Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lemon Icebox Pie

My dad is a huge fan of tart lemons. Every year for his birthday, my mom bakes him a tart lemon meringue pie.  The tarter, the better.  This year we celebrated his birthday while we were all together in Kansas City for the Jiggle Jam, and I decided to make a Lemon Icebox Pie instead.  As long as it was tart, I knew it would be okay.  So I scoured the internet trying to find the pie with the biggest quantity of lemon and the highest ratings by tasters, and I found a definite keeper!

The recipe I found is adapted from a restaurant in New Orleans named Clancy's and the reviews said things like "refreshingly tart", "it was VERY tart", and "the best lemon icebox pie I've every had".  Ah-ha, I thought!  This particular recipe had quite a bit more lemon juice and lemon zest than the others, so I figured it would work.

I must preface the recipe by telling you that if you like lemon icebox pie, you need to try this recipe!  It is super easy and really delicious!  Are you ready to see a super easy lemon pie recipe?

Here we go!

You start by making a graham cracker crust.  I think this recipe would also be quite tasty with vanilla wafers or (hold on this is getting crazy) a lemon cookie crust!  Maybe something to try for another time.  Anyway, I stuck to the recipe and did graham crackers for this pie.

Crush graham crackers and sugar in a food processor until ground but not powder.  I was at my sister's house and she does not have a food processor, so I used this chopper thing you see (which I actually gave her!) and crushed the graham crackers in a couple of stages and then put them in the yellow bowl.  You are supposed to mix melted butter into the crumbs while in the food processor, but I just mixed it all together in a bowl once the crackers were all ground.  I can't imagine that the butter needs to be in the food processor to get it right.  Also, the recipe calls for unsalted butter and a bit of salt but my sister was out of unsalted butter so I used salted butter and omitted the salt.  Sometimes you have to improvise!

Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch springform pan, across the bottom and about 2/3 of the way up the sides.

Now it is time to get juicing those lemons!  You need 1 1/4 cups lemons and 2 TB zest.  By the way, I found this same recipe elsewhere and it called for the zest of 2 lemons which in this case would be even tarter!  I'll do that next time!  I juiced all 6 lemons and BARELY had 1 1/4 cups.  You never know how juicy a citrus fruit will be!

Beat the lemon zest with the egg yolks until pale.

In another bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the sweetened condensed milk, and then beat that into the zest/yolk mixture.  Guess what?  You are pretty much done with this pie!

Just pour it into your beautiful graham cracker crust and pop it into the oven at 325F for 35-40 minutes.  The recipe actually says 25 minutes but the reviews agreed that it took longer and I found that to be true.  The center should jiggle a little and the edges should be set.

Allow it to cool on your counter for about an hour, and then stick it in the freezer for at least 6 hours.  This is the hardest part!  WAITING!!

When the six hours are FINALLY up, take it out of the freezer and wrap a damp tea towel around the side of the springform pan to release the pie.  Then remove the ring.  Use a hot knife to slice the pie.  I just kept rinsing the knife in hot water and drying it off.  I cut big slices but really the slices should be smaller.  It is pretty rich but SO delicious.

I made some whipped cream to go with it, but don't look at it!  I was doing about a zillion other things while holding the mixer to whip the cream so it got over whipped a bit.  Just pretend that it is a beautiful creamy consistency, okay?

Happy Birthday, Dad!  His verdict?  He loved it!  He told me several times how much he liked this pie.  Personally, though I do love a lemon meringue pie, I think I'd choose this one first in the future!  It is excellent!

Lemon Icebox Pie
adapted from Clancy's

14 whole graham crackers, broken
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
6 TB unsalted butter, melted
2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
2 TB finely grated lemon zest (OR use zest from 2 lemons, depending on taste)
8 large egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 325F.
In a food processor, pulse graham crackers with the sugar until finely ground but not powder.  Add the butter and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan and press into the bottom and 2/3 up the side.  Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, whisk the condensed milk with the lemon juice.  In another bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the lemon zest with the egg yolks until pale.  Add the condensed milk mixture and beat until smooth.  Pour the filling into the crust.

Bake the pie for 35-40 minutes, until the center jiggles slightly and the edges are set.  Transfer the pan to a rack and allow to cool for 1 hour.  Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Wrap a warm, damp tea towel around the side of the springform pan to release the pie.  Remove the ring.  Using a hot knife, slice the pie, transfer to a plate and serve!
Printable Recipe


  1. This sounds like a great recipe!! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Thanks for visiting! Give this one a try! It's great!


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