Monday, August 27, 2012

The Lemon Icebox Pie Mystery

Lemon icebox pie was one of my favorite childhood sweets.  Like key lime pie but with lemons, it's cool and refreshing, tart with just the right amount of sweet.  While perusing one of my new favorite websites, Garden & Gun (think Southern Living, but younger and hipper), I happened upon a feature on the summer treat and knew I just had to make one.

Upon further inspection, however, I realized that the recipe called for baking the pie.  I am certain that my Mamaw did not bake her lemon icebox pie.  Hmm.  Turns out quite a few recipes out there call for baking the whole pie or cooking the filling like custard.  Well, not only did this seem wrong, I wanted the pie that night, so a filling that was at any point in time hot would simply not do.

Then I found Emeril's recipe.  No bake.  Super simple.  The problem?  Cream cheese felt just as inauthentic as baking.  Sigh.

Eventually, I decided Emeril's was the better option, at least for that moment in time.  The result: not exactly how I remember it, but still pretty darn tasty. 

Emeril's Lemon Ice Box Pie

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 prepared graham cracker crust

Combine the cream cheese, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Pour into the pie crust. Refrigerate overnight.

Literate Baker notes: I creamed the cream cheese first so I would have to worry about lumps. Also, it was set enough to slice and enjoy within about two hours.

A measuring cup is good for shaping the crust.

So, I did have a tasty pie.  I still have a bit of a mystery, though.  What's the recipe I remember from my childhood?  I know sweetened condensed milk is the key, along with fresh lemon juice, but I'm not sure what I'm missing.  Do you know?

Keep it sweet.

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1 comment:

  1. I have been on the same quest for years, too, so THANKS for posting this recipe!! LOL
    My mother made an ice box pie that did not have eggs, had no cream cheese, and was not baked, either. I do know it had condensed milk in it because I would always get to lick the can and the spoon!! :-) She made it in a rectangular glass casserole dish and put the filling on a 'crust' of whole vanilla wafers. (She did the same 'crust' for her banana pudding.)
    I'm going to try this recipe next week for the 4th of July, so I'll let you know what I think!! (Ironic that this is Emeril's recipe----I'm a native and resident of New Orleans.)