Lemon Ice Box Pie
The ruggedly beautiful kind of crust
If you have a sweet tooth like whoa and you also love citrusy stuff, look no further!
This pie is pretty easy and straightforward, so I won't bother with much of a preamble. It's very sweet (condensed milk makes up the bulk of the filling) and very lemony (over a cup of juice!); both aspects tame, yet also lift, the other. It's creamy and luscious, dense but light. I tried it out because I was going to visit friends for dinner and reaaaaaaaally wanted to try something new. The reactions I got convinced me it was an absolute keeper.
That was it, now on to the recipe!
Lemon Ice Box Pie
Adapted from Pip & Ebby
Ingredients for crust:
- 15-16 digestive cookies (original recipe calls for 14 graham cookies, which we don't have here, so I defaulted to my mom's choice of cookies for cheesecake bases which are digestives. 14 wasn't quuuiiiteee enough)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 95g butter (original recipe calls for 6 tbsp, which if in US tbsp would be about 85g. I increased it a little because I used more cookies)
Ingredients for filling:
- 2 397g (14oz) cans of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (4-6 lemons, depending on how large they are and how much juice they give)
- yolks from 8 large eggs
- finely grated zest from 2 lemons (original recipe says 2 tbsp but I like to zest directly into the bowl so I guesstimate)
1) Preheat oven to 160C (325F).
2) To make crust, roughly break the cookies into a food processor, and add the sugar and salt. Pulse until the cookies have crumbled but not until they are powdery. Add the butter and pulse till evenly moistened.
3) Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform with parchment paper, and grease the paper and the sides of the pan. Gently press the crust mixture over the base, and two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan. It'll be crumbly, but with some patience and gentleness it'll come together.
4) To make the filling, first zest two lemons into a small mixing bowl, and add the yolks of 8 large eggs. Beat with a mixer until it lightens to a paler yellow.
5) In a larger bowl, whisk together the 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk and the 1 1/4 cups of lemon juice. It'll take a little bit for the two to combine, but just keep at it. I usually start by 'cutting' the whisk through the bowl a bunch of times until the condensed milk and lemon juice start to come together, and then I can just start stirring.
[Note: To get the most juice out of your lemons, make sure you pick fruit that feel heavy for their size. I also microwave the lemons for about 15-20 seconds, until they're just warm, and roll them hard on the counter to loosen up the juice. If like me, you don't have a citrus juicer, just hold the lemon half in one hand, and stick a fork into the centre of it with the other. When you squeeze the lemon half you're basically crushing it against the fork. Once a lot of juice has come out, I start rotating the end of the fork up and down to smash the inside of the lemon everywhere, and generally the lemon halves look really dry and fully drained by the time I'm done with them.]
6) Gradually add the egg yolk mixture into the condensed milk mixture, stirring as you go. Put the springform pan onto a flat baking pan that has raised sides. Gently pour into the crust so that bits of the crust don't come loose and get into the filling.
[Note: It's VERY important to put the springform in another pan, because it will leak a clear liquid and you don't want that dripping onto the bottom of your oven!]
7) Bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges look set on top but the centre still wiggles. My oven runs hot but I still had to bake this for 40 minutes before the edges set, so you may have to adjust the time it's in the oven.
8) Cool on a rack for an hour, then wrap loosely in saran wrap/cling wrap/gladwrap and chill in the freezer overnight. I tried just refrigerating it, but the filling was too soft and gooey to serve properly. You can, but it's messy.
9) To serve, remove the wrap and warm the base with a hot towel/cloth. Release the crust from the sides of the pan with a knife around the edges, and release the springform. Cut the pie with a knife that's been run under hot water, plate up, and enjoy!
Mmmm... ooey gooey goodness!