Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lemon Icebox Pie # 28

The other day, someone was asking me about the beloved Frozen Key Lime Pie recipe--that I already posted on this blog--and was questioning the Barefoot Contessa's method of using uncooked egg yolks in this pie.

It's not that I hadn't thought of the potential sickness associated with raw eggs, it's just that despite their bad press, I trust the Barefoot Contessa to almost all ends. However, if you don't blindly follow her practices, fear no more! I have ANOTHER winning icebox pie for you: Lemon [Amazing] Icebox Pie.

Icebox: It's the fancy word for freezer.

Okay, I realize their similarities. Lemons and limes, familiar ingredients, graham cracker crusts...yes, yes, yes. But still, I withhold that they have their differences. And while I wasn't making this pie to stir up competition for the other, I will say that (if memory serves me correctly) this lemon pie is even smoother than the lime and maybe a bit denser too. I might even go so far as to say I love them equally, though I'll have to do a side by side taste test one day to be sure. Either way, it was perfect for a muggy, hot, New York day. I couldn't stop eating it.

One thing, let me warn you now, the filling is ample--in fact, if you're making it in a pie pan (instead of a springform pan, which the recipe calls for) you will have enough left over for a small, 4 or 5-inch pie, which can be a blessing in disguise: one for you to eat and a little one to share with a friend.

So, if you love creamy, delicious lemons; graham crackers; and fancy iceboxes, this is for you. 

Lemon Icebox Pie
(adapted from
For crust:
1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers (about 14 whole crackers, or see graham cracker recipe here) 
1/4 cup sugar 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm 

For filling:
2 (14-ounce) cans condensed milk
1 1/4 cups strained lemon juice (from the 2 zested lemons below plus an additional 4–6)
Zest of 2 lemons
8 large egg yolks 

For chantilly cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Heat the oven to 325°F. Break the graham crackers into small pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor along with the sugar and salt. Pulse 8 times, until the cracker crumbs are semi-fine (they shouldn't be powdery but not in large shards either) and the crackers and sugar are combined. Pour in the butter and pulse until the butter is blended in and the mixture isn't crumbly and holds its shape when you squeeze it, about twelve 1-second pulses. Transfer the crust to a 9-inch springform pan and push and press the crumb mixture into the bottom and two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crust into place. Set aside.

For filling--whisk the condensed milk with the lemon juice and set aside. Whisk the zest with the egg yolks in a medium bowl until pale, 30 to 60 seconds, and then whisk in the lemon juice-condensed milk mixture.

Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet, pour the mixture into the crust, and carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake until the center jiggles slightly, like a soft-setting custard, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 1 hour on a cooling rack. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap (be careful not to let the plastic wrap touch the top of the pie) and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.

For chantilly cream--pour the heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer). Add the vanilla and sift in the confectioners' sugar. Whip on low speed to combine and then increase the speed to medium-high and whip until medium-stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Before serving, wrap a wet, warm kitchen towel around the edges of the springform pan to release the pie from the pan's sides. Unclasp the pan and remove the pie. Fill a pitcher with hot water, dunk your knife in, wipe off the blade, and slice. Top with a dollop of chantilly cream and serve immediately, or keep in the freezer for up to 1 week.

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