I must start out by saying, I am kind of weird about citrus pies– I don’t like meringue; I want it reeeeally cold (like those frozen Edward’s Key Lime pies? Yeah, I eat those frozen.); and I want them TART. My first job ever was for a guy that made his own Italian Ice and Gelato, and if I learned anything from him, its that cold dulls flavor. If you’re going to be eating it frozen, you need to amp up that lemon flavor. So, being exceedingly picky about what I want, I made several different recipes of lemon icebox pie. My end result was borne out of pulling the things I liked from each of them, and I have made my own version of the ‘perfect’ lemon icebox pie. It lives up to what *I* expect out of a lemon pie, but the true endorsement came in the form of my 7 year old friend, Miss Kaitlyn. I had given my recipe to her mother, Amber, and she made many of them for a special early summer event. As we sat down with a big slice each, Kaitlyn took a big mouthful and said, “My mom makes the BEST lemon icebox pie!”
Oh, and one reason why I love this recipe, it makes TWO pies! Yay! Perfect for a backyard party!
Lemon Icebox Pie
2 standard-sized premade Graham Cracker Crusts
2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz) can frozen condensed lemonade, thawed some
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
hefty pinch of kosher salt
*Prep your pie pans by removing the paper center circle and the globs of glue holding those on, and remove plastic formfitted piece– you’re going to flip this and use it as the lid to your pie.
*With a hand mixer, completely combine both packages of softened cream cheese with the can of condensed milk until smooth. I’m sure a physicist could explain why the addition of the citrus makes it impossible to get it smooth… point is, I’ve tried to take the quick route and dump all the ingredients in at the same time, and it seemed like no matter how long I mixed, smooth consistency did not happen. Get it smooth here.
*Wash your lemon, zest the outside, and then cut and squeeze all juice, making sure to remove all seeds. Add your pinch of salt, your can of lemonade (this does not have to be completely thawed), and your lemon to the creamy mixture, and mix until combined and smooth. Divide filling equally between the two pie shells, top with an inverted ‘lid’, re-crimp some of your edge, and pop in the freezer for at least 5 hours, overnight is better. If you are worried about other flavors from your freezer, you can wrap the pies in plastic wrap before putting them in the freezer, but I find the lids to be enough.
*To serve, top with the creamy topping of your choice (because we don’t eat cool-whip, I make my own whipped cream, recipe follows, but Reddi-Whip would be an easy alternative). I also find macerated berries to be a really nice touch– just slice some strawberries and toss with a few tablespoons of sugar and a squirt of lemon juice, and allow those to sit for a little while and form their own syrup. I have yet to try it with raspberries, but I think that sounds awesome too!
1 pint carton of Whipping Cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
*I chill my food processor bowl and blade for this process. It is REALLY EASY to make whipped cream with a food processor, just stream in your cream and process until it starts to set up. Scrape sides of bowl, add sugar and vanilla, and process until you feel the texture is perfect. Over processing will make funny vanilla butter, so be sure to keep an eye on it!
Lemme know what you think! I hope it adds to your summertime fun!