of the recipe yielded enough filling for a 4.5" springform as well as a bit extra which I used to fill a mini tart pan. The only tricky part of the recipe was determining when the pie was done since I made a mini and couldn't rely on the time provided in the recipe. Jessica and I took ours out when the color had darkened, the filling looked set and some bubbles rose to the top - about 16-18 minutes for me.
And the verdict? Dangerously good! I loved the combination of the slightly tart filling with the sweet buttery crust. I had a bite of the filling only mini tart I'd made and I didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much - it was a bit one note - so don't skip the crust. I made whipped cream to top my pie but it really wasn't necessary. The pie is plenty rich and delicious on its own!
Lemon Icebox Pie
from DamGoodSweet by David Guas, Raquel Pelzel
14 whole graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted but not cooled completely
2 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
8 large egg yolks
Preheat oven to 325 F.
To Make the Crust: Place the graham crackers, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the graham crackers are fine, but not powdery, about 8 times. Pour in the butter and pulse until the mixture is no longer crumbly & holds its shape when you squeeze it, about 12 quick pulses. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and use your fingers (or the bottom of a measuring cup) to press the crust into the bottom and two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
To Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the condensed milk with the lemon juice. In another medium bowl, whisk the lemon zest with the egg yolks until pale, about 30 to 60 seconds. Add the lemon juice/condensed milk mixture to the egg yolks and whisk to combine.
Pour the filling into the crust and bake until center jiggles slightly (like a soft-setting custard), about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and move to a cooling rack to cool for at least an hour. Cover the springform pan with plastic wrap loosely (don't let the plastic wrap touch the top of the pie) and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.
To serve, wrap a warm towel around the edges of the springform pan to release the pie a bit. Open the collar and remove the pie. The pie will slice more easily if you use a knife dipped in a glass of hot water. The pie can be kept in the freezer for up to 1 week.