LEMON ICEBOX PIE
New Orleans Seafood Cookbook
by Ralph Brennan
The pluses of this pie—aside from its luscious flavor—are the simplicity of it and the little time it takes to prepare. It's especially good served with a few fresh berries, such as strawberries or blueberries that have been left unsweetened.
For one 9-inch pie or 8 servings
• Key lime juice can be substituted for the lemon juice.
• Refrigerating the pie overnight improves both the flavors and textures.
• You may want to top the pie slices with dollops of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
FOR THE CRUST
• 1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs
• 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
2. Combine the graham-cracker crumbs, brown sugar and butter in a medium-size mixing bowl, stirring them together until well blended.
3. Press the mixture evenly and firmly onto the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan, shaping it into a crust with your fingers and pressing the crumbs down.
4. Place another 9-inch pie pan or use the bottom of a rounded mixing bowl on top of the crust and press down to tighten the crumbs and firm up the crust.
5. Bake for five minutes.
6. Set the crust aside at room temperature, with the oven temperature remaining at 300°.
FOR THE FILLING
• 5 yolks from large eggs
• 2 cups sweetened condensed milk, from two 14-ounce cans
• 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
• 1 1/2 tablespoons very finely grated lemon zest
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat together the egg yolks and condensed milk with a metal whisk, blending until smooth.
2. Whisk in the lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla.
3. Pour the filling into the prepared graham-cracker crust and bake the pie in the 300° oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the center of the filling is set. The pie is done when only a little of the filling sticks to your fingertip when you lightly touch the pie in the center, but the surface where touched looks noticeably dryer than the filling underneath. You can also very gently shake the pie to tell if it is set.
4. Remove the pie from the oven and place it on a wire rack to let it cool at room temperature. After it has cooled, refrigerate it for at least four hours, preferably overnight, until it is very cold. While the pie is chilling it should be well covered so it doesn't absorb any refrigerator odors.
Serving Suggestion: Wrapped leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for up to one week.