Friday, April 13, 2012

Lemon Icebox Pie

Lemon Icebox Pie made with sweetened condensed milk, whipped topping, fresh lemon juice and zest, gets an extra tangy boost from the addition of a lemonade powdered drink mix.

Lemon Icebox Pie

The old fashioned version of lemon icebox pie used raw egg yolks in the filling. I've included that version in the cook's notes at the bottom of the recipe for those of us who are still adventurous enough to make it. It is believed that the combination of the acids with the eggs in the pie filling "cook" the eggs sufficiently, but scientifically I have no idea if there is any truth to that. I can tell you that many of us southerners love the egg version and have lived on to tell about it, but if you're concerned about the consumption of raw eggs, you can still have that creamy taste with a few shortcuts in the form of this refrigerator pie, which is also mighty tasty.

It's patterned after it's sister lime pie version, which uses a packet of unsweetened powdered drink mix, like Kool Aid, to add extra tang and color to the pie. I decided to go ahead and use it here as well, though truthfully if you prefer your pie more on the sweeter side of tangy, you could certainly get away with leaving it out altogether. Adding it will provide plenty of tang and a tiny bit of color, though you could add a drop or two of yellow food coloring for a more lemony color. If you like the extra tang, add the Kool Aid, otherwise simply leave it out.

This is a freezer pie, or refrigerator pie, at best. It holds up much better frozen and softens at room temperature fairly quick, but any leftovers should be refrigerated or returned to the freezer. It's a wonderful, quick and easy pie for the season. Here's how to make it.

Recipe: Lemon Icebox Pie

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Inactive time: 24 hours | Yield: About 8 servings

  • 1 homemade or commercial graham cracker pie crust
  • Zest of 2 lemons (about 1/8 cup)
  • Juice of 3 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 envelope of unsweetened Lemonade powdered drink mix (like Kool-Aid), optional
  • 1 (8 ounce) tub of whipped topping (like Cool Whip), thawed and divided
  • About 16 vanilla wafer cookies, optional

Prepare pie crust according to the instructions below. Zest and juice the lemons, setting aside a pinch of the lemon zest for garnish. In a medium bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and contents of the Kool-Aid packet, if using; whisk until smooth.

Remove about 1/2 cup of the whipped topping from the tub and set that aside in the refrigerator for garnish. Gently fold the remaining whipped topping into the lemon mixture until well blended. Pour this into the crust and place vanilla wafers all around the rim of the pie plate. Place pie into the freezer for several hours, or preferably overnight, before serving.

Before serving, let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes to thaw. Spread the reserved whipped topping over the top of the pie, leaving just a small edge around the outside. Garnish with the zest. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, or re-freeze.

Cook's Notes: The lemonade packet provides a little color and extra tang but you can eliminate it for a less tart lemon flavor. For a more vibrant color, add a drop or two of yellow food coloring to the filling. For frozen lemonade pie, substitute a 6 ounce frozen lemonade, thawed for the Kool Aid packet. You can also make a wide variety of flavored icebox pies with this recipe by substituting different flavors of Kool-Aid. You'll only need the basic four ingredients: Pie crust, sweetened condensed milk, whipped topping and a package of any flavor of Kool-Aid. Add fresh fruit garnishes as desired. Cherry is one popular version.

To make a graham cracker crust, combine 1-1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, about 8 planks or roughly one package, with 1/2 cup (1 stick) of melted butter, and press into a pie plate. Can use as is, or bake in a 350 degree F preheated oven for about 5 minutes to toast, if desired. Can also substitute a cookie crust, or prebaked regular pastry crust.

Tip: To make it easier to remove from the pan, grab a large skillet or pan and place a small amount of very hot water in it. Gently set the pie plate into the hot water, taking care that water does not go over the rim! Let it sit for about 30 seconds, and this will help to release the crust for easier serving.

Old Fashioned Lemon Icebox Pie: Prepare as above, except eliminate the Kool Aid packet and beat in the yolks of three eggs. Though not a traditional topping for icebox pie, you can reserve the egg whites for meringue, or save them for another use if desired. Raw Egg Caution: Although it is commonly thought the acid in the lemon deems the egg yolk safe to consume, a caution is extended to children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, who may need to avoid dishes using raw eggs.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on April 13, 2012
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